[Foundation-l] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (fwd)

phoebe ayers phoebe.wiki at gmail.com
Tue Apr 3 20:26:15 UTC 2007

The message below is about the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (
http://plato.stanford.edu/), an online freely-available reference work that
is expert-produced. It's supported by an "endowment" which is supported not
only by Stanford and an NEH matching grant but also funds contributed by
academic libraries as "membership dues", basically as a good-faith effort to
keep the project alive. (http://www.solinet.net/survey/sep.htm). It's an
interesting model and not one I've seen before. Their endowment goal is
$4,125,000 to cover their costs "in perpetuity"; I'd be interested to know
how they arrived at this number.

-- phoebe

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 09:37:56 -0500
From: Robert Michaelson <rmichael at NORTHWESTERN.EDU>
To: PAMNET at listserv.nd.edu
Subject: GENERAL: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Please excuse duplicate posting.

The article below, from SPARC enews, reminded me of recent postings about
Wikipedia, some of which questioned the viability of non-profit scholarly
Possibly there are science/engineering librarians who are not aware of the
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, a free online encyclopedia of the
highest standards (and, by the way, it has useful entries on philosophy and
history of science). The articles are signed, scholarly, and meet high
editorial standards; many of them are by famous scholars.  Instead of a
"subscription model", libraries, institutions, and individuals have been
asked to contribute toward an endowment fund which, it is anticipated, will
keep the Encyclopedia functioning in the future.
I look forward to the completion of SEP (and projected articles such as
"chemistry, philosophy of").

Bob Michaelson
Northwestern University Library
Evanston, Illinois 60208
rmichael at northwestern.edu

> Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
> http://plato.stanford.edu/
> The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, with significant help from the
> worldwide library community, is nearing its goal of raising a $4,125,000
> endowment, which would generate enough in appreciation and interest income
> to cover the SEP's expenses in perpetuity. To date, SEP has successfully
> secured $3,120,000 in funding commitments from a combination of sources:
> Stanford has nearly reached its goal, raising $1,122,000, with some large
> donations from donors outside academia who have backgrounds in philosophy,
> as well as contributions from many professional philosophers. The
> libraries have also made substantial progress, collectively contributing
> $1,505,455 in pledges. Counting the $500,000 in NEH matching funds, the
> libraries have made commitments totaling $2,005,455.
> The SEP still needs $1,000,000 in new commitments from the library
> community to reach its ultimate goal. Of the 120 libraries at institutions
> with Philosophy Ph.D. programs in the U.S. and Canada, 49 have committed
> the full amount requested ($15,000) to support the SEP and 18 have made a
> partial commitment.  SEP is requesting help to preserve open access to a
> resource that is used at universities across the globe hundreds of
> thousands times each week.
> SEPIA continues to collect membership dues from other libraries and
> library consortia worldwide. Learn more about SEPIA at
> To register your commitment with SOLINET, go to
> http://www.solinet.net/survey/sep.htm.
> For a list of libraries already committed to the project, see
> http://plato.stanford.edu/fundraising/commitments.html.

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