Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Green over gold OA in archaeology

Jingfeng Xia, Electronic Publishing in Archaeology, Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 37, 4 (2006).  Self-archived March 30, 2007.  Excerpt:

[A] pay-to-read model has been used by some electronic journals. After a period of five years of free access to its content, Internet Archaeology began to charge for individual subscriptions in December 2001. In answering critics, the journal's editor notes the high costs of producing the publication....

The availability of electronic journals in other academic fields shows that it is possible for e-publication to be free of charge to readers. Even in archaeology, some other electronic journals, such as the Journal of Social Archaeology, do not yet charge for access. Nevertheless, it is true that creating and maintaining online archaeological databases does add extra costs....Unfortunately, according to Eiteljorg's observation, 'I am aware of no archival plan in the U.S. that has found a funding system that could support an on-going archival storage program for digital archaeological data.'  What, then, are the solutions?

The author would argue that two major directions need to be explored in the development of electronic publishing in archaeology. First, it is worth making further efforts to seek reliable funding possibilities. This sounds like a question answering a question. But people are becoming more and more aware of the potential and importance of digital technology, so more funding agencies have offered support for digital initiatives.  In the United States, for example, the National Science Foundation has recently sponsored numerous repository projects, both institutional and disciplinary.

Second, it is time to seek alternatives for electronic publishing. Online databases have proven to be excellent in disseminating archaeological data; but they are not the only solution....

E-Print Repository Is among the Alternatives

The e-print concept has developed into popular disciplinary and institutional repositories since the early 1990s. Although a variety of e-print applications is currently in use, these applications share many similar characteristics. First, they are all free for download, with the source code open for own customization. Second, they are easy to configure and maintain. Third, they can accommodate various file formats. And finally, they support metadata harvesting to broaden searchability.

Given these characteristics, the e-print repository is clearly a good alternative to current electronic publications in archaeology....