Friday, June 19, 2009

Please post your papers on the internet

When I have asked some colleagues why they don't post their papers on the internet, they have replied that it's too complicated, they don't know how to create a web page, they don't understand html, etc. etc. But it is just not that difficult a task. I am certainly no whiz at internet technology, but I've been creating web sites and posting papers for years. If you are associated with a university, your IT people can help you get set up with a home page, and show you how to maintain it and post your papers, images, datafiles, whatever. Once you get the hang of it, it does not take much time. For me, it is part of what I call my scholarly maintenance routine: entering new references into Endnote, keeping up with the journals, and other things I do regularly as part of being a scholar.

I am amazed at the number of professional archaeologists who do NOT post their papers online. Why do we publish journal articles and book chapters? Certainly not for the money. But whether we publish because we feel obligated, or to share our results with others, or for the glory of seeing our names in print—in all these cases we publish so that people will read what we write. If you post your papers on the internet, more people will read them, more people will cite them. IN technical terms, they will have greater impact. This is good for you as a scholar, it is good for the people who read or look at your papers, and it is good for the profession.

To me, this question is a complete no-brainer, which is why I am constantly amazed at colleauges who do not self-archive their publications.

Right now I am feeling like a technical whiz, since I just figured out how to update my university web page from Mexico (it is so easy to do from my office on campus that I forgot some of the steps involved in setting up the right kind of file transfer systen). The main reason I wanted to do that was to post my latest publication, an article on the context and influence of V. Gordon Childe's concept of the "Urban Revolution." Even with interruptions for watching the piƱata and eating a piece of birthday cake (there is a 3-year old birthday party going on downstairs), it did not take much time to figure out the new system.

9 comments:

ArchAsa said...

If "too complicated" is the reason then I would recommend www.academia.edu - a sort of Facebook for academics. Create a profile, link to a University, register your main research interests as keywords, and register any and all papers you want - either just by title and abstract or the entire paper can be uploaded as well.

The smart thing about Academia is that as people search keywords (say "burial" + "Iron Age") and you have registered those as either personal keywords or in connection with an article a link to you or your article is generated. Since Academia is linked to by many Universities it appears very high up on Google.

You can receive a note every time someone accesses your profile through a search on google, so you can see which keywords generate the most interests.

Mexique ancien said...

This website is very interesting... Thanks for the tip. I only have on paper written and published and some books reviews. But as Dr Smith said, it is important to share with all our collegues in the world using this kind of free platform.

R.A. said...

I agree completely. Putting papers and book chapters online definitely makes them easier to access, and increases their impact. I hope that more and more academics start doing this.

Michael E. Smith said...

I like ArchAsa's suggestion. No professional anthropology or archaeology organization seems likely to start a repository, and universities are very slow to come along. But Academia.edu seems to be catching on, perhaps slowly. It does have the capacity to post papers and other things, and they seem to do well in Google searches, so visibility is good.

Digger said...

Hi, Michael. Based in large part on your post and your follow-up regarding the 5-fold increase in citations for posted papers, I tried out a few free sites. Results posted at the link below. Thanks for the prod to get stuff posted.

http://faitattention.blogspot.com/2009/08/advantages-of-posting-your-papers.html

Anonymous said...

One of the problems I think is that the publishers - from which academics don't get a dime by the way - argue that the article / book chapter in the specific published form is THEIR property! Check e.g. Oxbow books' policy and see what happens. Of course, most of us, when we agree with a colleague as the editor to contribute for FREE to a book, we know nothing about this.

Viki said...

Regarding www.academia.edu: I checked it out, but I have to argue that "academics" who publish papers are not only the University staff, esp. in Archaeology.

Maybe you are not so lucky to have a university post, esp. in the current recession climate; however, you may be a dedicated researcher working for a company, a museum or the local council or as a volunteer, and still produce worthy publications. So, how can you post your papers on academia.edu if there is an exclusive attitude and you need to be affiliated with a University to register??

Michael E. Smith said...

Scholars can post their publications on a variety of types of websites. This can be done on a personal webpage, on a Facebook of MySpace page, and other places I have come across (but can't recall right now). Academia.edu is one solution, but certainly not the only one. But until professional societies decide to establish archives or repositories, it is up to individual scholars to find someplace for their papers.

Digger said...

You can register for Academia.edu without being affiliated with a college or university... look for the "Independent Researcher" category.

They sure don't make it obvious, though.