Open Access News

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Subsidizing OA projects in Biblical studies

Mark Goodacre, Open Source Online Biblical Studies, NT Gateway Weblog, August 5, 2005. (Thanks to Ross Scaife.) Excerpt:
So many people are already committed to the production of quality on-line [open-access] resources in our area that one might argue that the kind of thing being talked about here is already well underway, and is evolving dynamically. If the essential proposal is: how can we get a big project financed (especially AKMA)?, then there is still a large part of me that just sighs. I have felt for some time that the key to the development of exciting on-line projects in our area is the voluntary efforts of people like us. The funding comes, if you like, from two places: (1) the educational institutions that employ us and which are committed to the dissemination of our scholarship not only within their walls but also outside of them, so that our salaries here are the funding, and the time we allocate is our decision about commitment to such an important goal; (2) the self-funding provided by the gifted and enthusiastic amateurs who make such a major contribution in this area by devoting their own time.

Goodacre is responding an August 4 posting by A.K.M. Adams on the Disseminary and the prospect for OA books and journals in theology. Excerpt:

[W]ith the backing of a serious foundation (or private funder), we could get this kind of thing done in the area of theology, an area thatís particularly fitting for educational philanthropy. What we need is the time to devote to open-source scholarly productivity (yesterday I diverted hours from my workflow to track down copyright-safe images for Theology Cards) and the financial support that will motivate scholars to offer their research and written instruction outside the current print-publishing-prestige-profit complex. It can be done in our disciplines, it will be done in some areas of education. Instead of lagging woefully behind the culture, religious educators could vault ahead of other areas of educational culture (with a little redirection of funding thatíll be expended anyway). Trinity Institute, Episcopal Church Foundation, Lilly, Pew, put some oomph behind online theology and itíll take off. I said so seven years ago, and I still say so. It would be exhilarating if, seven years from now, we could look back and not see just another missed opportunity.