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An Open Context for Near Eastern Archaeology

December 1, 2007

The common use by archaeologists of ubiquitous technologies such as computers and digital cameras means that archaeological research projects now produce huge amounts of diverse, digital documentation. However, while the technology is available to collect this documentation, we still largely lack community-accepted dissemination channels appropriate for such torrents of data. Open Context aims to help fill this gap by providing open access data publication services for archaeology. Open Context has a flexible and generalized technical architecture that can accommodate most archaeological datasets, despite the lack of common recording systems or other documentation standards. It includes a variety of tools to make data dissemination easier and more worthwhile. Authorship is clearly identified through citation tools, including web-based publication systems that enable individuals to upload their own data for review, and collaboration is facilitated through easy download and "tagging" features. Near Eastern archaeologists will benefit from Open Context's flexibility to share a variety of content from diverse projects, no matter how large or small. This article was originally published in Near Eastern Archaeology (ISSN 1094-2076), Volume 70, Number 4, December 2007.

Open Content in Open Context

November 1, 2007

This article presents the challenges and rewards of sharing research content through a discussion of Open Context, a new open access data publication system for field sciences and museum collections. Open Context is the first data repository of its kind, allowing self-publication of research data, community commentary through tagging, and clear citation and stable hyperlinks, and Creative Commons licenses that make reusing content legal and easy.The Nov-Dec 2007 issue of Educational Technology magazine is an entire special issue dedicated to "Opening Educational Resources." A series of articles in this issue highlight open educational models, including OpenCourseWare, Connexions and this piece on Open Context, co-authored by Sarah Whitcher Kansa and Eric Kansa.

Publishing Primary Data on the World Wide Web: Opencontext.org and an Open Future for the Past

April 24, 2007

More scholars are exploring forms of digital dissemination, including open access (OA) systems where content is made available free of charge. These include peer -reviewed e -journals as well as traditional journals that have an online presence. Besides SHA's Technical Briefs in Historical Archaeology, the American Journal of Archaeology now offers open access to downloadable articles from their printed issues. Similarly, Evolutionary Anthropology offers many full -text articles free for download. More archaeologists are also taking advantage of easy Web publication to post copies of their publications on personal websites. Roughly 15% of all scholars participate in such "self -archiving." To encourage this practice, Science Commons (2006) and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) recently launched the Scholar Copyright Project, an initiative that will develop standard "Author Addenda" -- a suite of short amendments to attach to copyright agreements from publishers (http://sciencecommons. org/projects/publishing/index.html). These addenda make it easier for paper authors to retain and clarify their rights to self -archive their papers electronically. Several studies now clearly document that self -archiving and OA publication enhances uptake and citation rates (Hajjem et al. 2005). Researchers enhance their reputations and stature by opening up their scholarship.Mounting pressure for greater public access also comes from many research stakeholders. Granting foundations interested in maximizing the return on their investment in basic research are often encouraging and sometimes even requiring some form of OA electronic dissemination. Interest in maximizing public access to publicly financed research is catching on in Congress. A new bipartisan bill, the Federal Research Public Access Act, would require OA for drafts of papers that pass peer review and result from federally funded research (U.S. Congress 2006). The bill would create government -funded digital repositories that would host and maintain these draft papers. University libraries are some of the most vocal advocates for OA research. Current publishing frameworks have seen dramatically escalated costs, sometimes four times higher than the general rate of inflation (Create Change 2003). Increasing costs have forced many libraries to cancel subscriptions and thereby hurt access and scholarship (Association for College and Research Libraries 2003; Suber 2004).This article originally published in Technical Briefs In Historical Archaeology, 2007, 2: -11.