Update 16 April 2012: Please see American Anthropological Association 2012 Elections – Candidates on Open Access for statements from current AAA Executive Board candidates.
Back in 13 January 2012, anthropologists on Open Access asked if the American Anthropological Association might disavow the research works act. As Jason Baird Jackson put it: “The current moment provides a perfect, high profile opportunity to express this change of stance and to repair some of the damage done to the association’s reputation in the context of the scholarly communication debates of the past five years.”
In a follow up on 17 January, Alex Golub stated The question is not ‘does’ but ‘can’: “Is there some sort of institutional structure and decision making system at work within the AAA that is actually capable of deciding something in the name of the organization and then publishing it?”
Somewhat ironically, in a letter dated 12 January but recently made available as public commentary, the AAA was capable of deciding something in the name of the organization–against open access mandates.
Below a collection of anthropology blog reactions, several of which include round-ups.
American Anthropological Association Changes Opposition to Open Access – Plus a Proposal to Do More, Daniel Lende
If I were to improve the Executive Board statement, I would have liked to have seen a stronger commitment to increasing access to anthropological research, rather than just highlighting the diversity vs. sustainability dynamic. More explicit support for getting our research out to multiple publics, and ensuring that the communities where we do our research have access to results, would also have been welcome. . . . I propose we combine all book reviews done across the AAA journals into one digital platform – AAA Book Reviews. That has a nice ring to it.
Another World is Possible: Open Folklore as Library-Scholarly Society Partnership, Jason Baird Jackson
Libraries and scholarly societies now have a customer-to-business relationship and it is one that is growing ever more strained as commercial publishers become central partners in many scholarly society publishing programs. I evoked the alter-globalization motto Another World is Possible in my title because I wanted to suggest that the course that we are on is not the only one available to us. I believe, on the basis of a lot of time spent over the past five years with university librarians around the Midwestern U.S., that the research library community would much rather work with scholarly societies collaboratively in the shared real and digital spaces in which scholars and librarians (and students) already labor together rather than engage antagonistically in a neoliberal marketplace that has been shaped by the business practices pioneered by firms such as Elsevier, Springer and (yes) Wiley-Blackwell. Open Folklore is just one of many university-scholarly society partnerships that are exploring how to make this alternative framework real.
American Anthropological Association keeps it from the people
May I offer an alternative view of this problem? I suggest that the closed access policy has contributed to the irrelevance of AAA journals. Nobody outside the AAA membership notices when papers of note are published there. The AAA journals, including American Anthropologist have effectively cut themselves off from the rest of the academic world.
Open Access, AAA and the dilemma of scholarly communication in a digital world, Donna Lanclos
I think that the way forward can’t actually be thought up by asking anyone (including AAA membership), “What do you want the future of scholarly publishing to look like?” Because you can’t know what you don’t know.
Open Access: la rivolta contro gli editori e l’American Anthropological Association, Moreno Tiziani
Continuando a parlare di crisi, di spread, di sacrifici, incidenti nautici e inciuci politici, i media nostrani si stanno perdendo una delle più grandi proteste che si siano mai viste nel settore scientifico.
SSCI and Open Access, Kerim Friedman
To keep my job I have to strive to publish a certain minimum of articles in SSCI publications, after which I will have the freedom to publish elsewhere if I please. I’m sharing this so that OA advocates can be more aware of some of the constraints scholars in other countries might face in submitting work to their journals.
Open Access Anthropology, Jeremy Trombley
We are the one discipline that truly works with people (borrowing from Ingold). How can we honestly continue that tradition if our publications are hidden from view and locked behind university library system? . . . As an up and coming academic, I’m willing to put my career on the line and promise to only publish in open access journals.
HAU and the future of anthropological communication, pt. II, Alex Golub
We need to not just notice open access publications, and just resolve to cite them, we need to read them and talk about them: the key activity that comes between these two moments. The key to publicizing open access scholarship is to make it part of the conversation.
How do we mobilize anthropologists to support open access?, Kerim Friedman
What can we do to make anthropologists care about open access? To make them care what the AAA says about open access?
AAA Takes Public Stand against Open Access, Daniel Lende
This statement from the Association that canceled an annual meeting to stand in solidarity with the striking workers of the conference hotel? This statement from an Association whose members have fought and fought these past decades to get better recognition of indigenous rights? This statement from an Association that consistently offers one of the few prominent public critiques of the neoliberal model?
This statement stinks.
AAA, AIA, and Open Science, Kristina Kilgrove
It’s problematic that the AAA doesn’t recognize the problems that many grad students have accessing published research. It shows that, as an organization, they are out of touch with the growing body of not just scholars-in-training, but also adjuncts and independent researchers. I support open science, and I encourage you to do the same.
This post also includes a link to the statement by the Archaeological Institute of America along with links to some of the reactions from archaeology-specific blogs.
News: AAA Response about Public Access to Scholarly Publications, Ryan Anderson
Take the time to check out the comments, which you can download as a PDF and share with your friends and colleagues (just an idea). Comments? Thoughts?
American Anthropological Association joins the dark side of the force, Michael E. Smith
It is one thing to complain about a professional association that is inefficient or clueless or off-base about some things. But the situation is really bad when the leadership goes over to the dark side of the force, making scholars ashamed of being anthropologists.