Category: "Open Access Anthropology and Knowledge Sharing"
Anthropologist Martin Høyem has launched the e-zine “American Ethnography”, an “internet glossy on the study of cultures":
We cover ethnography that relates to anything we would call America. We aim to present the tradition and practice of ethnography to people who didn’t know they could be intrigued by ethnography. The goal is to help increase the interest in how we all try to understand unfamiliar cultures. This, we think, could do the world good.
As he writes to me in an email, “it’s pretty new, so there isn’t a lot of material there yet, and most of what is there is old public domain texts (previously not freely available to the general public).” Most of the texts were previously published in the journal American Anthropologist.
Around twelve articles are online already, including portraits of some famous anthropologists and texts about the peyote-cult - a cactus that was eaten in rituals of native Indians. The most recent issue contains articles about race and tambourine juggling. Looks interesting!
Høyem has previously written a thesis about American Lowrider Culture called I want my car to look like a whore. Lowriding and poetics of outlaw aesthetics, see also my post about the thesis: When Norwegians do business in Brazil, Lowrider Culture and 9 more anthropology theses.
Høyem is currently working at Pacific Ethnography - anthropology and design
UPDATE: The discussion about American Ethnography and copyright issues is continuing over at Savage Minds, see American Ethnography, the AAA, and the Public Domain
“The Art and Science of Applied Anthropology in the 21st Century” is the topic of the first podcast from the annual meeting of the Society of Applied Anthropology.
Anthropology of anthropology: How do anthropologists form online communities? How are open access publishing and other developments that have sprung up online changing community boundaries? Soon, an anthropologist will do fieldwork among us online anthropologists. http://nodivide.wordpress.com/ is the address of the blog by anthropologist Owen Wiltshire, grad student at Concordia University, Montreal, where he writes:
I am interested in collaborative research methods, and the growth of anthropology online. (…) I’m particularly interested in open-access journals, and feel that opening up academic publishing is an enormously important step for anthropology.
Delving into the interesting colonial history of anthropology, and into discussions of globalization and neoliberal economic injustice, it’s pretty easy to see how it makes sense to make anthropological work freely available to the world that it studies.
In this way I’ll be exploring ways to study online communities - in this case communities of anthropologists. Its an exciting time for anthropology online. I’ve been following anthropology blogs for a year now, and its amazing how fast its growing. Its quite inspiring, and I think reflects a very vibrant community thats just itching to work (and fight) with each other!
So while my research proposal is extremely vague, and I’ve been made aware of this, I’m absolutely confident that the internet, blogs, and the desire to liberate anthropological knowledge from the world economy are fueling a change in anthropology, and that within this excitement I’ll find an interesting “field” of study.
In an email to me he tells that he’ll be handing in a proposal in April and hopefully be doing fieldwork over the summer. He has already been investigating the ways faculty at Concordia University use the internet in classroom, and is working on getting access to an anthropological journal to investigate the publishing world “face to face".
Owen Wiltshire worked as a web developer for a number of years prior to studying anthropology: “I’ve always followed developments in open source - so I’m excited to see how similar developments work their way into academic culture", he writes.
What do all humans have in common? My interview with anthropologist Christoph Antweiler in German about his book on cultural universalisms has been translated into Portuguese and will be published in the journal Revista ANTHROPOLÓGICAS. You can download the Portuguese translation here.
The text was translated by Peter Schröder, one of the editors of Revista ANTHROPOLÓGICAS. The journal is open access.
Open Access, he tells me, is supported by the Brazilian government. The best scientific journals are freely available on the Portal Scielo http://www.scielo.br Via the subject list, I found three more anthropology journals: Horizontes Antropológicos, Mana and Revista de Antropologia. Most of the articles are in Portuguese, only a few of them in English.
This morning, the journal Museum Anthropology Review was launched as an open access journal. The content that was published during 2007 (the journal’s first year) is now available in both HTML and PDF format - free for all readers all over the world.
Editor Jason Baird Jackson said that making scholarly work more easily and affordably accessible is especially important in fields like folklore and anthropology that are rooted in the study of local cultures worldwide:
“If, for instance, a scholar spends months documenting the work of an elderly woodcarver living in a small American town and then writes about what she learned in a peer-reviewed research article, I have an obligation as her editor to make it as easy as possible for the schoolchildren of that town – or the artist’s grandchildren – to gain access to her writing. Open access repositories and journals, in their varied forms, help make this possible.”
UPDATE: Inside Higher Ed reports:
There are hundreds of scholarly journals published online, plenty of them free. But what makes Museum Anthropology Review’s launch notable is that it is being led by the same editor as the traditional journal, Museum Anthropology, using the exact same peer review system.
