Monday, November 01, 2004

Another e-publishing model

Another example of how ease of publishing on the internet is making new models of academic discourse possible: Brad DeLong points to the Encyclopedia of Economic and Business History, a new article collection that
is designed to provide students and laymen with high quality reference articles in the field. Articles for the Online Encyclopedia are written by experts, screened by a group of authorities, and carefully edited. A distinguished Advisory Board recommends entry topics, assists in the selection of authors, and defines the project's scope.
This places it somewhat below a survey journal in terms of scholarly status, but above other web resources for laymen like Wikipedia or Mathworld or even ScienceWorld in terms of reliability and academic rigor.

It's a laudible endeavour. I suspect it works well in this area because economics have a tradition of public writings in addition to their academic work (as evidenced by the number of economics blogs). Given the levels of economic illiteracy among the public, and the importance of economic issues in making policy, such a resource can be of immense benefit for those of us trying to follow the often arcane and impenetrable discussions that swirl around issues like outsourcing, the economy, social security and tax cuts.
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