Evolving Conversations on Open Access: Oysters and Adventures at AAA | EPIC
"The 2014 American Anthropological Association meetings for me consisted of a long and occasionally ranty (on my part) conversation about Open Access publishing. My conversations at the 2013 meetings in Chicago around OA hinted at high levels of anxiety and also misinformation among academics in anthropology about what OA is, what is at stake, what it might look like, and the impact it might have on their professional success. I had hoped that in the course of a year those negative feelings would shift a bit, especially with the relatively high-visibility experiments in OA at Cultural Anthropology, and HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory (the latter is both a journal and entering into an experiment in monograph publishing with University of Chicago Press). The conversations I witnessed in DC this year did little to assure me that anxiety levels have lowered. From the lament of faculty who do not see how OA publishing can be peer-reviewed or prestigious, to publishers who wish that academics would stop pretending that they can be publishers, to graduate students who are being warned away from OA publishing with lists of “predatory publishers,” the swirl of anxiety and lack of information about what OA publishing can (and does) actually look like persists. I even saw this in the SCA panel on Open Access publishing (I commented on my meeting twitterstream in this post on my own blog), where, despite practical experience in what OA is like, there were persistent worries about the technical aspects of publishing that were objectively difficult to pick up quickly. This set of worries co-exists with a conviction that OA is the ethical thing to do ... So rather than struggle to come up with an OA model from whole cloth (as some continue to think they must), I’d love to see anthropologists (cultural anthropologists in particular) collaborate with other fields in the drive to more and better OA publishing models for our field. While Cultural Anthropologyand HAU are moving forward, their experiments do not give smaller journals with fewer resources much hope that they can do it, too. Even if they offer their expertise (as Cultural Anthropology has done), more concrete suggestions for what could be done, and the variety of models that are out there, are needed if we are to hope to convince worried smaller sections within the AAA that OA is feasible for them, too. In addition to Cultural Anthropology and HAU, other examples within anthropology exist, such as The Journal of Caribbean Archaeology. Models outside of anthropology abound; the PLOS journals in particular are an intriguing possibility for consolidating the infrastructure of OA publishing in a way that could allow the journals of smaller sections not just to persist but actually to gain visibility and readership ..."