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Webinar on Publishing Alternatives

Join us and learn about three very different means of distributing information, creating community, and publishing. This webinar will be moderated by Hugh Jarvis, long-standing member of the publishing future committee and features the following speakers:

  • Matthew Gold, Associate Professor of English & Digital Humanities, and Chris Stein, Director of User Experience for the CUNY Academic Commons, will speak about CBOX, free community engagement software that plugs into WordPress, to support shared spaces for communities like MLA Commons and CUNY Academic Commons.
  • Amy Harper, Associate Professor of Anthropology and co-editor of Voices, whose journal runs at extremely low-costs and is self-published by its section, Association for Feminist Anthropology.
  • Brian Hole of Ubiquity Press, whose author-pays open access platform has converted several journals to this model, including Papers from the Institute of Archaeology.

Register to join us on Tuesday, January 21st at 12:00 pm, Noon, Eastern time zone.

Anthropology Weighs In On the Marriage Debate in New Public Journal

OpenAnthropology728x90_2Open Anthropology is the newest publication of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). It is a digital-only publication that will be provided to the public free of charge. This is the first AAA publication that uses responsive design and is readable on mobile devices, such as iPhones.

In providing this journal to the public, AAA is alerting its members and other interested audiences that it is committed to examining new approaches to journal publishing, and that some of these potential options include “open access” models for in-demand content.

In its inaugural issue, Open Anthropology editor Alisse Waterston (John Jay College, CUNY) curates AAA’s finest articles on marriage and other arrangements. In the issue’s ten articles and two book reviews, Waterston provides a cross-cultural sampling of the anthropological research on the subject. Waterston notes that in this issue, “Cutting through the nonsense thought and dangerous talk, anthropologists set the record straight on marriage and other arrangements.”

Content in Open Anthropology will be culled from the full archive of AAA publications, curated into issues, and will be freely available on the internet for a minimum of six months, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles. Each issue will be dedicated to topics of interest to the general public, and that may have direct or indirect public policy implications. “We hope that Open Anthropology will help make anthropology and anthropologists more visible outside the academy and expand our role in important social issues and policy discussions” says AAA President, Leith Mullings.

Open Anthropology is available at http://www.aaaopenanthro.org.

AAA’s Society for Cultural Anthropology Paves New Way For Anthropological Publishing Program


In its latest efforts to respond to today’s evolving publishing climate the American Anthropological Association (AAA) celebrates the decision by one of its most influential sections to undertake efforts to expand the way its signature journal  is made available to scholars, researchers and the general public.

In 2012 the AAA Executive Board invited its sections to submit creative publishing proposals. The Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA) responded with a proposal to transform Cultural Anthropology to an open access format. The plans, while still under development, will provide Cultural Anthropology at no charge to readers beginning in 2014.

While the publication will soon be available open access via Cultural Anthropology’s website, www.culanth.org, it will also remain available via AAA’s AnthroSource, the premier online portal serving the research, teaching and practicing needs of anthropologists.

AAA is very excited for the opportunity to test this format. This experiment will pave a path for the publishing program to learn best practices and responsible approaches towards a sustainable publishing model.

For additional details, please read the latest SCA press release.

AAA Releases Statement on OSTP memorandum

The U.S. President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently released a policy memorandum directing each Federal agency with over $100 million annually in research expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to federally funded research results. The American Anthropological Association applauds the OSTP’s collaboration-based approach to increasing access by working with the federal research funding agencies, and by encouraging these agencies to embrace the challenges and public interests that are unique to each field. The American Anthropological Association believes that when it comes to increasing access, it is highly appropriate to take into account the knowledge cycle, researchers who are not funded by the Federal Government, and the need to protect sensitive cultural data. Our members look forward to providing meaningful input over the next six months to the agencies’ plans to contribute to innovative breakthroughs through access to scientific data and research findings.

Analysis of the Publishing Program and its Future

The Committee on the Future of Print and Electronic Publishing (CFPEP) in conjunction with the AAA publishing staff just completed a year-long effort to canvass the program and its future. These inquiries were motivated by the recognition that the publishing program as it is currently configured is vulnerable to the changing environment for scholarly publishing. The results include 1) an analysis of AAA’s publishing program by an outside consultant, Raym Crow and 2) the summary of findings from the May 2012 publishing survey. Both documents and a cover memo are being released to AAA membership, in order to help the Association assess its current publishing model and suggest potential alternatives.

This research represents another effort in an ongoing conversation about the future of the publishing program, which has included two sessions at the AAA 2011 Montreal Annual Meeting (see: http://vimeo.com/album/1821564 and http://vimeo.com/album/1814558 to view presentations for which we received permission to record), and an October 2011 Anthropology News article that appeared in the “Association Business” section of the paper.

To access the cover memo, Crow’s report, and the survey findings, current AAA members may login and click on “My Information” (left-hand side). The findings appear under header “AAA Member Documents.” You may need to scroll down to view this area.

CFPEP and its parent committee, the Anthropological Communication Committee, and AAA publishing staff welcome suggestions, ideas, and proposals from any member and they may be submitted to Chelsea Horton of the AAA Publications Office (chorton@aaanet.org) by January 18, 2013.

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.

New Anthropology and Archaeology Resource Network

The Resource Development Committee raised funds to support AAA members and anthropologists in sharing their research faster and more efficiently. With donations for the Gray Literature Portal, AAA has partnered with the Social Science Resource Network (SSRN) to create a new tool – the Anthropology and Archaeology Resource Network (AARN).

Photo Courtesy of SSRN.

This summer AAA Director of Publishing, Oona Schmid met with SSRN President Gregg Gordon to discuss this new opportunity for anthropologists. Listen to their conversation to learn about how gray is the new black in scholarly literature.

AAA members will be able to utilize AARN by this fall. Stay tuned for more details on this exciting open access opportunity in the coming months.


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