Locked Out: Research Access as a Challenge for the Discipline | American Historical Association | Perspectives on History | AHA

ab1630's bookmarks 2018-08-12


"Julie Des Jardins became an independent scholar after leaving a tenured faculty position at Baruch College, CUNY, in 2014. While she worried about reinventing herself professionally outside of academia, another challenge quickly surfaced: how to access research materials without a university affiliation. She was in the midst of two new book projects and was committed to continuing the work. Archival sources were a cinch, but walls arose around scholarly journals, dissertations, digitized newspapers, and books that were housed only in university libraries....

Many historians are accustomed to using digitized primary and secondary sources provided by companies such as EBSCO, ProQuest, LexisNexis, and ABC-CLIO, or nonprofit providers including JSTOR and Project Muse. Most of these database companies rely exclusively on institution-to-institution contracts with universities, which make them available only to faculty, students, and staff, who may use the resources remotely or in person. While a small number of database companies offer individual subscriptions and some open access sources exist, many resources are not accessible to unaffiliated scholars—even if they are willing to pay....

Librarians share their own frustrations about these trends. They are caught between their commitment to open, accessible resources, their own limited budgets, and the trends toward commercialized information. Virginia Steele, university librarian at UCLA, acknowledged the “multiple players” involved, each with differing needs. “We need to find a model that works all the way around,” which might involve establishing pilot programs and working with scholarly societies like the AHA, the American Sociological Association, and others...."




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Date tagged:

08/12/2018, 12:34

Date published:

08/12/2018, 08:37