“Perhaps there is a lesson here …”

January 4th, 2005 by Ross Scaife

Richard K. Johnson, The Future of Scholarly Communication in the Humanities: Adaptation or Transformation? A presentation at the meeting of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, December 30, 2004. Excerpt:

The most compelling motivation for Congress and NIH to support open public access to NIH-funded research is to demonstrate to taxpayers the return on their investment in doubling the size of NIH is recent years. Perhaps there is a lesson here for the humanities. Expanded public exposure for scholarship in the humanities offers the potential for enhanced political and financial support. By reaching a broader audience beyond specialists in a single field, open global sharing of knowledge also will support interdisciplinary scholarly perspectives….What do these examples [of OA archiving and OA journals in the STM fields] have to do with the humanities? They simply suggest that powerful — if not unstoppable — forces are chipping away at the traditional journal. Will the outcome be adaptation or transformation? I think there will be both. There will be e-journals (and e-books) that look much like what is supplied in print today. But the foundation beneath these, the ways in which they are accessed and used, what they contain, and the profile of users is likely to be transformed. The toughest issues we face today revolve around business models – who pays the tab in a disaggregated environment? Perhaps toughest of all, how is the certification process supported? Publishers and libraries aren’t the only players asking themselves these questions. The costs associated with publishing are the least part of the overall research process. Since academic institutions, funders, and the public are key beneficiaries of research, I think we can expect them to play new, active roles in reshaping scholarly communication in the sciences, the social sciences, and, yes, the humanities.

(from Open Access News)

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