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Formations Project Details


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Programme area

Contact details
Dan Fleming, Project Director,
Faculty of Arts, University of Ulster, Coleraine, N.Ireland BT52 1SA
Phone: 028-7032-4196 Fax: 028-7032-4964

Project description

as of May 1st 2001

The Formations Open Archive for Media Studies began as an eLib 'pre-prints' project, funded for three years from 1996. The original eLib project team, based at the University of Ulster, was headed by Lynda Henderson and Dan Fleming, while project staff members Fiona O'Brien and Simon McLeish developed the prototype. The project Management Board 1996-1999 was chaired by Nicky Gardner (Director of Educational Services, University of Ulster) and consisted of Daniel Greenstein (AHDS, King's College London), Alexis Weedon (Luton), Julia Knight (Luton), Prof.John Izod (Stirling), Richard Gough (Aberystwyth), Kelly Russell (eLib), Prof.Gerry McCarthy (UU), Martin McLoone (UU) and Prof.John Hill (UU).

The current Formations Media Studies Archive is overseen by an International Editorial Advisory Board, whose members are Marcos Palacios (UFBA, Brazil), Daniel Chandler (Aberystwyth), Robin Markowitz (California State University), Sarah Zupko (, Alexis Weedon (University of Luton), Helen Davis (University of Sunderland) and Prof.Sean Cubitt (University of Waikato, New Zealand).

The concept of scholarly self-archiving only emerged in the late 1990s and 'Formations' is among the first generation of archive sites for academic users.

An important defining moment in the emergence of the concept was Stevan Harnad's 'subversive proposal' - that self-archiving of their writings online, contrasted with print publications such as academic journals, would better serve the main goal of scholarly writers - to reach as wide a readership as possible. Academic publishing in print will continue to meet other goals, including the requirement for traditionally peer-reviewed output, professional editorial management and promotion. But the web offers a powerful parallel channel for securing and maintaining the greatest accessibility for scholarly writing.

In that spirit, the Formations project's exit strategy involved linking a research-based eprints archive to a teaching and learning resource in which papers are open for online discussion. Users can self-archive their papers in a registration-based sub-site, using software developed within the eLib programme, while 'seminar papers' are hosted on a Lotus Domino sub-site where minimal barriers are erected to online discussion for teaching purposes. The survival of the archive post-eLib has been secured by partnership and sponsorship agreements with Lotus Development Corporation (Ireland) and Manchester University Press. A textbook was published in 2000 based on papers from the archive.

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The Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
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