Monday, October 02, 2006

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Update

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is an innovative open access project in more than one sense. This is a peer-reviewed philosophy encyclopedia aiming for top quality through a prestigious editorial board and invitation to write articles by the experts in a variety of areas. SEP was developed by the philosophers themselves, and is experimenting with an open access funding method with tremendous potential if successful: fundraising to create an endowment fund for ongoing access through covering SEP's modest operating costs. This fundraising effort is a collaboration between libraries, philosophy departments, U.S. funding agencies, and Stanford University. Funds contributed by libraries are matched by other donors.

If every library that can afford a specialized online encyclopedia like this were to commit about what such a resource would cost for three years of subscription, there would be more than enough for the endowment for SEP. This is what is so exciting about the model, in my opinion - just a little bit of rethinking about those purchase dollars can mean permanent change for optimum access for all.

If your library has already committed a little, have another look and see how many others are participating, and whether you could commit a little more. If your library isn't participating yet, give this some thought. For more details, see the SEP website - oh, and check out the new interface while you're there, it looks great!

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