Category Archives: OA Journal News

Our Circulatory System (or Folklore Studies Publishing in the Era of Open Access, Corporate Enclosure and the Transformation of Scholarly Societies)

Just a note to note that I have made public an essay titled “Our Circulatory System (or Folklore Studies Publishing in the Era of Open Access, Corporate Enclosure and the Transformation of Scholarly Societies).” The piece began with a series of posts published on this site in 2008 and was a talk given at the symposium “The Form of Value in Globalized Traditions” organized by the Center for Folklore Studies at the Ohio State University in 2009. It is long (about 5000 words) and can be found on my website here:

Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity

Readers of Open Access Anthropology will want to check out the announcements for (and press coverage of) the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity that was just announced by Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT and Berkeley.

I just finished speaking to Inside Higher Education about it for a story that they will run tomorrow.  I had not yet read the “OA Compact” statement yet, which added to my nerves about weighing in on it (via a phone interview). I may or may not need to explain myself after the story runs.  Having now read the core documents, I can just state at this stage that I very much support open access and I believe in new kinds of university (college, museum, etc.) investments in it.  I believe that different ways of spending on scholarly communication can change the publishing landscape in good ways, including equitable ways.  My sense of the equities that matter here include not just equity between modes of publication but also social justice issues.  This new development could lead to good of many kinds, but my own preference would be for institutional investments at the journal (or journal program) level rather than at the article/author level.

This scheme will make the literature more accessible to readers, which is a wonderful thing, but in fields like anthropology and folklore studies, where authors can make very important contributions without being attached to major western research universities, it may increase barriers to authorship in unhelpful ways.  It may also, by handing private for-profit publishers a new business model and the cash payments to go with it, continue the current arrangement in which large commercial firms lay claim to ever larger amounts of the commonwealth–overtly in the form of university-paid page charges, and covertly in the form of research-derived IP (often publicly funded), uncompensated editorial work, uncompensated peer-review, unpaid-for office space, equipment, etc. and freely provided graduate assistant-based editorial staff support.

This announcement is big and dramatic.  As with the green OA mandates, it represents a step by some major universities to change the terms under which our publishing system works.  It is a major move for OA.  I like that.  I hope that it prompts renewed discussion of the many big issues at stake.

PS:  Thankfully the statement’s architects acknowledge that a minority of gold OA journals are author-pays journals (contra the AAA and its associates). If the scheme works, I suspect that most gold OA journals will move towards author-pays.  This is one place where I agree with several AAA-sanctioned voices.  The growth of author-pays models could really harm existing authors in anthropology and folklore studies and could make the inclusion of as-yet-unheard from voices that much more difficult.  If this is the path that we wind up taking toward gold OA, we will have to work really hard to build and fund a subsidy (or waiver) system sufficient for the inclusion of the vast range of people (=potential authors) who will not have access to institutional author-fee support.

10 Publishers Moving in the Right Direction

There is way more relevant news from the world of scholarly communications than any of us can keep up with.  Thankfully Open Access News does an amazing job of flagging tons of important items for our consideration. A recent bit of news that I was especially glad to see was the pro-OA statement offered by the directors of ten North American university presses.  These presses affirmed a collaborative, not-for-profit, public-interest position that contrasts strongly with that of the AAP and the AAUP.

I do not know all of these presses equally well, but I would note that the University Press of Florida and the University of Michigan Press have important histories in anthropology monograph publishing and that Wayne State University Press is crucial to folklore studies. The University Press of New England (via Wesleyan University Press) is central in ethnomusicology. This statement is one more reason for scholars to think favorably about these presses when looking for publishing partners.

Thank you University Press of Florida, University of Akron Press, University Press of New England, Athabasca University Press, Wayne State University Press, University of Calgary Press, The University of Michigan Press, The Rockefeller University Press, Penn State University, and University of Massachusetts Press.

PS: Where does your University Press stand?

UPDATE:  See the Inside Higher Education story here.

A New Open Access Anthropology Journal

A new birth of an OAA Journal is a great contribution that Angels made on Open Access Anthropology Day 2009

As Angels wrote,

I applied for ISSN on Open Access Anthropology Day, as a way to mark the day, and I got a response from the ISSN team the next morning.

The outcome of this step was the Journal of Anthropology Reviews: Dissent and Cultural Politics. Its first issue will be available in February 2010. And, it will be published twice a year in February and October. The aim of the journal as stated on its homepage is

to produce an open access anthropology review aimed at the academic community at large that analyses responses to cultural politics with reflective, incisive articles in textual and non-textual formats.

Also, the description of the journal as written on its homepage goes as following

Dissent and Cultural Politics is an european and international, open access anthropology journal that analyses how cultural innovation, transnational and political issues underpin the character of relationality of global issues. In the analysis of cultural politics, the journal is interested in social responses to the future of culture in the
public domain in the age of globalisation -and within the altermodern period that is emerging after postmodernity. The reviews aim to look at the political intersections between culture and globalisation, and specifically, the way in which human relations are mediated through political voice and cultural innovation.The journal is inclusive of all types of submissions, working papers, research papers, pre peer-reviewed and reviewed publications, multimedia (including audio, video) and internet based data. The journal will be part of open access anthropology journals structured within a mediated website and forums.

You can check Angels post here and the journal’s homepage here

Big OA Journal Effort Underway in India

(cross-posted from

An ambitious gold open access journal publishing effort for folkloristics and neighboring fields (ethnomusicology, tribal studies, regional studies, and performance studies) is underway in India. The National Folklore Support Centre is using Open Journal Systems to host fourteen journals, both new and established. Some have been publishing for some time, others have launched with innaugural issues, others are announced but still in the works. The journal editorial offices seem to span India, with a diversity of editorial teams and research concerns.  See what the effort looks like at the NFSC portal, here. Congratulations to all involved.

Open Access Awards Presented at the AAA Meetings

While much of its blog work actually takes place on Savage Minds and elsewhere, I have a sense that OA advocates interested in what is happening in anthropology may occasionally check in here or have an RSS feed here. For such folks, I can note briefly the results of the recent Savage Minds OA awards, spearheaded by Chris Kelty and announced to a crowd of real life human beings in the lobby of the San Francisco Hilton on Saturday evening (11/22/2008) during the meetings of the American Anthropological Association.

Most Excellent Blog
Runner up:
Most Win: Culture Matters

Most Excellent OA Journal
Runner Up: Cultural Analysis
Most Win: Anthopology Matters

Most Excellent Blog or Journal that does not end in “Matters” (The Category formerly known as Most Excellent Unclassifiable Digital Thingamajob)
Runner Up: Digital Anthropology
Most Win: Neuroanthropology

For details, one can consult Savage Minds postings here, here, here, and here, as well as notes appearing on, Culture Matters, and Neuroanthropology.

(For the record, I am a small fish on Cultural Analysis‘ otherwise very distinguished editorial board and I am very proud that a journal bridging folklore studies and neighboring disciplines in the human sciences did so well in the voting. If you do not know the journal, check it out here.)