This is the blurb for Anthropologies:
For Anthropology of This Century, the description is:
"ANTHROPOLOGY OF THIS CENTURY (AOTC) publishes reviews of recent works in anthropology and related disciplines, as well as occasional feature articles. There are three issues per academic year – in October, January and May."
This is not a full analysis of these two things, just some random thoughts and queries. Should we call them journals? Each has a name that sounds like it could be the name of a journal, and each is arranged in numbered volumes or issues, each with several papers (often on a theme). So outwardly these look like journals. Anthropologies calls itself variously a "site" and a "collaborative online project." Does that collaboration refer to the three members of the "Editorial Team," or to all the authors? Perhaps I am a collaborator in this project by virtue of the inclusion of my article; I'm not sure about this. AOTC does not call itself anything, perhaps on purpose. It has a list of people as "Our Authors," and one person is listed as "Publisher and Editor."
Semi-Journal ("half journal" or "partial journal") might be an appropriate name for these things. That is, they have some attributes of journals (editors, articles by scholars, numbered volumes), but not others (peer review; clear submission guidelines, editorial boards). Or perhaps Quasi-Journal (almost a journal, as if it were a journal)? I wouldn't call them Pseudo-Journals (false or fraudulent journals), since they do not claim to be academic journals. And they aren't blogs or wikis.
This name issue is not as trivial as it might sound. What is the intellectual and professional status of these things? When I mention my article in Anthropologies, I am never sure what to call it. ("Yes, I published something on that topic in an online _______" WHAT??). What should I call this on my CV? It is certainly not a peer reviewed journal article. I couldn't remember what I did with it, so I just checked my CV. Guess what - I forget to add it to my CV! And there is no appropriate category there to include it! Hmm, I will have to modify or add to the categories of written work on my CV to accommodate this article.
My confusion here is part of the general situation of flux in the online production of intellectual work throughout the disciplines. I must admit here, I am one of those old fashioned academics ("fossilized" some will say) who sees the value of peer-reviewed journals as much greater than things like blogs and online semi-journals. This and my other blogs are all well and good, a way to let off steam, but as a scholar I want to be known and appreciated for my scientific and scholarly publications. This issue came up in discussion on Neuroanthropology and other anthropology-related blogs recently. Greg Downey argued that blog writing should be taken more seriously by tenure and promotion committees, and judged as true intellectual production. I disagreed, suggesting that blogging is better viewed as a service activity, separate from intellectual contributions like peer-reviewed articles, books, grants, etc. Some other folks supported Greg (e.g., Jason Anstrosio; see posts on his very nice blog, Living Anthropologically), and praised blogs that discussed real scholarly topics, combining citations to the peer-reviewed literature with links to blogs and other internet venues (like semi-journals).
Perhaps one part of the disagreement here has to do with disciplinary differences. Blogs like Neuroanthropology often take on real scientific issues and discuss them in a sophisticated way, with citations to the relevant research. The archaeology blogs I am familiar with, on the other hand, mostly communicate to non-specialists, or else discuss disciplinary issues (like this one), but rarely take on serious intellectual issues. The papers on Anthropologies and AOTC are closer to the serious end of this spectrum, and perhaps they deserve more status or consideration than the typical archaeology blog. Nevertheless, they are not peer-reviewed. Say what you like about the criticisms and problems of peer-review; it is still the best filtering method available for maintaining the quality of academic production in scholarly disciplines.
I wouldn't mind calling Anthropologies and AOTC and other similar things "semi-journals," or literally, "half-journals." But I would emphasize that the half that they lack includes the most important thing for science and scholarship -- peer review. That said, these are interesting and important new venues, and it is hard to predict where internet scholarship will be 5 or 10 years from now. Check these out, especially Anthropologies, which is quite good and exciting.