harvard and the digital humanities

jon stokes has a good article on harvard’s decision to use digital publisher scribd to sell a limited number of its books. is this a growing trend for universities in the collapsing economy? give it a read.

2 Responses

  1. It’s an interesting article. Surely it is a growing trend. Stokes implies that Harvard is abandoning print with this move. I’m not sure it’s anything more than Harvard selling books in another format than paper. Many of these books are already available in digital formats from your library via such things as Ebrary and NetLibrary. University of Chicago Press has just announced a similar program (http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ebooks/), and presumably will soon offer similar availability for all the other presses which participate in BiblioVault (http://www.bibliovault.org). Brill’s been doing the same thing for ages with practically everything they publish (http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=6) available for sale digitally. Does anybody buy this stuff outside of libraries? Read it on their kindles? I dunno…
    One trend I am expecting is for these organizations to abandon the printing and warehousing of large print runs, especially for limited distribution academic titles, and selling hard copy exclusively as print on demand.

    As for his statement that “Scholarly publishers, which are central to the all-important vetting and peer review process, don’t do digital, and they look down on anything published in a digital format”, I’m skeptical. Possibly it was once true, but it is increasingly not so.

    I keep tabs on past oriented manifestation of open access publishing at at http://ancientworldonline.blogspot.com/

  2. chuck, you’re correct. methinks the ‘publish or perish’ mentality will remain (and should for elite colleges), but people are warming to electronic publishing. the irony for me was that i had to print my 3d digital research in a 2d analog volumes and print articles before people said, ‘oh, i guess that digital stuff is legitimate.’ lol.

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