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Digital scholarship and libraries

December 2, 2010

One of the more rewarding things I have done as a librarian was having the opportunity to found the open access journal imprint New Prairie Press here at Kansas State. Part of this work has been honing the message of open access and digital scholarship that we present to potential scholarly journal editors. Many are initially skeptical, but without fail I can report that all of the editors who have come on board are now enthusiastic supporters of this new publishing paradigm.

One of the advantages I often mention is that with digital scholarship, many of the limitations of print publication cease to exist, first and foremost page counts and limitations. While looking at the most recent volume of the Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication (an NPP title), I noticed that one of the articles is 83 pages long. That would be unthinkable for a print journal, and even in an online journal many commercial presses would likely balk at the length because their thinking is still shaped by the confines of a print journal, even if their business models are entirely digital these days.

In his acknowledgements for this epic article, the author, Jody Azzouni, makes note of this:

I should finally add that this paper discharges a rather old promise I made in 1994, where I first indicated that my philosophical approach to mathematical practice had as a corollary a response to (a version of) the rule-following paradox. In spirit, although not in expository details, this is what I had in mind. The characterization of the evolution of scientific language that I subsequently presented in my 2000 (especially Part IV) [sic] illustrated the “floating picture” of language (given here); but reasons of space again prevented an explicit discussion of rule-following. I’m thus very grateful to the editors of the 5th issue of the Baltic International Yearbook for [sic] Cognition, Logic and Communication for the opportunity to finally lay all this out. (source, page 74)

As a librarian, it is great to hear that we have created a mechanism to allow his scholarship to see the light of day. We should do more of this.

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