How Anthropology & Aging became Open-Access: some thoughts on transitions and trajectories | Association for Anthropology and Gerontology
" ... If you are like me, you expect to be able to access important news, thoughtful essays, and even high-quality academic articles instantly and effortlessly as your curiosity leads you. I expect my students to be able to do the same when they are writing papers or considering research projects (sometimes we do this together as we brainstorm). With my academic affiliation I can access a lot more than most people, but even then, I always manage to find dead-ends, blocked by some pesky paywall. In these cases I will usually do what my students do, take down the citation for another time, and wander back to the free stuff. And why not? Lately the free stuff, not only in anthropology, but in aging studies as well, has been really top notch. It may have once been the case that digital journals lacked the clout and the credentials to be taken seriously, but open-access sites like Anthropology of This Century and HAU: Journal of Contemporary Ethnography not only have contributors and editorial boards that include some of the most prominent anthropologists in the world, but they have embraced the potential of new media, creating attractive, interactive formats with unique content. (I have included links to examples of open-access digital journals in anthropology and aging studies below) The scholarly digital publishing wave is exciting, and as a small, non-profit run, niche publication like our journal, it allows us to get our work out into the world and have a greater impact on both the field of aging studies, and on the lives of older adults ... Encouraged by this momentum, AAQ made its first push to into the current of digital publishing at the AAGE business meeting in 2012. In my report, I argued that the Open Journal Systems (OJS) platform or something very similar would make us more accessible through directories and searches, and as a result help us attract authors and AAGE members. While there was still concern within AAGE that full open-access for AAQ would result in member desertion, the idea of updating our online presence gained some ground, and through discussions in the first half of 2013, AAGE launched its new website. The new website provided an easier framework for publishing AAQ, and made it more attractive, interactive, and accessible. It looked the way it should look if one were searching for an online article. Since no member filter was set up on the site yet, the content, including AAQ would be accessible to non-members as well. This provided, somewhat by chance, a nice test run for the open-access idea. In the fall of 2013, as the Society for Cultural Anthropology was celebrating their open-access move at the AAA meeting in San Francisco, I submitted an AAQ annual report recommending that we team up with University Library System and the University of Pittsburgh and make it happen for AAGE. ULS and Pitt would not only host the site, but help us design, maintain, index, and promote it ..."