[INDOLOGY] Dharmapada Bibliography

Dan Lusthaus yogacara at gmail.com
Wed Nov 27 13:15:35 EST 2019

Dominik and colleagues,

I couldn’t agree more. In addition to minimal remuneration, they offer authors 6 months of free access to the bibliography, after which one either has to pay for a subscription to one’s own work as well the rest of the bibliography, or be at an institution that has a subscription. Their business model may be said to support scholarship, but not scholars. But they are not alone in this dynamic. Sadly, it is all too routine in our profession.

But while singling out Oxford Univ. Press, let me add the following. Recently they published a translation of the fundamental Chinese Buddhist text, Treatise on Awakening Mahāyāna Faith (sometimes just called Awakening of Faith in English), which John Jorgensen, John Makeham, Mark Strange and I worked on for several years. At the annual American Academy of Religion meeting in San Diego, from which I’ve just returned, when I looked for the book at the Oxford display in the book fair, I couldn’t find it either on display or on their sale book list.  I asked them why the book wasn’t there. They hadn’t heard of it (ok, they do have a large inventory), and it took them a few minutes to locate the title on their electronic devices, confirming that the official release date for the book was October 1st. They apologized; I said we’ve all lost a great opportunity. They said people could buy it online — kind of missing the point.


We had hoped that colleagues who recognize the central importance of the Awakening of Faith for East Asian Buddhism for the last 1500 years, but were loath to inflict Hakeda’s translation on students, would adopt our translation for classroom use. A display copy would have allowed people to make an informed determination on that account.

Dominik’s efforts on this list and elsewhere to challenge the business practices living off our labors that seek to minimally remunerate us, the workers, while enriching themselves, are deeply appreciated by many, myself included. Thank you, Dominik.


> On Nov 27, 2019, at 12:51 PM, Dominik Wujastyk via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> On Wed, 27 Nov 2019 at 03:18, Valerie Roebuck via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info <mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
> Dear Colleagues
> ...
> The OUP Blibliographies are an ongoing project, to be kept up to date by their compilers, so please contact me with any corrections, or notices of relevant publications.
> The OUP Bibliographies is an amazing project and the standard is very high.  The materials are endlessly useful and important for students, particularly.  However, I do not like or agree with OUP's policy about continuing updates.  Yes, obviously the bibliographies should be revised and updated from time to time.  But the amount of work that goes into these bibliographies is huge and severely under-resourced by OUP.   First, the payment they offer for the original work is completely out of proportion to the weeks of work that goes into it.  But more shocking is that they offer little or nothing for the labour of updating these bibliographies.  This is extremely specialized work.  In any other professional field it would be very expensive.  Imagine asking a lawyer to "update" some legal documentation, for example.  The rate would be several hundreds of dollars per hour.
> OUP asked me to update my bibliography and, after some discussion, I refused because the terms were insultingly meagre.  I think they offered a couple of free books.  In the real world of professionalism, this would buy about thirty minutes of time.
> I'm not really interested in the money per se.  But it's plain unethical of OUP to profiteer on our backs like this.  Finally, if all the money goes to publishers and their investors, it's not going to students and researchers.  OUP makes noises about being a university press and being dedicated to research etc., but their business model is not distinguishable from the most rapacious profiteers.
> Best,
> Dominik
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