The relationship between the journals was chronicled and analyzed by Rob Rosenswig (2005), who showed a strong measure of bias. Articles on Latin American archaeology were ghettoized (my term) and papers in AA never cited them, whereas AA retained a higher status for both regional and general papers. The message to us Latin Americanists was: if you have a boring technical article, send it to LAA, but if you have something with exciting ideas on methods or theory, send it to AA.
I have a solution for the biased and imbalanced relationship among these journals. The SAA should start a new Open Access journal dedicated to archaeological method and theory. LAA can remain a regional journal on Latin America, and AA can become a regional journal on
The advantages of OA journals are clear. (See my older posts for an intro to OA in archaeology: OA Journals and Archaeology or
The scope of SAA journals would be expanded greatly and many more readers would have access to the journal. This would improve the visibility of the SAA around the world and to other branches of archaeology and related disciplines. Open Access is clearly the wave of the future in scholarly publishing, and the SAA could help take the lead in making archaeological publishing available to a much larger audience.
The Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory is a commercial journal with good content, but it has recently become too expensive for individuals. After raising prices every year by $5 or $10, recently the costs jumped from around $60 to near $100. I’m sure that many archaeologists joined me in cancelling subscriptions. I went to the Springer website today to see what subscriptions cost now, but I could only find institutional rates! This brings to mind the old
Rosenswig, Robert M.
2005 A Tale of Two Antiquities: Evolving Editorial Policies of the SAA Journals. The SAA Archaeological Record 5(1):15-21.