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Those of you who share my interest in Achaemenid studies will have noticed changes to the very important Achemenet website, partially good (it now works without Adobe Flash player) and partially bad (old links to the transcriptions of Achaemenid tablets by Francis Joannès, Caroline Waerzeggers, and other scholars have been broken and PDFs replaced with HTML, so that a citation in one of my forthcoming publications is already obsolete). For several years Achemenet was hosted by the Musée du Louvre. On Friday 19 February, the editors announced that since November 2015 the Louvre has refused to let them determine Achemenet policy or continue to support their open-access journal ARTA and series of monographs Persika, and that they are therefore ending their connection with the Louvre and moving Achemenet to the ARSCAN laboratory in France.

I quote their letter below without comment except for glossing a few names.

Achemenet-news (February 19 2016) from Pierre Briant

The Achemenet program (including colloquiums, the ARTA journal online, the Persika collection [a series of monographs- ed.], the publication of corpus [of cuneiform texts, artwork, etc.], the website www.achemenet.com, etc.) was founded by Pierre Briant in 2000 and developed at the Collège de France between 2000 and 2012. During the summer of 2012 (at the time when Pierre Briant retired) a convention was signed between the Collège de France and the Louvre Museum, which allowed for the transfer of the program to the department of ‘Antiquités Orientales’ at the Museum (AO).

Until October 2015, the program developed as planned, within the framework of cooperation between the department (AO) and the signatories within the editorial committee of Achemenet, which expanded to include two conservators from the AO. In October 2015, the new direction of the Louvre Museum and of the AO modified their policies and decided to revoke the 2012 convention. As a consequence, since the beginning of November 2015 and for the last four months the expert-researchers have been incapacitated to participate in the development of the program. Therefore the announcements published online on achemenet.com since that date, no longer represent decisions made by the Achemenet researchers. The same applies for the organisation of a colloquium on Achaemenid Anatolia on February 29 at the Louvre.

Following letters of protests from the researchers sent to the director of the Museum, the latter has ‘offered’ two options to the scientific team:

–first, to remain at the Louvre but losing the capacity to determine Achemenet policy, and losing two crucial and well-known resources, since Persika and ARTA are judged by the Director not complying with the Louvre policy;
–or second, to leave the Louvre with the entire program.

Coerced and forced, the scientific researchers have opted for the second option, the only viable solution to guarantee the independence of scientific research on the short and long term. This decision was communicated to the director of the Louvre Museum with a letter dated to January 12 2016. He acknowledged the decision with a reply on February 4 2016.

Hence, in the coming weeks the entire program will be transferred to the ARSCAN laboratory (Paris-Nanterre) directed by Francis Joannès (http://www.mae.u-paris10.fr/arscan/). Once the situation stabilizes, the new details of the program will be communicated to the scientific community.

From today onwards, please be reassured that ARTA and Persika will continue to remain well and alive. Any article or book proposal can be addressed to Pierre Briant (p.briant@wanadoo.fr) or to Damien Agut (damien.agut@gmail.com), and the same applies for any communication about the Achemenet program that can be sent to any of those two addresses.

The signatories would like to graciously thank the international scientific community for its involvement and active participation in the past years, and also thank its members in advance for their support during the difficult times that the Achemenet program is currently undergoing.

Signatories: Pierre Briant; Damien Agut; Rémy Boucharlat; Francis Joannès; Kevin Tréhuédic.

Further Reading: Linguists are involved in a struggle to control the journal Lingua, whose editorial board resigned in protest at high subscription fees and founded the new journal Glossa (link).