[INDOLOGY] Working free for Oxford Bibliographies Online

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Tue Sep 30 14:51:46 UTC 2014

A few years ago, I wrote an annotated bibliography on Indian Medicine
for the OBO project.  When I originally did the work, it took *much* longer
than I had anticipated.  I had thought I could just dust off a teaching
bibliography, but it turned out to be several weeks of careful work.  I
should think my hourly rate of payment for the work was about 10% of the
minimum wage.  But I was pleased with the result - I think I did a useful
job.  And OUP's online site is good, and adds various nice
internet-tweaks.  But it's a licensed product.  It's not available to the
public, but only to institutional subscribers.  Individual articles, like
mine, are apparently sold through Amazon and other outlets for about $7 a

Last week I was contacted by OUP and invited to update the bibliography.
They offered no payment. I asked, and was offered $50 worth of OUP books.
I thought that was not worthwhile.  I can't revise the bibliography
meaningfully in 90 minutes.  So I asked whether I could at least have free
access to OBO in return for doing the revisions.  I was told that this
decision was above my editor's authority, and therefore "no."

I have now sent OUP the following decision not to continue revising my
(their) bibliography:

After some reflection, I can't see why I would do this revision work for no
meaningful remuneration, and no way of accessing my own work once online,
and when OUP is presumably making profits from licensing the work I
created.  I hope you can see that there is little incentive for me.  I
think, actually, that the overall business model is seriously flawed.

I would feel more motivated to do it, I think, if you were able to find
someone in OUP with the authority to give me permanent gratis access to OBO.


I know that several of my colleagues here in the INDOLOGY forum have also
contributed excellent guides to OBO, so I thought I would share my

I have managed to write this whole email without using the word
"exploitation."  Oops...


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