A vast archive of scientific history, covering almost 200 years, is being primed for online publication in March.
Not-for-profit technology provider for research and education, Jisc, and global publisher, Wiley, have teamed up to digitise a million-page collection on the history of science, chiefly based on the archives of the British Science Association (BSA, formerly the British Association for the Advancement of Science).
UK universities will also be able to offer their collections for inclusion in the digital archive, approximately covering the period from 1800 to the 1970s. The deadline for submitting an expression of interest is November 8.
This invitation, claim Jisc and Wiley, marks the first time universities have been given the opportunity to influence what material is digitised by a commercial publisher.
The ensuing content will initially be freely available to all UK universities and colleges. Once content licenses expire, the digital collection will be offered openly and password-free to all-comers.
“Digitising specialist archives is a costly enterprise and, over the last few years we have been exploring new business models to support digitisation of collections,” said Paola Marchionni, Jisc’s head of digital resources for teaching, learning and research.
“We are hoping this project will pave the way for similar alliances with other publishers and collections in the future.”
“Currently, these papers are only available to scholars who can travel to the archives kindly looked after by the Bodleian Library at Oxford,” said Katherine Mathieson, chief executive of the BSA. “This transformative partnership will extend access to many more researchers.
“These papers show that, from the very beginning, scientists wanted to share their knowledge with everyone. We continue to realise this vision today through our work with communities and schools, which supports our vision of a world where science is seen as a fundamental part of society and culture.”