Great books have always been an interactive conversation between the author and reader. But Columbia anthropology professor Neni Panourgia’s new project takes the concept of an “interactive conversation” a step further. The recent online release of “Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State” by far exceeds the publication of the book by the same name (published this September) in being revolutionary. Instead of being your average Kindle e-book or online PDF, the new Web site is a freely accessed interactive, multimedia text that exemplifies an exciting but problematic pathway for published scholarship. ...
A collaboration with [the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship], an organization dedicated to enhancing scholarly communication with new media, allowed Panourgia infinite room to include additional archival material, unpublished memoirs, and conversational side notes. For example, readers seeking more information about events referenced online can follow hypertext links explaining various events or leading them to videos. Other media features include interviews, songs, interactive maps (a Google map that allows users to upload pictures), and chronologies, all of which heighten the interaction between text and reader. ...
In the traditional publishing model, academics submit articles for free to a subscription-based journal, which, after editing and peer-reviewing the articles, publishes them online or in print. This limits the size of the audience and speed of dissemination due to the associated fee. Although the creative features of “Dangerous Citizens” are powerful, the fact that it’s freely accessible is perhaps even more remarkable. Open-access scholarship, due to its low distribution costs, increases readership and publicity, both of which are needed in the highly specialized field of academia. Publicity through free, online versions has empirically translated into higher sales of the printed work, which is why more and more publishers like National Academies Press are releasing their publications online for free. This is the business model that Panourgia is following, one of the many models that are being debated in the world of publishing, especially among academic journals who store the bulk of academic knowledge.
But who’ll pay? According to Kathryn Pope, head of the Scholarly Communication Program at CDRS, while distribution costs of digital scholarship remain low, production costs are still rather high. The most successful model is the author-pay model, in which the author pays a processing fee with his submission. In another model, a university subsidizes the production costs of an article that one of its own faculty members publishes, which Columbia University did for “Dangerous Citizens.” ...
Gavin Baker at 12/10/2009 02:54:00 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.