In his article, How Is New Media Reshaping the Work of Historians?, Robert B. Townsend analyzes the data gathered from a 2010 American Historical Association (AHA) survey conducted on history scholars at universities and colleges regarding their use of new technologies and media in the discipline.
From this survey, the results I found most interesting is the uneasiness that scholars in tenured track positions still felt in the year 2010 concerning the dissemination of articles and books in online journals. As the survey shows, even scholars using new technologies for their research, mostly still don’t consider the idea of online publishing. However, beyond this apprehension, the survey shows how there is a percentage of scholars willing to peruse online publishing.
Townsend also highlights the issue that publishing houses and journals are the entities that are least ready to embrace policies working toward the online dissemination of scholarship, preventing a growth in adopting a more prestigious view of online publishing, as compared to print publishing.
One great example mentioned in the article is the Gutermberg-e initiative. This project is a collaboration between the Columbia University Press and AHA. It consists of an open access site that gives opportunities and space for online publication to emerging scholars, while still upholding a stringent academic review policy.
This is the kind of endeavor publishing houses should more actively pursue. Greater dissemination is vital to the continued revision of knowledge. Serious and rigorous open access online publishing promises wider dissemination, more active and rapid revisions, and live debate.