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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Openness and archaeology's information ecosystem


The rise of the World Wide Web represents one of the most significant transitions in communicationssince the printing press or even since the origins of writing. To Open Access and Open Data advocates,the Web offers great opportunity for expanding the accessibility, scale, diversity, and quality ofarchaeological communications. Nevertheless, Open Access and Open Data face steep adoption barriers.Critics wrongfully see Open Access as a threat to peer review. Others see data transparency as naivelytechnocratic, and lacking in an appreciation of archaeology’s social and professional incentive structure.However, as argued in this paper, the Open Access and Open Data movements do not gloss oversustainability, quality and professional incentive concerns. Rather, these reform movements offer muchneeded and trenchant critiques of the Academy’s many dysfunctions. These dysfunctions, ranging fromthe expectations of tenure and review committees to the structure of the academic publishing industry, golargely unknown and unremarked by most archaeologists. At a time of cutting fiscal austerity, OpenAccess and Open Data offer desperately needed ways to expand research opportunities, reduce costs andexpand the equity and effectiveness of archaeological communication.

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