Linked Ancient World Data Institute

Thinking About Open Access Archaeological Publishing

I spent much of the Day of Archaeology in closed windowless rooms discussing more or less weighty matters with other librarians.  Mercifully we manage to make some progress on some pressing issues.

In between such things I have been thinking about the effect that open access publishing has on disciplines like archaeology and ancient near Eastern Studies and Classics and Mediterranean Archaeology. The master List of Open Access Journals in Ancient Studies I’ve been compiling since 2009  on The Ancient World Online now includes includes 1188 titles, and has increased by 238 titles in the past year.  That’s a big corpus.  All three of the institutions I’ve been affiliated with over the past three decades have made major commitments to open access publishing:  the Oriental Institute, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

Are scholars reading and citing open access journals?  Are scholars seeking out open access publication venues?  Are scholars taking advantage of  the emerging idea of data journals?  Is it significant that more than 4500 souls have subscribed to the Ancient World Online daily email update?  Is it significant that most open access publications never makes it into library discovery tools?  What will be the effect of this summer’s  enormously successful Linked Ancient World Data Institute be by the time the second one rolls around in a year?  Are people using the Ancient World Linked Data JavaScript Library?

It’s now two hot days later and these and other questions are still knocking around my mind.


Archaeological Publication and Linked Data

Earlier this month I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the first Linked Ancient World Data Institute (LAWDI or #lawdi on Twitter) at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) in New York City, the brainchild of Sebastian Heath, Tom Elliott, and John Muccigrosso. I presented on the current state of archaeological publishing of my organization, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA). The best part about the conference, though, was listening to new friends and colleagues speak about the many aspects of linked data, open source, and open access the archaeology of the Ancient World. As the ASCSA’s Director of Publications, I am beginning to put into practice what was discussed at LAWDI, and look forward to continuing to contribute.

Here’s what’s been done so far:

1. Open Access Hesperia. Our journal, Hesperia, is currently housed on JSTOR. We have a Content Sharing Agreement with JSTOR, however, which allows us to share our content from beyond the 3-year moving wall. This means that in July 2012 individual readers who need to search for and download any/all Hesperia articles published from 1932-2009 will be able to do so from the ASCSA’s website for free. The PDF articles can be read on any device that can open PDFs, and they can be used without Internet access post-download. There is no DRM. I alpha-tested the behind-the-scenes upload utility yesterday with reasonable success. I need to do a batch name-change on the PDFs and then load those onto our webserver (the test links currently point to JSTOR, but this will change in July). It is my hope that I can find just over $1M with which I can endow the journal at which point I can make open access to it complete and eternal.

2. Open Bibliography on Zotero. After the LAWDI meetings, I returned to Princeton to map out what I could begin to do with the concept of linking content for the ancient world. I had briefly used Zotero to read articles posted by Tom Elliott on Twitter, but I’d never gotten into the platform as a contributor of content. Since then, I have created a Zotero group for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in which I have now shared publicly the enter bibliography of 1,500+ Hesperia articles and about 150 (or 230+) monographs. I need to go through (and encourage others to help with this) and edit the book entries and add abstracts to earlier Hesperia articles. This will take time, but it’s a good start.

3. Linking in eBooks. June saw the publication of our latest printed monograph, Isthmia: The Roman and Byzantine Graves and Human Remains (Isthmia IX), by Joseph L. Rife. I spent yesterday and will spend today creating links in the PDF eBook. My previous attempts at linking were restricted to links between text, note, table, and image. I have done this in Isthmia IX, tedium made bearable through listening to hardcore punk, gangsta rap, and the Euro 2012 match between Germany and Italy. This is only the first step. The next is to attempt to create dynamic, outward-looking links from every bibliographic citation and every footnote to actual articles and books on the Internet. This could be insane and/or impossible, but I’m going to try. I am also going to attempt to link each inventoried object as presented on the ASCSA’s open access website for archaeological data, Lastly, I’m going to try to link from places mentioned in Rife’s book to records in Pleiades. Wish me luck.

The above is what I’m doing now and in July, and I’m looking forward to sharing/linking with other archaeologists worldwide on these and future projects.

Andrew Reinhard, Director of Publications, ASCSA