Wednesday, April 25, 2012

AIA Seeks to Maintain Monopoly on Research About the Past

The AIA is under attack from groups supporting open access to government funded research for its efforts to oppose the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2012.

The legislation is meant to ensure that government funded research is made available to the public on the Internet.

A group called, "Open Access Archaeology" takes the AIA to task, noting,

•The AIA does not understand that the legislation does not force them to make their materials Open Access. It only requires that research paid for by the US federal government be made Open Access after a period of closed access.
•We believe the AIA does not actually know what Open Access is or even what the term means. While public lectures are great it is not Open Access PUBLICATIONS.
•It is not the AIA that adds value to publications but the researchers who write the articles and peer reviewers who make improvements. Both actions are not paid for or undertaken by the AIA but by volunteers for FREE.
•We interpret the AIA mission statement, “Believing that greater understanding of the past enhances our shared sense of humanity and enriches our existence, the AIA seeks to educate people of all ages about the significance of archaeological discovery., to be in full support of Open Access and NOT in support of closed access.

For more, see
The AIA's stance in this matter certainly belies any claims made before Congress and the State Department Cultural Property Advisory Committee that import restrictions are necessary to further research that is then made available to the public. 
Interestingly, the AIA's efforts against open access appear nowhere on the AIA's advocacy page.  See

Is the AIA interested in the dissemination of knowledge as widely as possible or information control?


Paul Barford said...

"Interestingly, the AIA's efforts against open access appear nowhere on the AIA's advocacy page".

Neither does it appear on the "Get your AIA tee shirts here" page - which is not surprising as it is neither a site protection advocacy or tee-shirt issue. It is discussed here:

Your argument is missing the one salient issue here, that what this is (in the case of the AIA) about is the re-publication of material that is already published in the form of those things we call "books" (you know, paper things libraries and individuals pay subscriptions for). So they are not against "dissemination of knowledge" as much as something which undercuts part of the source of finances for their publication budget.

What the AIA are saying is free internet republication is going to undercut the subscription system which supports their publication, not all of which is of course government funded.

Some archaeological journals, like the British "Antiquity" give internet access to the published papers (plus in fact material wich is not available on paper) but for a subscription.

But I see what you want is everything on a plate and for free.

I really do not understand the position of the people at "Open Access Archaeology". None of them: seem to be directly involved in archaeological publishing.

Cultural Property Observer said...

1. They only have one advocacy page, and this is certainly lobbying-- yet it is not listed there, and not everything on there is directly linked to "site preservation."

2. This bill relates only to federally funded research, so I'm not sure why the AIA is opposing it-- which is a question posed by others in the archaeological community like Sebastian Heath and Chuck Jones. See

3. If the AIA argues that it serves the public, then it should make its scholarly research availale to the public, rather than trying to make it a profit center. Use the tee shirts you mention for that....