Starting work in open-access publishing at PLoS Medicine seemed a sensible step for me, having focused my Masters research on an evaluation of the quality and research dividends of an online archaeological database ... Yet, many of my colleagues in archaeology insisted that open access had no place in our discipline, arguing that authors would be unable to fund publication fees and traditional subscription-based journals were too central to assessment of academic merit. A quick search of PLoS journal archives reveals, however, that some archaeological scientists have already embraced the open-access model for dissemination of their research.
Perhaps most significant in terms of its contribution to the discipline is a paper by Houyuan Lu and colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, published by PLoS ONE in February 2009. This study represents a valuable step forward in archaeobotanical analysis of common and foxtail millet – important early cultivars in northern China which have been hitherto difficult to identify at archaeological sites. ...
In addition to archaeobotany, research in archaeogenetics is already well represented amongst PLoS papers. [Note: omitting examples] ...
Open-access archaeological papers published by PLoS are not limited to archaeobotany and archaeogenetics. For example, William Banks, Francesco d’Errico and colleagues present archaeological and chronological data, coupled with high-resolution palaeoclimatic simulations, to argue that Neanderthal extinction did not result from climate change but from competition with anatomically modern humans. ...
Far from representing a dead end, this range of research hints that the open-access model has an important role to play in archaeology. Already, one major field unit (Oxford Archaeology) has committed to “making archaeological knowledge free to access” as part of its Open Archaeology programme and the Alexandria Archive Institute has developed an international facility for open access archiving of primary data from archaeology and related disciplines. Hopefully, the coming months and years will see increasing publication of archaeology in open-access journals such as PLoS ONE, to enable widespread dissemination of research and facilitate international and interdisciplinary access, dialogue and debate.
Gavin Baker at 3/18/2009 09:24:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.