Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, March 25, 2007

OA book reviews in anthropology

The journal Museum Anthropology has been providing OA to some of its book reviews through the journal's associated blog.  On the same blog, editor Jason Baird Jackson reflects on the OA experiment:

The results so far are instructive. If one does a Google web search for the three titles that they have finds that the reviews that appeared here are already showing up at the top of Google's ranking....

I recognize that a Google ranking is not a definitive measure and that many will read these other reviews in print format or via search tools other than Google, yet I still find these results remarkable. A related measure comes in the form of visitor and search statistics available for this blog. A sizable number of people are now visiting this site and a significant number of these visitors are clearly reading the reviews. This is enlightening evidence that speaks to the position of those who advocate for open access models in scholarly publishing....

The experiment has been such a success that the journal has launched an OA supplement, Museum Anthropology Review, also in blog format, just for reviews.

On a case by case basis, I am asking authors of reviews-in-hand if they would be willing to publish their review online [and OA]. Publishing reviews in this way takes advantage of the following benefits of the online medium (among others): immediate rather than delayed publication, free access to anyone in the world with internet access, the ability to incorporate internet hyperlinks, the ability to publish color images along with the review, the ability (if desired by the author) to turn on the blog's comment function for the review (thus allowing others to comment on the review or its subject matter), and the ability for an author to simply send an email link for the review to whomever they wish to share the review with. Because reviews published thus are easily found by anyone doing internet searches, they may become a subject of discussion elsewhere on the web. They can also benefit from the power of the social networking dynamic of the web today, such as with folksonomy tagging. This strategy also provides more space for publication of peer-reviewed articles in the journal itself.

For most new reviews, we are now soliciting them, from the start, with the intention of publishing them online. All the reviews published online will be noted in the table of contents of the print journal....