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The State of AAA’s Publishing Program

Calling all AAA members, “The State of AAA’s Publishing Program” is now available on the  Anthropology News website. Find out what is going on in the AAA publishing portfolio, the evaluation of intended and unintended consequences in adopting new publishing models in the future and the measures AAA’s Executive Board has taken to ensure financial sustainability in the publishing program.

In  the article, authors Alisse Waterston and Ed Liebow begin:

We’ve got some good news and some worrisome news about the state and future of AAA’s publishing program

The good news: At this time, publishing sections are financially healthy…. The worrisome news: Scholarly publishing is undergoing enormous change.

Profile in Publishing

The AAA publishing program operates in an ever-changing technological and market environment. The Executive Board (EB), an elected membership body charged with making decisions that tries to best represent the interests of AAA’s 38 sections (including 22 publishing sections) and its 11,000 members, takes seriously its charge to: (1) develop and maintain a diverse publishing portfolio; (2) make responsible, thoughtful decisions that support the long-term needs and interests of sections, members, and those who produce, access and reference anthropological knowledge and content; and (3) facilitate the adaptation of the publishing program to ongoing changes in publication conditions, promoting both sustainability of the publishing program and broadest possible dissemination of knowledge. At times, it is difficult to bring these multiple goals into agreement; our ideals don’t always match up with the competitive economic environment within which we all operate. AAA decisions involve balancing compromise in the context of real life contingencies and weighing consequences for the collective good.

But we are anthropologists, capable of understanding complexity. The publishing program is complicated, involving various players, 24 publications and sections of different size that produce and distribute a rich array of anthropological content in a way that does not break the bank of individual member households, sections, and AAA as a whole…

The authors look to the options of the publishing future:

CFPEP is currently evaluating alternative publishing models in a consultative process with AAA section leaders, editors, members, association officers, the EB and the AAA publishing director to develop five- and ten-year plans for AAA publishing, including but not limited to open access models…

Unanswered questions remain about how open access publishing might work for AAA, which represents a discipline distinct from others in terms of how, what and how much it publishes. The consultative process takes time to think through the consequences—intended and unintended—of such a significant transformation.

And identify the progress the AAA publishing program has made to meet the needs in this ever-changing technological and market environment:

The association has taken several specific steps towards opening up access to its publications in a way that balances fairness and equitability at the same time it makes financially responsible decisions. These steps include income-based membership dues; free access to qualifying institutions and under-resourced countries; green open access author access, among other policies (see next section). In the meantime, CFPEP and ACC continue to engage the consultative process, exploring, examining, discussing, and considering the state of AAA publishing and its future. Despite the difficulties and the obstacles, we feel a path has been cleared for AAA leadership to act responsibly while confronting challenges with open-mindedness, enthusiasm and optimism.

Get all the details by reading the entire article on the Anthropology News website.

Alisse Waterston is chair of the AAA Anthropological Communication Committee and professor of anthropology, John Jay College, City University of New York. Edward B Liebow is AAA treasurer and director of the Seattle office at Battelle Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation.

Haven’t clicked thru to read the article yet? Click here to read it now.


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