Mermania!

I’ve already posted a teaser about my mermaid research, but now I’m pleased to say that the academic paper is available in the Journal of Museum Ethnography, no. 27 (2014), pp.98-116.

©Horniman Museum and Gardens & © Heini Schneebeli

We had hoped (and we asked) to make the paper open-access, as one of my co-authors is based at the Wellcome Library and the Wellcome takes open-access seriously and provide funds for making research freely available.

But alas our request seems to have been missed or ignored. I’m not hugely surprised as the Journal is published by the Museum Ethnographers Group, which is a Subject Specialist Network (SSN) run by volunteers and the systems are simply not in place for organisations like that to adopt new publishing models quickly and easily.

I should know, as I am involved in a couple of SSNs and I know how much time and effort goes into producing a Journal and I know how core the Journal is to the running of an SSN – it’s seen as a benefit of membership and therefore giving away the content freely is seen by some as devaluing membership.

At the SSN I am most involved in (the Natural Sciences Collections Association – NatSCA) we make all of our Journal articles freely available, but only a year after publication, so there is still a benefit to joining (among other benefits of course!).

I may not be able to legally share the final version of the paper with everyone, as I don’t hold the copyright, but I hold the copyright of the earlier drafts, so here is an earlier draft of the paper if you want to get the gist of the mermaid research.

I won’t go into detail here about the contents of the paper, since I’ve been busy writing for other blogs where I look at different aspects of mermaids:

how to make a mermaid is explained on Henry Nichol’s excellent Guardian science blog Animal Magic;

why Henry Wellcome may have collected mermaids is explore on the Wellcome Collection’s blog;

an accessible summary of the mermaid research on the Horniman merman is available on the Horniman website,

and there is a nice blog by Vicky Pearce on the Horniman blog.

Hopefully this mass of mermaid information will inspire discussion, where I really hope to find out about more mermaid specimens and stories.

If you have any information, thoughts or questions please either use the #mermania hashtag on twitter or leave a comment below. Enjoy!