Excellent, there’s going to be a dedicated public catalogue for Open Access Classics Serials, building on the outstanding work done by AWOL. Although its planners note that…

“A certain amount of iteration and even manual curation of data is likely to be necessary.”

Indeed. A vision of ‘herding cats into a library, and then asking them to sit in neat rows’ springs instantly to mind. If it were me, I’d consider skipping past the years of fiddling with trying to make/align/cajole automated inputs which are ‘library science friendly’ from over 1,500 journals — and instead go straight to the crowd and their keyboards. Via outreach to Fiverr-like $5 gig-workers, especially to needy scholars in places like Bangladesh1 and Africa, to do the few months of manual keyboard bashing required to make such a catalogue totally comprehensive.

What would the cost of that be? Well, at $10 per manual input of data/links on 50 articles, adding AWOL’s 50,000 articles into an OJS setup… that’s a piffling $10,000 and would have a usefully-searchable catalogue done in a few months. I’m assuming an OJS installation can scale to provide a unified mirror for the TOCs/abstracts/metadata of 1,500+ journals, but perhaps Persee’s WooCommerce template system might scale better (as well as being much more elegant to look at). Then perhaps add another $5,000 for volleys of curator-directed $10 gigs to ’round up the strays’, and to get second-opinion proofreading and error-correction.

Of course, AWOL’s posts sometime list volumes alone rather than volumes + articles, so there would be a certain amount of additional build-out and extra cost beyond the initial scooping of AWOL into catalogue form. But that might not cost a great deal extra on top of the initial $15k. Even with management and web-hosting costs the v1.0 version of the catalogue could probably all be done very comprehensively for less than $30,000. A small Foundation, a Kickstarter, or even a private consortium of 60 classics professors (x $500 each) should be able to easily raise that.

1. A skilled Bangladeshi purchasing and inventory clerk, a job which seems an apt comparison for data entry, currently earns an average of around $250 U.S. per month. A Bangladeshi teacher earns about $180 per month. Assuming a carefully-done entry of data and links on 50 articles (paying $10) per day, over 28 days such work would pay a needy scholar a good local monthly wage of $280.