Opening the Journal and the AHA’s Online Journey: Two Trending Perspectives Articles Now Open

Two articles published in the May issue of Perspectives on History have become part of conversations online, and we wanted them to be available to a wider audience. They are now open to members and non-members alike.*

In “Opening the Journal,” Hong-Ming Liang offers insights into what a journal can do to serve the college, community, and liberal arts. As chief editor of the Middle Ground Journal, Liang cultivates a commitment to history in his student interns, who take on teaching and mentoring roles at a local public charter school. And since this open-access journal supports and relies on a worldwide network of scholars, the journal serves as a global-local link, while serving both teaching and scholarship.

The Middle Ground Journal is open access, and Liang offers his views on OA on thejournal’s blog: “In other words, while the open-access movement is important, The Middle Ground is not ‘free’…” His blog post and his article are both worth reading in full.

Also in the May issue is the last of several hundred articles written by Robert Townsend for Perspectives as a staff member. Townsend, former deputy director of the AHA, takes a look back at “The AHA’s Online Journey,” and offers a few lessons learned. One section has already been picked up by readers and discussed on social media, namely, Townsend’s discussion of the AHA’s experiments with open access. Townsend notes that the AHA’s American Historical Review started losing institutional subscriptions with its appearance on JSTOR, but “the decline during the year of open access was notable as the largest annual drop in the time we’d kept records….”

In September 2012, the AHA Council issued a statement on the “author pays” model of open access, and suggested that “historians begin thoughtful conversations” about the issues raised. We hope these articles, one by an editor of an open-access journal and one by a 24-year veteran of digital publishing, will help continue the discussion. Please visit the AHA’s Storify page on this issue, and watch for an upcoming panel on the topic at the 2014 annual meeting.

* Many feature articles in Perspectives Online are available only to members for the first thirty days, at which point they become freely available to all.

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