The good points I noted include:
- Lack of OA means lowered access to anthropological knowledge. The lack of OA for AAA journals means that people outside of anthropology, when looking for anthropological knowledge on the internet, are likely to bypass AAA journals and sources and find their information elsewhere. Anthropology as a discipline has done a horrible job over the years of getting its basic data and findings in front of the public and non-anthropological disciplines. Failure to embrace OA will just continue this poor track record into the future.
- The AAA needs to rethink not just OA, but its whole mission and organization in light of changes in the internet and publishing.
- Who are scholars working for? The AAA publications program has been subcontracted to Wiley-Blackwell, one of the largest commercial publishers. Lets look at the work involved in publishing, assuming that I publish an article in American Anthropologist:
- I do the research and writing for free. I give up time that I could devote to other activities (some of which actually earn money) in order to write scholarly articles for free.
- My colleagues review the manuscript for free.
- Editors at AA take the time to edit and work on the ms. for free (or maybe they are paid, I'm not sure)
- AAA turns over the paper to Wiley-Blackwell to publish. W-B earns profits on the article, based on our free scholarly labor.
- If I want to post the article on the internet, I have to pay W-B for the privilege of doing this.
- I don't recall signing an employment contract with Wiley-Blackwell, and I don't really want to work for them. Maybe I will just not publish in AAA journals any more.