The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Expensive scholarly works

Many published works of Christian scholarship are incredibly expensive to purchase. That and being in dead-tree form makes the data less useful to those whom it is intended to benefit. Ulrich Schmid expresses frustration:

Concerning the pricing of scholarly literature in Biblical studies it is time that scholars themselves start to think about their roles as content providers. It's not just that the books are so expensive, but all the work that goes into publishing such literature is basically done by the scholars as well. Sky-high prizing despite having the manuscripts delivered camera-ready is a situation that I am increasingly fed up with. What do other content providers think about that?

Maurice Robinson seems to have the same sentiment I do:

I seriously wonder what all the publishers of those ridiculously expensive limited-print volumes would do if the various scholarly writers (who often get little or no payment or royalty for such works) would eschew such costly publication formats, and get together to offer at a common website free PDF downloads of their camera-ready scholarly works. That way -- bypassing the print media entirely -- a wider audience could be had, even offering the material in printed hardback or paperback format through the various low-cost on-demand publishing entities such as Lulu or Lightning Source. Something to think about, certainly.

I would go farther than Robinson. I think the source files of the work should be distributed as well, since this makes the scholarship easier to convert for various uses. Also, I would ensure that the works are libre and not just gratis.

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