[Internet Archaeology]

Internet Archaeology Archive: The Field Archaeologist

Published in the The Field Archaeologist, Winter 1995, No. 24, pages 12-13


Internet archaeology: an international electronic journal for archaeology

Mike Heyworth(1), Seamus Ross(2), and Julian Richards(3)

(1) Council for British Archaeology, Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York, Y01 2UA, UK.
Email: m.heyworth@bbcnc.org.uk

(2) The British Academy, 20-21 Cornwall Terrace, London, NW1 4QP, UK.
Email: seamusr@britac.ac.uk

(3) Department of Archaeology, University of York, The King's Manor, York, Y01 2EP, UK.
Email: jdr1@york.ac.uk

An interactive, multi-media electronic journal for archaeology is to be set up following the award of a 185,000 grant from the UK Higher Education Funding Councils as part of their Electronic Libraries Programme.

The international academic journal, entitled Internet Archaeology, will be available over the Internet from summer 1996. Unlike print journals, it will be able to publish types of archaeological evidence unpublishable in printed form (such as video clips of excavation work, and dynamic visualisations of what sites might once have looked like), unlimited colour photography, complete excavation databases, and access to the software originally used by authors of articles to analyse their material.

It will be published by the Council for British Archaeology, acting on behalf of a consortium of organisations including the British Academy and the Universities of York, Durham, Glasgow, Oxford and Southampton. The journal will be accessible through its own dedicated server connected to the University of York campus network where the project is based, with Dr Alan Vince, recently appointed Lecturer in Archaeology at the University, as the Managing Editor.

The project is managed by a Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of Professor Barry Cunliffe of the University of Oxford. A charitable trust is being established to own the journal with the members of the Steering Committee as the trustees. An Editorial Board, also chaired by Professor Cunliffe, and a Technical Panel, chaired by Dr Julian Richards of the University of York, advise the Steering Committee.

The electronic journal will allow archaeologists to distribute full excavation data, in addition to their interpretations, allowing other researchers to reanalyse the material to confirm conclusions or to draw new conclusions. It will also be possible to distribute photographs, drawings, and dynamic reconstruction images, together with the computer programs that were used to analyze the data; and this is particularly important where the analytic programs hide hypotheses that might have influenced the analysis of the data.

The journal will present its material in four sections: (1) general articles on archaeological issues whether theoretical, methodological or analytical studies; (2) excavation reports and finds studies; (3) the application of new techniques, such as software tools or the application of visual methods to archaeological analysis; and (4) reviews of technological applications such as databases and other services available on the network.

Work is now underway to prepare the first edition of the journal which is planned for publication in August 1996. Offers of contributions for publication in the journal are welcome from archaeologists worldwide. All contributions will be refereed in a two-stage process, all undertaken electronically via the network, based on concept refereeing and product refereeing. Initial concept refereeing will be undertaken by the editorial board, together with external referees where appropriate, who will firstly assess the academic quality of the proposal, followed by the potential of a contribution for its suitability to be published in the journal and the validation of the underlying resources that will be required. Contributions will be selected on their merits for electronic dissemination and their potential to make full use of the new media, as well as on traditional scholarly factors. The editorial board will also need to ensure that each issue of the journal is balanced, particularly in view of the varying quantity of production work to be undertaken by the Managing Editor that will be required for the different articles. Once a contribution has been provisionally accepted for publication then contact will be established between the Managing Editor and the contributor to work together to produce the final electronic article. It is assumed that in the early stages of the journal there will need to be significant input from the Managing Editor to prepare material for publication; however, as archaeologists become more familiar with electronic publication and the advantages it offers we assume that less work will be required to rework submitted material. The product refereeing will be managed by the Managing Editor, and must be undertaken over the network to allow referees to evaluate the contribution as it will be viewed by users, to ensure quality in content and delivery effectiveness.

The main source of income for the journal will come from `subscriptions' and other access charges. The focus will be on revenue stream diversity to ensure the maximum flexibility in charging for users and provide a sustainable long-term revenue stream for the journal.

The majority of users of the journal will pay a straightforward subscription charge to access the journal issues for a particular calendar year. There will be individual and institutional charges, with the institutional subscription based on access availability for all members of the institution. It is hoped to keep subscription charges low to maximise the subscriber base and to reduce library subscription costs.

Subscribers to the electronic journal would only have access to the issues for the year in which they subscribe, though in due course they could also purchase the rights to access issues from previous years. We plan to implement a scheme to allow free content searching of issues of the published journal. This will allow users to check whether there is any material of direct relevance to their research interests in the journal before they subscribe. We will then charge for retrieval of individual articles for a variable fee depending upon the type of article, whether access to a particular set of material requires processing on our host server, the quantity of data, and the currency of the material.

Further details of subscription rates and the contents of the first issues of the journal will be made available over the coming months on the journal's server. A sample contribution, showing the potential of the electronic journal delivery, will also be made freely available shortly when the journal domain name has been agreed and the server connected to the network.

Further information on the journal project is currently available on the Internet at:

http://intarch.york.ac.uk/

Contact:

Dr Michael Heyworth

Council for British Archaeology

Bowes Morrell House

111 Walmgate

York YO1 2UA

tel 01904 671417

fax 01904 671384

email m.heyworth@dial.pipex.com


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