- These are fully open access journals. Articles are posted, and anyone with an internet connection can read or download the papers.
- The topical coverage is too wide. Does the world really need another journal that purports to cover the very wide subject matter of anthropology? Actually, the content tends to be rather idiosyncratic at best; I doubt anyone would claim that Open Access Anthropology is at the cutting edge of the discipline (check out their tables of contents).
- The cost of publishing is high.
- I am doubtful about the quality of the peer review process. I have no hard data to support my skepticism, which is just a hunch and could be incorrect. But my guess is that the reputation of these journals if pretty low among most anthropologists, if only because they are new; they don't seem to address hot new areas; and the contributors and board may not be the top experts.
Now perhaps with electronic publishing today we don't need tightly focused journals. If I want to keep up on current research about, say, ancient basketry, I can find relevant papers through search engines, contents alerts, and the like. If a paper is available online, it doesn't matter whether it is published in the highly prestigious "Ancient Basketry Review" or in the newbie "Journal of Anthropology." The important thing is to get access to the papers. But I resist this notion, and I think that focused journals are still very important.
Perhaps you think I am just a cranky old traditionalist who likes to hold printed journals in his grubby paws and who looks askance at new internet publishing. Actually, I am pretty sure that the printed journal has a limited future, and before too long electronic format will be the only thing available for most journals. But I do feel strongly about the issues of intellectual focus and demonstrable quality, and in these areas the new commercial open access journals don't seem to measure up.