Judith Winters *

Cite this as: Winters, J. 2011 Editorial, Internet Archaeology 30.

It's been a busy and productive few months up here in the Internet Archaeology attic.

Issue 30 marks the fourth and final Mellon-funded LEAP project exemplar by Fred Limp and colleagues from University of Arkansas. This article raises and goes some way to addressing a key challenge of why we should go to the effort of scanning archaeological objects. In addition to addressing this issue (which has relevance outside of the core area of digital humanities), it also provides a useful workflow and structure for this type of work. The article discusses and links to holdings from two digital archives, one in the UK and one in the USA and employs the reader comments facility developed as part of the LEAP programme.

Quite rightly, Morgana McCabe's article (an experiment in archaeological dissemination and reader participation) also uses the comments facility and I encourage readers to explore this thought-provoking article and engage with the ideas presented. This is a personal favourite and a fascinating and new look at the material culture of discipline in the early post-Reformation Scottish church. An experiment of an aural kind is the subject matter of Dave Thomas's article on Mousa broch. This paper represents a valiant effort to analyse the acoustic properties of Mousa broch and raises a series of intriguing issues about the structure. Connecting Archaeological Data and Grey Literature via Semantic Cross Search provides an overview of the STAR project, and its value lies in the detailed explanation of the online demonstator application, and a very interesting discussion section, providing the basis for debate within the archaeological research and cultural data management communities. On a totally different topic (and why I love this job!), Steve Ashby's Atlas of Medieval Combs from Northern Europe provides a general synthesis of early medieval bone/antler hair-combs and as such, should become a useful complement to ongoing comb research. The latter two articles are freely available and mark out another step on the road to full Open Access for the journal.

The journal has been a hybrid Open Access journal for over a year (see Editorial 28), and it is our wish to move fully towards a sustainable Open Access (OA) model. I'd really like to encourage all authors to include Open Acccess fees in future research funding applications wherever possible, and to that end, Internet Archaeology is going totally 'Open Access' for duration of Open Access Week, 24-30 October 2011. I hope that this both demonstrates our serious efforts in this direction as well as give potential authors (in whose hands the journal's future really lies) the opportunity to view the range of material IA can publish.

Open Access: What we've already done

JISC Collections has already purchased the full suite of Internet Archaeology content on behalf of UK higher and further education institutions, which means that their members have permanent access to 15 years of rich multimedia scholarly content. All reviews and editorials in Internet Archaeology have always been Open Access, but more recently, as noted above, we have had some success in attracting articles with OA funding either via authors' grant funding (see Tudhope, this issue), their departmental research committees (see Ashby this issue), government agencies (see Thomas, this issue) or University library Open Access funds (see future issues). But at current levels, this is still not enough to replace our existing subscription income (which continues to provide the main means of covering the journal's operating costs i.e. one full-time member of staff and production overheads) which would allow us to make the full transition to Open Access. However the proportion of uptake of the OA option will be continually monitored and subscriptions to the journal will be reviewed annually in light of this uptake while we make the transition.

What can you do?

Some have asked what this means for those who have no access to funding. Well, although policy will clearly evolve as uptake increases, we would like to think that waivers for certain authors will play a part. But while the journal is in transition, authors who are unable to access OA funds, can continue to publish in the journal with their article subject to a subscription charge as is the case now. The differing access conditions for different articles may be an issue in the short to medium term, but if the benefits of OA are clear, then this should put pressure on funding bodies to provide more grants in the future (Prosser 2003). Once the tipping point is reached, all content would then be supported by OA charges. There's no timetable for this and it would be dependent on a number of things not least ensuring journal quality and the prevailing culture within archaeology. But for all authors, whether they are involved in funding applications or not, expressing opinions about the publication plans for projects and encouraging consideration of OA at the outset will still make a real contribution to the culture change that's needed.

So, where you are applying for research funding, try to include OA costs in your application and approach me at the earliest possible stage with your publication idea so that costs can be calculated. And if you have you already finished your research/project and seeking a publication outlet? Increasingly university departments and research libraries have publication and/or OA funds. Investigate the options and again let me know of your plans at the earliest opportunity. I am looking at compiling a selection of links and information to assist authors and will post it in the author guidelines section in due course.


David Prosser 2003 'From here to there: a proposed mechanism for transforming journals from closed to open access', Learned Publishing 16 (3), 163-166. Available: doi:10.1087/095315103322110923

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