The library of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters is (one of?) Scandinavia’s biggest research library (ies) for archaeology, the history of art and allied disciplines. Since it’s co-located with the archives of the National Heritage Board in the East Stable next to the Swedish History Museum, it’s an amazing place to do research. And it just got even better.
Librarian Annika Eriksson tells me they have been working on this for quite some time, and now they’ve got it up and running. The library’s assortment of commercial digital resources – notably hundreds of paywalled research journals – is now available over the internet to holders of a library card. And it’s linked on an individual-paper basis to the two main bibliographical databases relevant to Swedish archaeologists, VITALIS and LIBRIS. This means that those two databases just got even more useful to us who use the library.
All you need to do to get access is visit the East Stable and sign up for a free library card — if you haven’t already got one. No need to be a professional or even a Swedish national.
The list of misdemeanours that identifies an Open Access science journal as predatory and not bona fide is long. One of them is attempts on the part of the publisher and editors to manipulate the journal’s citation index, for instance by demanding that authors cite earlier work published in the same journal. If many scholars cite papers in a given journal, then that journal’s index improves — even if the citing only goes on inside the covers of the journal itself.
When I first read about this criterion I was a little embarrassed, because I do that all the time when editing Fornvännen. I don’t demand that authors cite earlier papers in our journal, but I often suggest that they should, because it’s part of my job as editor to make sure that authors acknowledge the latest relevant work in their fields. Still, ours is not a predatory operation.
To start with, few scholars in the Scandinavian humanities pay any attention to citation indices. Ours aren’t global fields of inquiry such as those covered by Nature and Science. I have no idea what Fornvännen’s citation index is and I don’t know how to find out. Our authors wouldn’t even notice if our citation index improved due to shenanigans.
Secondly, the number of journals in our fields is tiny. We’re not one of a hundred journals competing for the same papers. Thirdly, we practice green Open Access, so we don’t make any money off of authors, or at all actually. And fourthly and most importantly, Fornvännen is on its 109th year of uninterrupted publication and has no need to reinforce its brand. Within the parameters of a regionally delimited field in the humanites, for us to try to manipulate our citation index would be like Science or Nature doing it.