Christine Bartlitz Michael Kaiser (Chair of the panel)

Open Access: Divided Historians?

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The Humanities are on the move. New forms of digital publishing are ready to be tested and currently further developed. Numerous initiatives on both a national and a European level are committed to foster Open Access for academic publications. However, among all these activities one thing is missing: a vivid discussion, based on the confidence in the strengths of the own discipline and building on the many use cases; a discussion that dissects what digital practices in academia could look like in the future. In Germany, especially the field of History has the reputation of being rather conservative and averse towards changes in general. Consequently, academic findings are published through commercial publishing houses in printed books as it has been done for centuries. For the time being, well established performance indicators, important to any reputation system, recognise almost exclusively the traditional forms of publishing. Hence, many historians do not see the point in participating in digital initiatives when it comes to putting up new and free forms of publication. Many of them simply do not feel part of these initiatives and therefore resist them. Evidently, there is a need to adjust the traditional understanding of academic publishing in digital times. As several actors are involved in this process, the panel discussion of 120 minutes at the Conference of German Historians 2018 will bring together representatives from different sides. A well-established historian, an early-career historian, a publisher and someone representing funding organisations are expected to scrutinise these reservations and identify what information is missing or if information is missing at all.

Each participant will start with an introductory statement before the discussion will begin, tackling topics as:

(1) Open Access 2018: how does it work out in practice?

(2) The book as the gold standard: a matter of reputation?

(3) Publishers and funders –indispensable partners for Open Access

(4) Open Access 2028: Future developments

Victor Wang (Göttingen)
Johannes Fournier (Bonn)
Birte Kohtz (Moskau)
Achim Landwehr (Düsseldorf)
Johannes Paulmann (Mainz)