17.757 the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Fri May 07 2004 - 16:58:02 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 757.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Thu, 01 Apr 2004 06:57:00 +0100
             From: "Edward N.Zalta" <zalta@mally.stanford.edu>
             Subject: the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    [Dear colleagues: Please give the following your most careful attention. --WM]

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    A Funding Plan to Keep It Free
    Library and Academic Community Action

    * The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy http://plato.stanford.edu/ (SEP)
    is one of the most significant and visible humanities projects on the world
    wide web, serving millions of pages annually to readers worldwide (see
    http://plato.stanford.edu/info.html#access). The SEP has achieved its
    current status by its special combination of advanced digital technology
    and rigorous academic peer review. Our digital workflow technology not only
    allows us to manage over 825 authors and 90 subject editors at a minimal
    cost, but also organizes the SEP as a "dynamic reference work". In a
    dynamic reference work, the authors are given the means to keep their
    entries up-to-date, and all entries and updates are refereed before
    publication on the web. The entries produced for the SEP are in-depth,
    scholarly pieces which cover a variety of philosophical topics from war and
    voluntary euthanasia to Nietzsche and Rorty. The scope ranges from issues
    traditionally discussed by European and American philosophers, and we are
    working to expand our listings in the areas of African, Arabic and Islamic,
    Chinese, Japanese, and Judaic philosophy. These entries are of broad
    interest, not just to philosophers but to anyone seeking a humanistic
    perspective on issues that are important to the human condition. The
    success of the SEP has been made possible by the volunteer efforts of an
    internationally distinguished board of subject editors
    http://plato.stanford.edu/board.html and authors who are among the top
    experts in their fields.

    * The SEP has been freely accessible since September 1995 because of grants
    from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science
    Foundation. However, this money will end in September 2005. So the SEP is
    embarking upon a fund-raising plan on which we partner with library
    consortia to raise money both from libraries and from private donors. We
    hope to raise enough money in 3 years to operate off the interest. See our
    Open Letter to Professional Philosophers:


    However, the SEP is being read by academics in a variety of departments.
    You can get a sense of how widely the SEP is being read at your institution
    by examining:


    * The largest group of library consortia, the International Coalition of
    Library Consortia (ICOLC), has released, and circulated among its members,
    a "Global Call to Action" in support of the SEP fund-raising plan. It
    endorses the fund-raising plan that we have developed and asks libraries to
    make fund-raising pledges. This Call has been endorsed by Rick Johnson, the
    Director of SPARC. Copies of the document may be obtained at


    Note that the funding plan asks for only 3 one-year contributions
    (positioned as either "subscriptions" or a "contributions to the SEP
    endowment") which thereby earn a lifetime of free access. The plan also
    suggests that the libraries and academic departments might need to combine
    resources during that time. Please consider whether your department can
    play a small role in helping the library at your institution participate in
    the funding plan. Suggested contributions have been set to account for the
    fact that some libraries may not participate.

    * We shall endeavor to keep the SEP completely free and open access during
    our fund-raising drive, but if the free-rider problem undermines our
    fund-raising plan, we may have to reconsider.

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