Document Type



May 2014


AIC, American Institute of Conservation, Open Access, OA, publishing


Archival Science | Art and Materials Conservation | Book and Paper | Library and Information Science | Scholarly Communication | Scholarly Publishing


The conservation field has articulated the importance of publishing our research to disseminate information and further the aims of conservation. Article X of AIC’s Code of Ethics states that conservators should “contribute to the evolution and growth of the profession, a field of study that encompasses the liberal arts and the natural sciences” in part by “sharing of information and experience with colleagues, adding to the profession’s written body of knowledge.” Our Guidelines for Practice state “the conservation professional should recognize the importance of published information that has undergone formal peer review,” because, as Commentary 2.1 indicates, “publication in peer-reviewed literature lends credence to the disclosed information.” Furthermore, our Guidelines for Practice state that the “open exchange of ideas and information is a fundamental characteristic of a profession.” In publishing our research, we can increase awareness of conservation and confidence in our research methods among allied professionals as well as the general public.

However, current publication models limit the free flow of information by making access expensive and re-use complicated. An alternative to traditional subscription publishing is the Open Access movement, which strives to remove barriers to access and re-use of published information by reducing the costs of publishing and rethinking permissions issues.

To synthesize growing interest in professional publishing and spark discussion, this article proposes to: Define Open Access and how it differs from traditional publishing in its approach to access and re-use of peer-reviewed publications; discuss the implications of Open Access for the conservation field including interdisciplinary research, outreach opportunities, preferred medium for consuming professional publications, perspective of the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation (JAIC), and author impact; outline issues related to funding models, copyright, and licenses; raise questions about current and future publication practices.

Additional Information

This article has been reprinted with the permission of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20005, from the May 2014 edition (Vol. 39, No. 3) of AIC News. •