This article from the editor of the American Anthropologist discusses OA and the possibility of the journal becoming OA and what may make the society decide to stay a traditionally published journal or become a gold open access journal.
"In recent years, increasing numbers of scholarly journals have become “gold open access,” in which all content past and present is freely available online. Tom Boellstorff, my predecessor as AA editor-in-chief, advocated in one of his last from-the-editor columns (Boellstorff 2012:389) that the American Anthropological Association (AAA) should “work creatively to make … [their] journals gold open access in a sustainable manner that provides sufficient resources for these publications.” When I read this column, I wondered how this would work. Although Tom acknowledged that there would be challenges in “implementing an alternative model to subscription-based financing,” he nonetheless said that “anthropologists are a resourceful lot” and saw a need for an expanded discussion of funding possibilities for open access (Boellstorff 2012:391).
In my first from-the-editor column (Chibnik 2013), I observed that many potential readers of AA, especially those living outside the United States, lacked access to both recent and older copies of the journal. I briefly noted that there were complex logistical and financial obstacles to providing the entirely open access that many of us would consider desirable. I promised that I would say more about this important topic at unspecified later date. This seems like an opportune time to do so. The prestigious AAA-sponsored journal Cultural Anthropology (CA) is now publishing gold open access. Furthermore, there has been extensive discussion within the AAA about both the financial sustainability of the association's journals and open-access possibilities.1
I now think that gold open access publication is unlikely to be feasible in the near future for AA. The ideas that I present here are mine alone and should not be regarded as reflecting the positions of either the AAA or other editors and staff associated with AA.