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Open access anthropology

In advance of the American Anthropological Association annual meeting, a group has put together a call stop charging for access to anthropological research. From the group’s wiki:

Scholarly societies are in crisis, and the AAA is among them. Dwindling revenues from sales of AAA Journals are among the causes, and if we don’t staunch the bleeding now, we are warned, there will be nothing left to give.

How has the AAA gotten to a point where its solvency seems to be based solely on the sales of our scholarly work? Work that has already been paid for by public and private granting agencies which we pay registration fees to present at conferences organized by the scholarly society we pay membership fees to join? Why must we also charge our readers?

Recently, the AAA publicly voiced its opposition to Federal Legislation that would require federally funded research to be freely available to the people who paid for it: citizens. This public opposition is clearly not in the interest of AAA members — and the AnthroSource Steering Committee has publicly said as much, proposing a range of initiatives to make our collective work more accessible. For this criticism, the ASSC was dissolved.

Clearly, something needs to change.

1) we need a solid open access policy to make anthropological research widely available;

2) we need a more transparent financial arrangement between the association and its members;

3) we need a form of financial sustainability that does not compromise our ability to disseminate our research.

There’s more here and updates here.

Access to scientific work is a scarcity that now is artificial. It’s bad for American science and disastrous for global science…and since there all science is global, it’s just plain disastrous for science.

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