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More news on open access to research, at KU and elsewhere


We told you this past weekend about how open (that is, free) access to scholarly research is an issue making waves around the country, and how KU's played a role in that over the years.

That story mentions a White House order that requires federal agencies to ensure free public access to any research they fund within a year after its publication, as well as a bill in Congress that would shorten that period to six months. One angle I didn't mention, though, was the possibility that a research journal could just decide to give away its content for free in the name of open access.

Now, in the few days since our story was published, I've come across a couple instances of that: one at KU, and one at a national organization.

"Auslegung: A Journal of Philosophy" is published twice a year by graduate students in the KU philosophy department, and until this year it charged for access to its articles, as is traditional for academic journals. But editor-in-chief Russell Waltz sent me a note this week saying that as of this year, the journal has opened up the doors and published everything online for free at KU's ScholarWorks repository.

A national journal also made news in academia-land for making the same kind of move: The journal Cultural Anthropology will go all free beginning in 2014. That one is published by the American Anthropological Association. A spokeswoman told the Chronicle of Higher Education that regular people right now have to wait 35 YEARS for free access to the AAA's journals.

I checked, and it's indeed true: You can peruse the hottest anthropological breakthroughs of March 1978, as published in the journal American Anthropologist, for free, right from your computer. What a world we live in. But you'll have to wait a few months to see what happened by June of 1978.

At Heard on the Hill, access to all of our posts remains free for everyone. But will it stay that way if you don't continue to send your KU news tips to merickson@ljworld.com? Well, yes, it probably will. I'd still appreciate it if you helped me out, though.

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