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Why the AAA Needs Gold Open Access

Boellstorff, Tom

American Anthropologist, September 2012, Vol.114(3), pp.389-393 [Rivista Peer Reviewed]

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  • Titolo:
    Why the AAA Needs Gold Open Access
  • Autore: Boellstorff, Tom
  • Descrizione: AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST FROM THE EDITOR Why the AAA Needs Gold Open Access Tom Boellstorff Editor-in-Chief TURNING POINTS T his, my next-to-last “From the Editor” piece as Editor- in-Chief of American Anthropologist, represents one of the strongest statements I will make during my editorship. To minimize misinterpretations to the greatest degree possible, I wish to summarize my argument at the outset: (1) Based on my five years of experience as AA editor, developments in the world of academic publishing, and what I have learned from valued colleagues, I have come to a turning point in my thinking—one that I feel reflects a broader turning point in scholarly commu- nication. I now believe strongly that the AAA should terminate its current contract with Wiley-Blackwell (hereafter WB) when it expires on December 31, 2017 (although as I note below, that may not mean ending our relationship with WB altogether). Begin- ning January 1, 2018, AAA journals should be “gold” open access, meaning that all content should be freely accessible online via interoperable, standards-based platforms. (2) There are three primary reasons why this transi- tion to gold open access is imperative, reasons that are simultaneously ethical, political, and intellectual. First, there is a fundamental contradiction between the often-repeated goal of making anthropology more public and relevant on the one hand and the lack of open access on the other hand. Second, there is an incompatibility between the broad interest in transna- tionalizing anthropology and the lack of open access. Third, it is wrong for any academic journal to be based on a model where the unremunerated labor of schol- ars supports corporate profits. I see no way that the current subscription-based model can be modified so as to adequately address these concerns. (3) Despite how busy we all are and despite the bewil- dering range of issues involved, anthropologists need to take a leadership role in working together to ad- dress these challenges of publishing and open access. Although AAA and WB staff have often been at the van- guard of innovative thinking in regard to these prob- lems, it is both proper and fair that anthropologists be central to the conversation. (4) We need to work creatively to make AAA journals gold open access in a sustainable manner that provides sufficient resources for these publications. I will now expand on these four key points. GOLD OPEN ACCESS AS THE GOAL When I became AA editor in June 2007, the AAA was final- izing its agreement with WB and thus played no role in this decision (see Kelty et al. 2008). 1 In many ways, working with WB has been a boon. Revenues have been stabilized, but there have been other benefits, including new strate- gies for marketing. WB has also supported many forms of open access. For instance, all content more than 35 years old is freely available, 2 although this only benefits journals that have been publishing for at least 35 years and can create the impression that anthropological research is dated (see Boellstorff 2009:3; Golub 2008). However, as many observers have long noted, true “gold” open access is not a goal under the existing framework between the AAA and WB (see, e.g., Golub 2007; Kamrani 2007). Instead, the current arrangement is a “green” open access model in which authors can circulate a postprint—“a manuscript that has been revised by an author in the wake of peer-review and acceptance by a journal” (Jackson 2011; see Suber 2010). Green open access is less than ideal for many reasons, including the confusion engendered by mul- tiple versions of a article in circulation, as well as the lack of access to articles in the context of an entire journal issue. As a result, but particularly for the reasons I discuss below, we should work to move all AAA journals to a gold open access model. In doing so we would align ourselves with the growing movement in other disciplines to ensure full open access and challenge the role of corporate publishers in controlling the dissemination of scholarly research (see, e.g., Gray 2012). 3 The original five-year contract with WB has been renewed for another five years, until December 31, 2017. Ideally the transition to gold open access could happen earlier, but the current arrangement provides us c 2012 by the American Anthropological AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, Vol. 114, No. 3, pp. 389–393, ISSN 0002-7294, online ISSN 1548-1433. Association. All rights reserved. DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2012.01440.x
  • Fa parte di: American Anthropologist, September 2012, Vol.114(3), pp.389-393
  • Soggetti: Anthropology
  • Identificativo: ISSN: 0002-7294 ; E-ISSN: 1548-1433 ; DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2012.01440.x

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