Accessing “Hidden” Analysis on Afghanistan

I have been searching journal article databases and directories in preparation for another edition of the bibliography. For 2014 there are many new and valuable articles on Afghanistan. Some of them are very relevant to the current situation and would likely be of interest to those who work in government, international organisations, NGOs, military, journalism, etc… Unfortunately, many of these analytical articles are hiding behind some very steep pay walls.

I’ve picked out an interesting selection and provided a link plus some info on how much you would have to pay to read these articles (the price is to read one single article):

Nick Miszak & Alessandro Monsutti, “Landscapes of power: local struggles and national stakes at the rural-urban fringe of Kabul, Afghanistan,” The Journal of Peasant Studies, Volume 41, Issue 2 (2014). Link. ($39.00)

Kathleen Collins, “The Limits of Cooperation: Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the New Silk Road,” Asia Policy, Number 17 (January 2014). Link. ($4.95)

Shane A. Smith, “Afghanistan after the Occupation: Examining the Post-Soviet Withdrawal and the Najibullah Regime It Left Behind, 1989–1992,” Historian, Volume 76, Issue 2 (2014). Link. (Unknown $$$)

Rhodante Ahlers et al., “Ambitious development on fragile foundations: Criticalities of current large dam construction in Afghanistan,” Geoforum, Volume 54 (July 2014). Link. ($19.95)

Julien Mercille, “Beyond Swat: history, society and economy along the Afghanistan-Pakistan frontier,” Central Asian Survey, Volume 33, Issue 1 (2014). Link. ($39.00)

Sumitha Narayanan Kutty, “Iran’s Continuing Interests in Afghanistan,” The Washington Quarterly, Volume 37, Issue 2 (2014). Link. ($39.00)

Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, “Informal Federalism: Self-Governance and Power Sharing in Afghanistan,” Publius, Volume 44, Issue 2 (2014). Link. (One day rental for $38.00)

Eric Jardine & Simon Palamar, “Numerous, Capable, and Well-Funded Rebels: Insurgent Military Effectiveness and Deadly Attacks in Afghanistan,” Terrorism and Political Violence (May 2014). Link. ($39.00)

Zubaidullo Ubaidulloev, “Afghanistan-Tajikistan Relations: Past and Present,” Asia-Pacific Review, Volume 21, Issue 1 (2014). Link. ($39.00)

As you can see, most of the articles cost nearly $40, and one absurdly wants to charge $38 for you to “rent” the article for 24 hours, an amount of money with which you could buy two books to keep forever. I will avoid a discussion of the ethics and economics of the academic publishing industry – as well as side-stepping the concerns of the scholars who produce this research. Instead, I’ll write about how to get these articles without paying for them. I won’t be paying $40 for an article that I may find is not useful for a number of possible reasons. Even if I know the article is good and I need it, I won’t be spending the money.

If you are at a university or a government institution with subscription access then getting these articles is not a problem. But if you aren’t, how can you get these articles? Here’s what to do:

1. First, simply google the article. The article may be posted online elsewhere as a service to those without subscription access.

2. Search for an earlier version. The author may have a draft posted online. Also, the article may be online as an earlier conference paper.

3. Do you know a university student at work or elsewhere? Ask them to grab the article for you. If they are at a large western university, then they will likely have access. Interns usually have this online access.

4. Ask for a copy on Twitter or Facebook (“Anybody have access to Article X?”). This usually works. People are helpful.

5. Finally, send an email to the author and ask for a PDF. They are usually glad to send you a copy (they get no share of revenue from the publishers). Of course, there are some professors who ignore emails from their own grad students, so there are no guarantees of a response…

There is some great analysis out there, you just sometimes need to work a bit to get your hands on it.

 

 

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