For years, the criticism of the free, online model has been that it would be impossible for it to replicate the quality control offered by traditional publishing. When online journal publishers have boasted of their quality control, print loyalists have said, in effect, “well maybe it’s good, but it can’t be as good as what we’re doing.”
To this subjective criticism, open access advocates can now point to someone who knows exactly what the standards are at both journals, as he’s leading them both.
According to their self-description, the journal “seeks to ‘democratize’ research-based studies on South Asia by giving them a greater visibility through a free and worldwide access. It is the “first academic and peer-reviewed on-line journal devoted to social sciences studies on South Asia.” It covers studies in history, geography, anthropology, sociology, political science and economy.
The next issue (due in Spring 2008) will deal with the mobilization of ‘offended communities’ in South Asia.
“This is the last article that I will publish to which the public cannot get access. I am boycotting locked-down journals and I’d like to ask other academics to do the same", writes Danah Boyd on her blog:
On one hand, I’m excited to announce that my article “Facebook’s Privacy Trainwreck: Exposure, Invasion, and Social Convergence” has been published in Convergence 14(1) (special issue edited by Henry Jenkins and Mark Deuze).
On the other hand, I’m deeply depressed because I know that most of you will never read it. It is not because you aren’t interested (although many of you might not be), but because Sage is one of those archaic academic publishers who had decided to lock down its authors and their content behind heavy iron walls.
What’s the point of writing papers if no one can read them? The journals are “god-awful expensive and no one outside of a niche market knows what’s in them", she writes:
Digital copies of the articles have intense DRM protection, often with expiration dates and restrictions on saving/copying/printing. Authors must sign contracts vowing not to put the articles or even drafts online. (Sage -allows- you to posts articles one year following publication.) Academic publishers try to restrict you from making copies for colleagues, let alone for classroom use.
The result? Academics are publishing to increasingly narrow audiences who will never read their material purely so that they can get the right credentials to keep their job. This is downright asinine. If scholars are publishing for audiences of zero, no wonder no one respects them.
This has to change, she writes. Scholars have a responsibility to make their work available as a public good.
- Tenured Faculty and Industry Scholars: Publish only in open-access journals
- Disciplinary associations: Help open-access journals gain traction
- Tenure committees: Recognize alternate venues and help the universities follow
- Young punk scholars: Publish only in open-access journals in protest, especially if you’re in a new field
- All scholars: Start reviewing for open-access journals. Help make them respected
- Universities: Support your faculty in creating open-access journals on your domains
Anne Galloway does not think boycott is the way to go: “I fully support open-access scholarship, but find danah boyd’s recent post on boycotting “locked-down” journals naive at best, and offensive at worst", she writes in her blog. Furthermore she think Danah Boyd “overstates the “lock-down".":
I’ve published articles with Sage and Taylor&Francis, and was able to publish almost identical draft versions here. All I did was hand-write that provision onto my contract before I signed it, and no one ever objected.
There are now more than twenty comments on Danah’s post, including by publishers, a very interesting discussion!
A quick guide to selv-archiving for anthropologists (mainly USA/GB-related, it seems) by Kerim Friedman
“The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is starting to remind me of the recording industry and their rearguard actions against file-sharing and online dissemination in general", Eric Kansa commented one year ago.
I was reminded on this comment when I read about the the Februrary issue of Anthropology News that focuses on Open Access Anthropology. Five articles are available online - but only for one month. Then, the articles about Open Access Anthropology will be hidden behind login-boxes.
UPDATE: Dinah Winnick, Associate Managing Editor Anthropology News writes to me and clarifies that the articles will continue to be accessible after the 1st of March:
To clarify, these articles will appear on the Featured page for one month, after which they will be moved over to our Archives page and also be available through AnthroSource. They are moved from the Featured page monthly so that we can feature new content from our latest issue. I appreciate your bringing this misunderstanding to my attention and I have added a phrase to our website for clarification.
Four of the five articles provide lots of good arguments for Open Access Anthropology. It’s only Jason Cross, member of the AAA Long-Range Planning Committee who is reluctant. He is mainly concerned for the financial consequences and proposes “careful research on business models to assess whether and how to make an OA transition".
So download now:
The AAA has also set up an Open Access blog “where members and non-members alike can offer both their reactions to the In Focus series and their general thoughts on the Open Access issue".
PS: The AAA has redesigned their website, see discussion over at Savage Minds
A quick guide to selv-archiving for anthropologists (mainly USA/GB-related, it seems) by Kerim Friedman
The Anthropologists - Last primitive tribe on earth? (Take a look at indigineuos people’s use of online communication as a mean of resistance and raising awareness.)