Alexis Dimitriadis A.Dimitriadis at UU.NL
Tue Nov 15 18:07:48 UTC 2011

On 15/11/2011 17:23, Frank Seidel wrote:
> I very much like the idea of a freely or easily accessible prestigious 
> online publication platform and I would like to encourage thinking 
> about ways of using such a platform that makes use of the strengths of 
> the genre. The following two come readily to mind:
> 1) Easily changeable output that creates a history of article versions.

While I am in favour of the idea of open access publication (and who 
wouldn't be?), I think that reaching parity in prestige with traditional 
publications requires a very conservative approach. As Martin Haspelmath 
pointed out during a similar discussion years ago, traditional 
publication provides three things: a means of distribution, the quality 
control implied by the publisher's endorsement, and the permanence of 
the published text. The best way for open access to gain equal status is 
by matching the whole trifecta.

Digital media have many advantages, but I would ensure that these are 
provided as add-ons, and do not come to the detriment of matching the 
strengths of print media. Without archive-level stability for online 
publications, I worry that tenure boards (and nervous job applicants) 
will be reluctant to consider online content as truly equivalent to 
print publications. Besides, stability and reproducibility are essential 
to scholarly work-- it is difficult to cite or respond to an article 
that keeps changing, even if the new versions are better, and the old 
versions are archived.



PS. Similar problems have troubled the creators of linguistic databases 
(which do not count as "publications"). Some of them wisely recommend 
citation in a form that treats a database as if it were a publication.


Alexis Dimitriadis
A.Dimitriadis at

Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Trans 10
3512 JK Utrecht
The Netherlands

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