Friday was an historic day. Not only did PLoS ONE open its door for submissions but also the Domesday Book went online 920 years after it was compiled. Such a shame that it hasn’t been published Open Access.
The Domesday Book is really a census which King William the first of England (aka William the conqueror, aka. Guillaume le bÃ¢tard) commanded to be taken pretty soon after his successful invasion in 1066. Basically he wanted to know what he had won. Clearly a card player of the ‘don’t count your winnings while you’re sitting at the table‘ school.
Anyway it records all the towns, villages, hamlets, farms, cattle, pigs and anything else taxable in the country at that time. Ever since then it has been held as a national historic resource latterly at the UK’s National Archive at Kew. Now the whole tome has been scanned and made accessible over the internet.
This probably isn’t news to you as the story has been covered everywhere from the San Francisco Chronicle to Aljazeera.net. If ever there was a public record, of public interest, held in a public archive this is it.
Yet despite the claim on the National Archive website that they “strive to make our collection as accessible as possible to the community at large and to heighten our profile both nationally and internationally. Our education service is committed to sharing and interpreting records for the benefit of academics and students of all ages“, to access a single page of the book will cost you £3.50.
Let’s hope that it doesn’t take over 920 and more years to free up access to the scientific literature!