Thursday, November 5, 2009

New journal: "Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences"

I have just seen a new journal, "Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences." This is published by Springer, under their heading of "Earth Sciences." Although this is a commercial journal that will have toll access, they are offering free access for a month. Volume 1, issue 3 is now available. The journal's website says:

"Presents the latest scientific methodologies in archaeological research

Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences covers the full spectrum of natural scientific methods with an emphasis on the archaeological contexts and the questions being studied. It bridges the gap between archaeologists and natural scientists providing a forum to encourage the continued integration of scientific methodologies in archaeological research.

Coverage in the journal includes: archaeology, geology/geophysical prospection, geoarchaeology, geochronology, palaeoanthropology, archaeozoology and archaeobotany, genetics and other biomolecules, material analysis and conservation science.

Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences is endorsed by the German Society of Natural Scientific Archaeology and Archaeometry (GNAA), the Hellenic Society for Archaeometry (HSC) and the Association of Italian Archaeometrists (AIAr)."

I wonder what is "Anthropological" about the journal, except perhaps a way to distinguish its name from the Journal of Archaeological Science (JAS). The new journal participates in Springer's "Open Choice" program. Authors can pay to have their articles made available without charge on the journal's website for only $3,000 (US dollars). Wow, what a bargain.

This new journal is one sign that the field of archaeological science has become a major growth area in archaeological journal publishing. JAS now publishes twelve issues per year; Archaeometry is still going strong, and various other more specialized journals are flourishing. Although I have no data about this, my impression is that the number of journal pages devoted to topics in archaeological science may be increasing more rapidly than other domains of archaeology such as theory and regional coverage.

Given the involvement of natural scientists in this area, with their higher research funding levels than most field projects, one would think that they could figure out how to develop open access journals to promote wider distribution of the research. Or perhaps an organization in this area could work on an institutional repository for archiving published papers.

I was going to make a snide remark about the cost of subscription for the new journal, but I can't find any information on their website. A few years ago Springer evidently decided that they didn't want individuals to subscribe to their journals anymore, so they jacked up subscription rates tremendously; that was when I cancelled my subscriptions to the Jr. Arch. Research and Jr. Arch Method & Theory. I certainly don't understanding journal finances these days. Most university libraries will probably not be able to afford the new journal, although perhaps they will bundle it with other titles (the current commercial journal strategy).

But increasing the supply of published peer-reviewed articles in archaeology is a good thing, and I wish the new journal luck.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Archaeological and Anthropological Science - "emphasis on the archaeological contexts and the questions being studied"

Journal of Archaeological Science - "scientific methods to increase the information derived from archaeological research"

I think the difference is relating the data back to an overarching anthropological question (human society, activity, behavior, etc...). While authors do this in JofAS, I think the goal of the new journal is more explicit. However, the converse is also true, articles in the new journal do not always relate the data back to theory and purely emphasize the methods.