Re: [ANE-2] Need to promote open access
- Ancient Near East 2
----- Original Message -----
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.
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