Open access archive

I’ve decided to create my own publications archive page. At the moment, this will involve self-archiving the publications on this site, since Aberystwyth (unlike a growing number of UK universities) doesn’t provide an institutional open access archive, and there isn’t as far as I know any kind of discipline-based OAI-compliant self-archiving option for history publications (comparable to ventures like arXiv for scientists), except in a few specialist and science-orientated fields like medical history.* Something needs to be done about that. But personally, I want to do something now rather than waiting around for more ideal solutions to happen.

The immediate spur to action was article by Steve Harnad (thanks to Jeremy).I’d been thinking about self-archiving my publications for a while, to make them more widely available to any interested readers who don’t have access to well-stocked university libraries. I was a bit concerned about the copyright issues, but on actually doing some homework I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that at least two of my publishers already have policies in place which allow me to do this, with some conditions (eg, how long you have to wait after publication, and whether you can post PDFs of the actual published works or only copies of the final accepted drafts).

So I’ve made a start. There will be more to come, along with some of my favourite unpublished conference papers, and later I may use it for pre-print publication as well. I would also like to set up a kind of directory of open-access scholarly publications in early modern history at some point – there are plenty out there but they’re not always easy to find. But that’s going to have to wait till I’m a bit less busy.

By the way, authors can find out their publishers’ policies using SHERPA, which also has a lot of useful guidance on self-archiving.

More useful resources:

Open Access overview
what you can do to promote open access
Promoting open access in the humanities
Open Access News blog
Budapest Open Access Initiative
Open Archives Initiative
OAIster (searches over 600 repositories)

*If I’m wrong about that, I’d be happy to be corrected…

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6 Responses to Open access archive

  1. John Russell says:

    Huzzah! Thanks for doing this. I do wish there were a subject repository for history (*librarian sigh*). On a related note, John Garrigus (historian of Revolutionary Haiti) archives some of his articles on his website: (in case you haven’t seen it).

  2. Jeremy Boggs says:

    Just to let you in on a little secret, Sharon. Right now I’m working on a “academic” version of WordPress that will hopefully make the process of self-archiving publications easier for historians, and make scholarship more accessible and usable in a variety of other media. I hope to have a beta version out by early June.

  3. Sharon says:

    Jeremy: ooooh…. Can’t wait to see it!

    John: thanks for the link. If anyone has any more like it, just send them along…

  4. Henrik says:

    This is interesting.
    As Peter Suber put it (on

    “Every university in the world can and should have its own open-access, OAI-compliant repository and a policy to encourage or require its faculty members to deposit their research output in the repository. A growing number do precisely this.”

    …and, sadly, a large number doesn’t do anything.

  5. Matt says:

    As a second-year undergraduate with dissertation interests that are in the same general area as your research, I can say that putting your work online is much appreciated and may well earn you a citation this time next year!

  6. Brett says:

    In astrophysics, there’s ADS, which has titles, abstracts and, in many cases, the full text of many, many papers for entire runs of astrophysics and physics journals, over 4.7 million records in total. It’s been going since the mid-1990s, and is a brilliant resource for astronomers (and incidentally, historians of astronomy). I’d love to see something like this for history one day … but, for the moment, ideas like Sharon’s are a step in the right direction!

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