Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Good news, bad news, for OA in Biblical studies

Alan Lenzi, The Open Access Monograph Series That Almost Was, Bible and Ancient Near East, April 25, 2008.  Excerpt:

It's official. The open access electronic monograph series in Bible and Ancient Near East that I have been working on for the last several months is now defunct. I thought when I wrote about this project here that the post would be very different --a debut announcement. But recent events have convinced me that there is something even bigger and better coming our way. . . . and I'm invited to help make it happen.

What am I talking about?

I have been working on starting an electronic open access monograph series, a series of books published on the web in PDF format (think Journal of Hebrew Scriptures but with books instead of articles). I had four respected and well-known scholars committed to serve on its editorial board; I was the managing editor. We had submission guidelines written. We developed a web site, had a PURL redirect in place, and were getting ready to announce the series to the scholarly public in order to start seeking manuscripts....

Good idea, huh? Free books. Peer-reviewed, searchable text, universal access. So why is the series defunct?

I got an email last Sunday night that let me know about something similar but much bigger, and they want me to work on the project. I can't go into details, but all biblical scholars reading this should start talking up "open access" to your friends, colleagues, librarians, and tenure review committees. The publishing wave of the future for scholars will be open access: electronic books freely available on the web. Scholars rarely make money on their monographs. And few individuals or libraries can afford to buy from print publishers all of the monographs they'd like to access....Open Access is the solution. Now we just have to get scholars and tenure review committees to accept it. (I've already heard from the tenure committee at my university: open access or not, all that really matters is PEER REVIEW status.)

I hate to string people along, but I hope to be able to tell you more about the bigger and even more exciting project soon.