[INDOLOGY] Working free for Oxford Bibliographies Online

Dipak Bhattacharya dipak.d2004 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 30 17:27:13 UTC 2014

Full sympathy!

Though I have no experience with OBO I have experience of writing for
Indian origin encyclopaedias. The first time I wrote at the age of 26-30 I
was paid nothing by an ancient Government Institute of fame. Next I wrote
for one Hindu Encyclopaedia and paid half of what was promised. The third
time I had an experience with an Institute at Bangalore. They did not pay
anything. None of them replied to my queries.

Only the Asiatic Society, Calcutta paid.

But at present I decline to write for such projects.

Naturally, I have full sympathy for you but think that you are not in so
bad a position as that in which a connectionless, non-influential Indian
contributor often is.



On Tue, Sep 30, 2014 at 8:21 PM, Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com>

> A few years ago, I wrote an annotated bibliography on Indian Medicine
> <http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195399318/obo-9780195399318-0035.xml>
> 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
> pop.
> 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.
> Sincerely,
> 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
> experience.
> I have managed to write this whole email without using the word
> "exploitation."  Oops...
> Sincerely,
> Dominik
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