The Greatest Un-published Papers

Posted on March 29, 2011


I kind of get tired of people saying that CRM archaeology does not ever involve research. Sure a lot of the grey literature (reports that are not peer-reviewed) can be dry and uninspiring but some of it is cutting edge. I would direct you to-

Beyond the Marsh: Settlement Choice, Perception, and Spatial Decision-Making on the Georgia Coastal Plain by Thomas G. Whitley, Inna Moore, Gitisha Goel and Damon Jackson

This paper alone might be, in my opinion, the greatest archaeology and GIS paper in the last few years. This paper did not occur in a vacuum ether, with many of the ideas building off of their earlier work. Unfortunately, if you go to the website  you’ll see that almost all papers were given at conferences.  This is a double edge sword with those going to the conferences benefiting from the presentations but almost everyone else are left out. It is published on the web, which is a very good thing for getting the word out, but since it is not peer-reviewed then it is missed in many literature searches. Google scholar will not pick it up nether would any of the other more specialized search engines.  It is not presented in a hard-copy journals so there is not a wide distribution (not every hard-copy journal has a wide audience).

Another problem would be the research resource snobs who would not include papers such as these in their publication because they are not peer-reviewed. This means that even though some people stumble upon the resource they do not share it. A double shame as it were.

There are lots of reasons that research like this does not make it into peer-reviewed journals. It takes up time that those working more than 40 hrs. can ill afford to spend. The process can be long and drawn out lasting several years (unless you have to why would you want to). Language could also be a barrier as academics and CRM archaeologists do not always use the same lingo.

Regardless of the reasons the result is that everyone loses out on learning something new and forwarding our knowledge of the world.

Not that every piece of grey literature deserves to receive wider readership but nether does every piece of peer-reviewed literature. If only there was so out let that allowed a sort of half way between grey literature and peer-review. The SAA Archaeological Record is probably a good example of this sort of third way. Sadly, it is limited to 2000 words and there is only one. It would be great to see some sort of expansion in this area of archaeology publishing.

Hi reader. If you know of any such resource please let me know or if you see holes in my hopes then please point them out.

Posted in: Wildcard