Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Status of OA in folklore studies

Jason Baird Jackson, Open Access Folkloristics (Part 1), Open Access Anthropology, February 16, 2008.

... There are some practical reasons for the rapid spread of OA in folklore studies despite the almost complete lack of a communal discussion of the subject (contra anthropology). One factor in my analysis is the persistence of “house journals” in folklore programs in contrast to their progressive disappearance in anthropology programs. American anthropology can point to a few such journals that remain central, for instance Ethnology (still published by the folks at Pittsburgh), the Journal of Anthropological Research (published by the department at New Mexico), and Anthropological Linguistics (published by my colleagues here at IU). Still, many of those that once existed as such have either gone on to become part of some publisher’s portfolio or have ceased publication. For purposes of a switch to OA, a house journal stands the best chances among the varieties of established (as opposed to start up) journals. House journals of various kinds are still in the hands of a small group of people, they have not become key money makers for either a press or a society. This positions them more easily for a move to OA. Their established track records and deep back files make them especially appealing to those who worry about the career/status risks of publishing in an online start-up.

An OA folklore title that I can highlight in this context is the well regarded journal Oral Tradition. OT has been published for over 20 years by the Center for Studies of Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri. It was once a standard print journal, but its editorial team has made a active and complete move to OA, making over 10,000 pages available for free online (the complete journal run). It has also worked hard to develop media supplements to enhance standard articles, while maintaining continuity in peer-review, editorial style and significance within the larger field. ...