February 2008: Open Access

5 thoughts on “February 2008: Open Access”

  1. If anthropologists are going to discuss OA in anthropology, they should read up on the literature of OA. The papers in the Focus section focus almost entirely on Gold OA – OA journals. It will take a long time for this to happen, whether through institutions like the AAA or for commercial publishers. But the Green OA path–self archiving peer-reviewed publications in institutional repositories–can be done immediately with many of the benefits of Gold OA.

    Why isn’t the AAA exploring this option? See Stevan Harnad’s papers and internet resources for more information:


    Harnad, Stevan
    2001 Six Proposals for Freeing the Refereed Literature Online: A Comparison. Ariadne 28. http://cogprints.org/1702/.

    2003 Online Archives for Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications. In International Encyclcopedia of Library and Information Science, edited by John Feather, and Paul Sturges. Routledge, London. http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/%7Eharnad/intpub.html.

    2003 Self-Archive Unto Others as Ye Would Have Them Self-Archive Unto You. Australian Higher Education Supplement. http://cogprints.org/3022/.

    With innovations like the Reprint button, problems with copyright can be addressed to make copyrighted articles available:


    I agree with Cross and the other commentators that the AAA needs to explore Green OA seriously, but in the meantime a Gold OA would accomplish the goals of getting peer-reviewed anthropological knowledge much more widely available.

  2. I just received my issue of AN in the mail, and was glad to see the discussion about ‘Open Access’. This is something that–as has already been mentioned–the people over at Savage Minds have been talking about for some time. I’m glad to see the AAA bringing more attention to this subject.

    I think that the idea of making the work and ideas of anthropologists more accessible is definitely the right way to be going. It is important to find ways of disseminating anthropological information outside of the academic world. While there are definitely certain complications with publishing on the internet, I think that it represents an incredibly rich venue for exploration.

    I’m also pleased that the AAA has created these blogs, which allow a much more interactive and dynamic conversation to take place among members–and anyone else who is interested in what anthropology is all about.

  3. Here are a few references/resources we decided to leave out of the print edition:

    For information on OA publishing and business models, visit Peter Suber’s very helpful website at http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm, and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition at http://www.arl.org/sparc/. For a great introduction for social scientists, listen/watch a presentation on OA at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/mediaberkman/category/open-source/ and scroll down to “Opening Up to Open Access: What Can Other Disciplines Learn from the Sciences” by Gavin Yamey, senior editor of PLoS Medicine, an OA journal ranked among the 5 “highest impact” medical journals.

    For information on current OA initiatives in anthropology, visit http://www.openaccessanthropology.org.

    For information on Creative Commons licensing, see http://www.creativecommons.org.

    To learn more about struggles over the institutional architecture of the knowledge economy: for background, see Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (2006); for the latest, see Knowledge Ecology International at http://www.keionline.org.

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