The March 2015 issue of the SAA Archaeological Record is out. First, it's a special issue covering archaeology and reality TV with a boader focus on communicating archaeology in the media. I just want to point out that there is ZERO mention of podcasts. Not even in passing. Go ahead, search the document. You won't find it. I guess I need to publish some articles about podcasting for there to be a mention of it. The Archaeology Podcast Network's 6000+ listeners probably think there is value to podcasting. Anyway...
Before the issue really takes off there is a brief article about Open Access publishing by Sarah Kansa and Carrie Dennett. The article is titled, Exploring Open Access for SAA Publications.
I'm not going to go over the article. You can read it at the link above. I'll just mention one of the ideas that I liked which is "Self-Archiving". Basically, you can publish in a journal, American Antiquity, for example, but then you also offer the article for free on your, or another, website. For the internet savvy, the article will be easy to find. For those that don't want to bother searching for it, there is still the journal. As with most things, you as the reader will get something for less if you're willing to put in the legwork.
I want to take this concept one step further.
Instead of offering the same publication in two different locations, make the "paid" publication more attractive to the subscription model. Hulu has been doing this for years now and it works. You can use Hulu for free, but, you don't get some shows at all and others aren't very current. Pay a little extra every month and you get current shows the day after they air on TV.
For the articles, which would have to be digital, you could offer extra graphics, images, datasets, videos and other interactions for the extra charge. Of course, you'd have to agree to not do this on your own website. Which brings me to my other idea.
Just do it yourself
Why publish your findings at all? I know we need peer review, but, it's so engrained in us that peer review is important that we can police ourselves on it. If I find a bit of research published on a blog but there are no peer review references and no references of any sort then I'll treat it a bit more skeptically than I normally would. You do run the risk of an untrained non-scientist finding the "bad" article and treating it like the gospel, but, that's going to happen anyway. There are some GREAT archaeology blogs out there that aren't peer reviewed but people are talking about them anyway.
It's VERY easy to disseminate information to those that need it or can use it. Using a variety of social media groups, the people that would actually benefit from your research will eventually find it.
You might ask why you would do this when you could publish in a journal and be done with it. Well, there are lots of reasons for that. Mostly, you are unlikely to get published while your research is still relevent. Only a handful of the numerous articles sent to American Antiquity ever make it to the journal. What happens to the ones that don't make it? They probably never see the light of day, or, they are presented in a dark room at the SAAs with five people barely staying awake sitting in the chairs at the back. Even if only a few hundred people read the article on your website it's still better than trying to get it published for a year or more and failing.
Social Media is Easy
If you disagree with that statement. Send me an email and I'll help you through it. You can set up a great website in minutes for little to no cost and you can share your articles whereever you want and no one will tell you no. Well, Liz on the Archaeology Facebook Group might throw a brick at you if you don't stay on point, but, that's the worst of it.
It's going to be a long time before a large machine like the SAA will go open access. So, bypass the system and do it yourself. Better yet, talk about it on the Archaeology Podcast Network. We can get your reaserch into 6000+ ear buds in seconds.