Patronage – one of many models for free-to-read-free-to-publish

Piers Locke is a Canterbury colleague with a progressive approach to scholarly publication.  I like him, and not just because he’s inordinately fond of elephants (but that certainly helps).  He is one of those academics who puts his principals into practice.  He works with a net work of anthropologists who have created HAU Journal of Ethnographic Theory using a business model it uses it calls ‘sponsorship’, but I like to label ‘patronage’.  A group of interested institutions and funds have banded together to cover the costs of production.  With the help of  a level of institutional and disciplinary engagement a patronage model encourages,  it is now one of the top ranked journals in its field, according to Google Scholar.  Its also bolstered Piers’ ranking, to the top 1% of’s ranking system.

This is a practical, positive example that Open Access doesn’t mean pay-to-publish, low-quality or in any way ‘cheap’.  It’s one of an emerging array of business models OA can add it its arsenal.  Patronage implies the support of a community beyond just that of those who wish to raise their profile by being associated with something, but also actively want to help and encourage the venture.  That’s what I mean when I say it is the engagement beyond just the business of getting a journal published that helps, in a virtuous circle, its impact which again increases engagement.

Indexes, a qualification

I’m not a huge fan of indexes – they are inherently reductionistic, but what is a purchasing librarian or a promotions board to do that take some numbers, and hopefully put them in context when making decisions?

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