@BAllanHansen

Monday, August 1, 2016

Open Access in History and Economics

The Exchange had a post the other day about a special issue of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era focusing on the history of capitalism. Several of the papers looked interesting. Unfortunately, I discovered that I only have access to JGAPE with a one year delay. My wife teaches at American University, and their access also has a one year delay. I then took the next step of searching for open access versions of the papers: working papers or papers presented at seminars. I put the title and author of each paper into Google Scholar. I did not find an open access version of a single one of the papers. I then tried the same thing with the first seven papers in the August issue of American Economic Review. Granted, this is a small and unscientific sample. Nevertheless, the result is consistent with the impression that I have had for a while that economics is more open access than history. What I am not sure about is why. I think economists believe that there is no cost to providing open access to working papers, and, as best I can tell, there is not. Do historians believe there is a cost? Is there? I know there are concerns about open access to dissertations reducing the demand for a book derived from that dissertation. Are these concerns well founded? And what about journal articles? 

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