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All-digital open source book review tool available

AAA is thrilled to announce the availability of a freshly-updated “Objects for Review” workflow tool to transform book reviews. Using funds from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, AAA and Public Knowledge Project extended an object for review plugin included in its popular Open Journal Systems application. The original plugin, developed by PKP partners at Freie Universität Berlin, is free to use and available in recent versions of OJS (2.4.4+). The updated version will be released shortly under the same open source license.

Major updates to the Objects for Review support:

  • All-digital book review workflow. Digital versions can be made available via the plugin, reducing the carbon footprint from a print-centric process and eliminating the costs associated with packaging and mailing bound books to journal offices and then onto book reviewers.
  • Ease of use for participating publishers. With the help of feedback and testers from presses like Duke University Press, University Press of Colorado, and University of New Mexico Press, the software features an ONIX ingest and supports netGalley digital proofs.

Using this software means that simultaneous publication of reviews and reviewed books is now possible: Publishers can upload uncorrected page proofs; interested reviewers can potentially view these texts within days; and book reviews can potentially be published in tandem with book releases, thus sparking conversation, sales, and interactions with front list books.

AAA’s installation is called Anthropology Book Forum, under the editorship of Justin Shaffner. Participating publishers can upload any book for review that have published in 2015 or are forthcoming.

The Objects for Review program plugin may revolutionize book reviews, but the plugin supports a range of digital objects; journals who use the plugin could consider using the software to review digital photographs or digital music. For those interested in the updated plugin when it is available, please either follow the PKP blog http://pkp.sfu.ca/blog or send PKP an email pkp.contact@gmail.com.

Are You the Next Book Review Editor for American Anthropologist?

The American Anthropologist (AA) seeks applications for the position of book review editor. The AA, the longtime flagship publication of the American Anthropological Association, is one of the most influential and prestigious journals in the discipline. The AA publishes approximately 100 book reviews annually in all subfields of anthropology. The book review editor is responsible for choosing books to be reviewed and selecting reviewers.  The editor is responsible for overseeing the contents of reviews, but is not involved in copyediting. Although there is some flexibility in when the position would begin, preferred starting dates are July 1, 2012 or January 1, 2013.

The host institution of the book review editor must provide an office with space for books sent by publishers.  Some financial support for the office may be available from the American Anthropological Association, but at this time it is not known how much, if any, will be available. The current book review editor has the help of two graduate assistants working four hours a week year-round; the approximate cost for this is $8,000. An automated system has been developed to aid in the work flow associated with sending requests to potential reviewers and receiving reviews

Applicants should send a cover letter and a curriculum vitae to Michael Chibnik, the incoming editor-in-chief of the AA, by March 15, 2012.  The cover letter should outline the applicant’s qualifications, indicate a probable starting date, describe what kinds of support the host institution can provide, and state what kinds of additional support  with an estimated budget would be needed from the American Anthropological Association.  Cover letters, curriculum vitae, can be sent by email (michael-chibnik@uiowa.edu) or hard copy (Michael Chibnik, Department of Anthropology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242). Question about details of the position can be sent to the same addresses.


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