Not that kind of “living in the past”… 2012-05-01


“This is bad. The Archaeological Institute of America has published a statement in its popular magazine opposing open access. And by opposing, I mean totally hating on the concept. ‘We at the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), along with our colleagues at the American Anthropological Association and other learned societies, have taken a stand against open access. Here at the AIA, we particularly object to having such a scheme imposed on us from the outside when, in fact, during the AIA’s more than 130-year history, we have energetically supported the broad dissemination of knowledge, and do so through our extensive program of events and lectures for the general public and through our publications...’ Really? No. Really? But wait, there’s more: ‘While it may be true that the government finances research, it does not fund the arduous peer-review process that lies at the heart of journal and scholarly publication, nor the considerable effort beyond that step that goes into preparing articles for publication. Those efforts are not without cost. When an archaeologist publishes his or her work, the final product has typically been significantly improved by the contributions of other professionals such as peer reviewers, editors, copywriters, photo editors, and designers. This is the context in which the work should appear...’ And then there is this: ‘We fear that this legislation would prove damaging to the traditional venues in which scientific information is presented by offering, for no cost, something that has considerable costs associated with producing it. It would undermine, and ultimately dismantle, by offering for no charge, what subscribers actually support financially—a rigorous publication process that does serve the public, because it results in superior work.’ I was going to write a really scathing response about how evil this is. But really, I don’t think i can do it. President Bartman and the archaeologists are running scared, just as the AAA is. The issue comes down to something much more fundamental than open access, and I direct this at faculty, students and other members of scholarly societies: Do you want your scholarly society to survive? I mean this honestly. I, for instance, do not. I no longer give a flute about the AAA. I’ve tried my hardest to make the error of their ways visible to them, but failed. I’ll miss the meetings and the swag, but they now do nothing else but suck money out of my university library and give it to Wiley Blackwell. Game over. Here are some issues to consider if you are an archaeologist (or belong to any scholarly society): 1) No one is imposing anything on anyone yet. AIA is writing this in opposition to the recently re-introduced FRPPA legislation that would extend public access to federally funded research at all agencies ... They owe it to their membership to explain this, rather than spreading fear and uncertainty by being vague and threatening. But instead, it falls to me to clarify it. If there are in fact any archaeologists who do their work with taxpayer money, and if that legislation passes, then yes, those faculty members would be required to make a *version* of their research publicly accessible. It does not force publishers to do anything at all, and it certainly does not affect the quality they claim to create. 2) Holding public lectures and events, and publishing journals, while laudable, is not the same thing ‘open access’. It is disingenuous and misleading to confuse the issue this way... 3) It is absolutely, 100%, totally and completely correct that high-quality publishing is expensive. BUT THIS IS NOT THE POINT OF OPEN ACCESS 4) Follow the money. Where does all that money come from that makes AIA’s publications so fantastic? From university libraries. It is libraries who buy subscriptions to academic journals, not individuals, not businesses, not people at Barnes and Noble, or people passing a news-stand in Kinchasa... Add it up: the content is produced and reviewed (and read) by university researchers. The subscription fees are paid by university libraries. Scholarly societies publication programs are 99% dependent on universities for their revenue. What they make in dues and other fundraising, especially in the case of something like AIA and AAA, is dwarfed by this publication program. Now ask your local librarians how much more money they have to support scholarly societies whose publications are getting more expensive, more difficult to access, and more tedious to negotiate… you’ll get an earful.5) What’s the solution? Maybe the solution is for faculty to work with their universities to find ways to support a scholarly society without the condition being the restriction of research availability. There is enough money in the system to be creative about this...”



08/16/2012, 06:08

From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.comment oa.anthropology oa.mandates oa.usa oa.frpaa oa.legislation oa.universities oa.societies oa.libraries oa.costs oa.quality oa.librarians oa.prices oa.budgets oa.aia oa.archaeology oa.hei oa.policies oa.ssh



Date tagged:

05/01/2012, 05:53

Date published:

04/18/2012, 17:04