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Resource Development Committee Launches the Anthropology Document Portal

Today’s guest blog post is by AAA member, Robert Hahn. Hahn is a committee member of the Resource Development Committee and chair of the Gray Literature subcommittee.

Thanks to generous donations of AAA members to the Resource Development Committee, the AAA has launch an Anthropology Document Portal that will allow anthropologists to archive published and unpublished writings on the electronic storage facilities of the Social Science Research Network, a well-established digital warehouse.  Further notice of how this archive will work has been published in this month’s Anthropology News.  The anthropology section of SSRN, Anthropology and Archaeology Research Network will allow anthropologists to access difficult-to-find publications of colleagues and will provide non anthropologists new access to indexed, searchable anthropological writings.

The SSRN anthropology portal is the first of two projects of the RDC “Gray Literature” subcommittee that has focused on expanding access to hard-to-know-about-and-find anthropological and related literature.  The second project, currently in development, is a set of anthropology-related web links on the AAA resource page that will facilitate member use of the “gray literature” not published or indexed in usual book and journal sources, but available on government and NGO websites, e.g., the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the World Bank.  These projects should build awareness and access to anthropological research and knowledge within and beyond the discipline.

The RDC is chaired by Louise Lamphere, the Gray Literature subcommittee by Robert Hahn; other subcommittee members are TJ Ferguson, Shirley Fiske, and Oona Schmid (AAA Liaison).

Gray Is The New Black in Scholarly Literature

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).

What will the Anthropology and Archaeology Resource Network do?

The AARN will give anthropology scholars access to distribute their technical reports, gray literature, preprints, and other scholarly contributions that might not have other outlets to become widely accessible and distributed across disciplines. The goals of the network are to help anthropological ideas and data be widely distributed.

How will it help me?

With AARN, you can create your own account and author page to publish your work – making it free and accessible to everybody. While the research is not peer-reviewed in the traditional sense, at SSRN each work goes through three layers of review to ensure the quality of scholarly discourse, the appropriate classification and the objectives of the specific network are met. Once your work is uploaded and reviewed it receives a digital object identifier (DOI) and a permanent URL for easy reference.

You can also utilize AARN to conduct tailored searches to find what you are looking for swiftly without wading through hundreds of unrelated resources that traditional search tools provide. The cross-discipline tags permit work to be shared in non-traditional; however, relevant fields.

Why Social Science Resource Network to do this?

AAA partnered with SSRN in part because it is the leading digital repository of scholarly work and ranked in the top 10 publications by Google Scholar. As scholars evolve in the digital era, the Resource Development Committee is ensuring that AAA members have the needed tools to successfully share their grey literature in a reputable, open and freely accessible network.

The contract has just been signed this week and 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.

AAA Publishing Program – FAQs

Have you found yourself wondering what steps AAA has taken to facilitate access to its publications, if there’s a plan for the future of the AAA publishing program and how U.S. federal legislation may impact the program? Check out the new Publications Frequently Asked Questions  page on the AAA website.

What steps has the AAA taken to facilitate access to its publications?
While still in the process of examining optimal scenarios for ensuring the broadest possible access to publications and the sustainability of a diverse range of publications, the AAA has already taken the following steps:

  • Sliding scale membership:  Access to AAA’s digital, online literature is available to individuals on a fair and reasonable sliding scale annual fee structure that ranges from $30 to $306 (http://www.aaanet.org/membership/membershipcategories.cfm).
  • Free Access: Access to AAA’s digital, online literature is available free of charge to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges, and qualifying institutions from less developed countries (http://www.aaanet.org/issues/AAA-Gives-Back.cfm).  In addition, AAA participates in four philanthropic programs to provide free access to our content in under-resourced countries. These programs are administered by agencies with presence on the ground in these areas, such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the International Council for Science.
  • “Ungating” back issues of journals: Access to back issues of AAA’s journal American Anthropologist (AA) is available free of charge 35 years and longer after publication. That means that in 2012, all back issues of AA are available free of charge from 1888 to 1977; in 2013, the year 1978 will be “ungated.” Sections are encouraged to follow the same plan. To date, three sections have agreed. CFPEP is charged with assessing the success and costs of this arrangement.
  • Anthropology News online is open access for two months before content is gated and archived within AnthroSource.
  • Grey Literature Hub. With funds raised by the AAA Research Development Committee (RDC), AAA endorsed and is working towards the establishment of an “Anthropology” category on the online open access Social Science Research Network (SSRN) for the purpose of disseminating grey literature, anthropological content that is otherwise not available.
  • Author Rights and Permissions: In the author agreement for AAA journals, the author reserves the right (among other rights) to post his/her article on the author’s personal or institutional website, and to post the article on free, discipline-specific public servers. Because of these clauses, AAA’s author agreement is rated green by SHERPA/RoMEO, a project designed to help facilitate green open access.

What is the AAA plan for the future of the publishing program? How does open-access (OA) fit into it?
CFPEP is evaluating alternative publishing models that support broad dissemination of knowledge (including but not limited to open access) while taking into consideration discipline- and subdiscipline-specific concerns, the needs of a diverse anthropological constituency as well as AAA’s  commitment to supporting smaller publications, to ensuring a sustainable publishing program and to the financial viability of the association and its sections. CFPEP’s process includes discussions with sections, members, staff and relevant consultants to develop five– and ten–year plans for the future of AAA’s electronic and print publications. It will make recommendations to the ACC through 2012 and 2013.

For background information, see CFPEP annual reports (http://www.aaanet.org/about/Annual_Reports/committee_reports.cfm; see also http://www.aaanet.org/membership/CFPEP-sectionliaisonreport-Apr2008_appendix.pdf; http://www.aaanet.org/membership/ForFurtherConsiderationCFPEPReport122008.pdf; and Waterston in Anthropology News October 2009: 21).

What is the AAA position on U.S. federal legislation that may have an impact on the publishing program?
The AAA is particularly concerned by any proposed legislation that aims to limit dissemination of research, and that may disproportionately protect private over public interests. At the same time, its role is to be vigilant about the specific needs and interests of our publications program, anthropology as a whole, and individual anthropologist-authors.  Acknowledging the Association’s commitment to “a publications program that disseminates the most current anthropological research, expertise, and interpretation to its members, the discipline, and the broader society,” but also the need for a sustainable publication strategy, and building on the Association’s support for a variety of publishing models, the AAA opposes any Congressional legislation which, if it were enacted, would impose a blanket prohibition against open access publishing policies by all federal agencies.

To whom should I address questions regarding the AAA publications program?
You can contact AAA Director of Publishing Oona Schmid, who will direct you to the right person if she cannot answer your question herself.

What to learn more about the AAA Publishing Program? Click here.


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