Working Papers, Open Access and Cyber-Infrastructure in Classical Studies

18 February 2008

Princeton–Stanford Working Papers in Classics is a web-based series of work-in-progress scripts by members of two leading departments of classics. It introduces the humanities to a new form of scholarly communication and represents a major advance in the free availability of classical-studies scholarship in cyberspace. This article both reviews the initial performance of this open-access experiment and the benefits and challenges of working papers more generally for classical studies. After two years of operation Princeton–Stanford Working Papers in Classics has proven to be a clear success. This series has built up a large international readership and a sizeable body of preprints and performs important scholarly and community-outreach functions. As this performance is largely due to its congruency with the working arrangements of ancient historians and classicists and the global demand for open-access scholarship, the series confirms the viability of this means of scholarly communication and the likelihood of its expansion in our discipline. But modifications are required to increase the benefits this series brings and the amount of scholarship it makes freely available online. Finally departments wishing to replicate its success will have to consider other important developments, such as the increasing availability of postprints, the linking of research funding to open access, and the emergence of new cyber-infrastructure.