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SV: [ANE-2] Need to promote open access

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  • Niels Peter Lemche
    Well, Isn t it time to limit this discussion to our field? How relevant is it to ANE studies? What do we have, and can we get? As editor of an international
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 17, 2006
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      Well,

      Isn't it time to limit this discussion to our field? How relevant is it to ANE studies? What do we have, and can we get?

      As editor of an international journal, SJOT (the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament), I am linked to a major publishing house -- Taylor & Francis. This is business but it is also ensuring that things published here are easily available worldwide (or should be).

      SJOT is published in two versions, a traditional paper one, and an electronic one. It demands subscription. A lot of other journals follow the same tendency.

      As I see it, the possibility would be to have paper versions and electronic versions of books and journals. My generation will normally ask for the paper version, but will it necessarily always be like that?

      Young people download music from the internet, also from legal sources. More and more they don't care for CD- or DVD-versions.

      So my question will no be to get this back to ANE: What do we have (ABZU is probably the best source of information and resources available)? Is it good enough, and how can we do it better. Jim Spinti from Eisenbrauns must have something to say here.

      At the end it boils down to money. ANE scholars are generally not related to Croesus, and printed books and journals in our field are expensive (apart from for some unknown reason Eisenbrauns and a couple of other N. American publishers). Some journals have special prices for institutions -- but neither are they generally well funded, so it will soon become a dead end. Central libraries (like our Royal one) more and more go for electronic publishing.

      A fine beginning would be to have elderly literature available electronically. ETANA at ABZU has some, but simply to be able to access from one's computer say everything before 1950 would be great. The fee could be reduced to almost nothing -- covering the expenditures.

      Same with journals. Personally I have everything related to SJOT in an electronic form. Not all is available through Taylor & Francis, but it could be made available.

      But back to the beginning: What do we need and how do we get it?

      Niels Peter Lemche



      -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
      Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af brooks@...
      Sendt: 17. juli 2006 17:16
      Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Need to promote open access


      To: ANE-2
      On: Open Access
      From: Bruce

      Open access is one of those ideas that sounds great, like motherhood, but like
      motherhood, there are some problems in practice. I mention a couple that occur
      to me, in hope of comment and clarification from those better acquainted.

      1. Discipline. So far, activity on the "open access" frontier is apparently
      confined to the sciences. The developing nations seem to be willing to wait
      indefinitely for the latest on Shakespeare, or for that matter, on Gilgamesh.
      Are there current exceptions?

      2. Money. Open access means that somebody else pays. Has a funding pattern
      emerged so far? Who is behind the money, and what is their agenda, including
      their list of people not to offend?

      3. Printout. Open access journals should in fact be printable out. I can do
      that with a test article from the Public Library of Sciences, but I don't find
      that the Indian Academy of Sciences journal Proceedings (Mathematical
      Sciences) prints out satisfactorily. Probably a case of lousy web design
      (frames), but lousy web design is incompatible with the basic concept, and
      somebody should catch it before it goes too far.

      4. Prestige. At present, online publication is limbo publication, whether for
      books or articles, and it thus severely disables those without academic
      tenure. So far, I see no real trend in a different direction. The fluidity of
      any online text (the good side of which is that the Indian Academy of Sciences
      can still catch up with its proofreading), and the tenuousness of electronic
      media as such, are probably the chief reasons for this. I don't see this
      prestige cost to authors as going away anytime soon. Does anyone?

      5. Double Publishing. The forwarded message mentioned that a scientist (and
      let's also think of the humanistic sciences) "can publish in any journal but
      places the full text in an interoperable public access archive." Doing so
      would void the monopoly of the standard too expensive journals, and I imagine
      any author doing so (with, say, an article published in an Elsevier journal)
      would provoke a hostile reaction from the publisher. Does anyone have
      experience with this angle?

      6. Typography. The Internet is the medium of most open access plans, and the
      Internet is not hospitable to fancy symbols. Math is already a problem, and
      then we have linguistic diacritics. PDF is supposed to be a solution in the
      humanities, and I suppose the long download time for PDF is reasonable given
      the free access (free to those with $1,500 computer plus printer plus online
      access platforms). Has anybody found a better medium? As one about to launch a
      journal in "Chinese and Comparative Philology," I would be more than casually
      interested to know.

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst








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    • Chris Bennett
      Ancient Near East 2 ... From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com Posted by: Niels Peter Lemche npl@teol.ku.dk nplemche Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:57 am (PST) SJOT is published
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 17, 2006
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        Ancient Near East 2
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
        Posted by: "Niels Peter Lemche" npl@... nplemche
        Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:57 am (PST)

        SJOT is published in two versions, a traditional paper one, and an electronic one. It demands subscription. A lot of other journals follow the same tendency.

        As I see it, the possibility would be to have paper versions and electronic versions of books and journals. <snip>
        At the end it boils down to money. ANE scholars are generally not related to Croesus, and printed books and journals in our field are expensive (apart from for some unknown reason Eisenbrauns and a couple of other N. American publishers). Some journals have special prices for institutions -- but neither are they generally well funded, so it will soon become a dead end. Central libraries (like our Royal one) more and more go for electronic publishing.

        A fine beginning would be to have elderly literature available electronically. ETANA at ABZU has some, but simply to be able to access from one's computer say everything before 1950 would be great. The fee could be reduced to almost nothing -- covering the expenditures.

        --------

        >> I completely agree with this, ANE is a field where papers that are years or even over a century old still have real utility. In addition to ETANA, BIFAO has put its archives up to 1980 online for free, and ZPE is also available from free for 1980-2000. The Oriental Institute Press has recently put up some just-published monographs online for free, which is truly a noble gesture.

        I also think that its not unreasonable to be asked to pay a small amount for access to more recent publications. The problem right now is that the business model for electronic publication is insane. Most academic journals seem to be applying their print business model (which is based on sales to libraries) to their electronic editions. The result is that the charges for access to electronic copies of recent publications are utterly extortionate, working out at $1 a page or more. When the competition for the pocket of the individual user is the cost of making a photocopy -- typically 5-10 cents a page -- there is no reason on earth to buy the online copy, if you can access a library, and usually no ability to buy it if you can't. Such costs are especially outrageous when one considers that there is essentially no material cost involved to the publisher and that none of this money goes back to the author or his/her institution.

        Until publishers can persuade themselves to publish material online at reasonable prices, I don;t see electronic publication living up to its potential.

        Chris Bennett

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