Tuesday, January 31, 2006

UK leads the world in open academic journal policy

The UK government is tieing research funding to open online access to journal articles describing the research.

Maybe more historical and humanities research will eventually be available online. Right now there is a strong incentive for historians to hold back their work until it is published in a prestigious paper journal and then (irony of all ironies) you can't get it in Southeast Asia even though it's Southeast Asian history, let's say, because it is too expensive for Southeast Asian unviersity libraries to buy with their limited budget. If online journals become more acceptable maybe they would publish smaller articles, more often like scholars in the natural sciences.

IMHO Natural science papers are more willing to put forward potentially false hypotheses. Whereas in history making a hypothesis that may be proved false might be looked down upon, in the natural statements such falsifiable hypotheses are just good science.

(Also see the section on historicism in the Wikipedia article on falsifiability above.)