Impacts: Expanding Participation and Reach in Research
The AAI participates in a wider community working to reform how research is conducted and shared. These efforts are rapidly gaining momentum, as granting agencies, universities, libraries, and others see public access as an increasingly central goal in their research missions.
Over the past several years, the AAI has worked to expand access, participation, and transparency in research, particularly in archaeology and related fields. Some of our key achievements include:
- Technologies for Data Sharing: Our main data sharing platform, Open Context, continues to explore innovative approaches to data integration, search and retrieval tools, and powerful yet easy to use Web services for wide interoperability of data.
- Open Data: We helped to pioneer and promote the use of Creative Commons licenses in archaeology. These licenses are fundamental to any interoperability and reuse of archaeological content.
- Advisory and Leadership Roles: Our team holds leadership and advisory positions with related efforts like Digital Antiquity and in professional societies, including the International Council for Archaeozoology, the American Schools of Oriental Research, and the Society for American Archaeology.
- Recognized Expertise:Our staff has helped advise many organizations on intellectual property and information ethics, as well as informatics and interoperability issues. Organizations that have invited knowledge and policy exchanges with our staff include: the American Library Association, the Ford Foundation, the American School of Classical Studies, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, ArchaeoInformatics (now Digital Antiquity), the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (New York University), and the German Archaeological Institute.
- National Recognition: Two national granting agencies, the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities link to our data publishing system, Open Context.
Emphasis on Collaboration
We also recognize the great achievements, energy, and insights of our colleagues and peers. To this end, we are committed to decentralized and distributed approaches in improving research that invite wide participation and innovation. We aim our efforts to complement those of leaders like the Archaeology Data Service and Digital Antiquity, and actively collaborate with researchers and initiatives across the globe on sharing standards, technology, data, good practices, as well as ideas, and encouragement. Our active collaborators include leaders in digital preservation and archiving (the California Digital Library), and leaders in “linked open data” methods including: the Pleiades Project (NYU), Nomisma, the American Numismatic Society, Pelagios, and Arachne (German Archaeological Institute).
We recognize and celebrate the growing ecosystem of archaeological informatics. We realize that other efforts are important elements of the infrastructure that helps us meet our mission and goals. Thus, we take collaboration very seriously, and happily contribute to other efforts. Most of our grant-funded work aims to build on, and contribute to, other open access initiatives.
Beyond Archaeology: Open Government and Science
All of these achievements represent concrete examples of success in promoting more accessible and participatory forms of research. Finally, our experiences in promoting openness in archaeology also translate to impacts and outcomes in many other diverse areas. The software behind Open Context now sees use for public health data sharing, improving access to information on hazardous chemicals. Eric Kansa, part of our team, worked with colleagues to improve Open Government policies, and in 2010 he even participated on a panel discussion with Vivek Kundra, the President’s appointed CIO for the United States Federal Government. In 2013, the White House honored Eric as a Champion of Change in Open Science.