AAA: a little bit Open Access, a little bit closed
On October 7th, I got a press release from the AAA dated, inexplicably, September 17th:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2008
AAA Creates “Open Access” to Anthropological Research
In a groundbreaking move aimed at facilitating greater access for the global social science and anthropological communities to 86 years of classic, historic research articles, the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association announced today that it will provide, free of charge, unrestricted content previously published in two if its flagship publications – American Anthropologist and Anthropology News.
The initiative, among the first of its kind in the humanities- and social science-based publishing environment and made in coordination with publishing partner Wiley-Blackwell, will provide access to these materials for the purposes of personal, educational and other non-commercial uses after a thirty-five year period.
Starting in 2009, content published from 1888 to 1973, will be available through AnthroSource, the premier online resource serving the research, teaching, and professional needs of anthropologists. Previously, this information was only available via AAA association membership, subscription or on a so-called “pay per view” basis.
“This historic move, initiated by the needs and desires of our worldwide constituency, is our association’s pointed answer to the call for open access to our publications. This program, I believe, is an important first step in answering the call to un-gating anthropological knowledge,” AAA Executive Director Bill Davis said in a statement issued today.
The initiative, which will be re-evaluated by internal AAA committees in the next year (the Committee on Scientific Publication as advised by the Committee for the Future of Electronic Publishing), may be expanded in the future.
“Our Association is committed to the widespread dissemination of anthropological knowledge,” notes Oona Schmid, AAA Director of Publishing “and our Executive Board is acting to support this goal in two ways: supporting the sustainability of our publishing program and facilitating access to more than eight decades of studies and content in the discipline.”
The AAA has breathlessly announced that it is going open access!! American Anthropology and Anthropology News will now be Open Access. (um, but just those issues between 1888 and 1973).
So, this is great, really, despite my snarkiness. The AAA has realized that opening up 35 year old scholarship is not a threat to their publishing revenue…
and rex speculates:
My guess is that the AAA has discussed the issue with Wiley-Blackwell (WB) and WB has told them what the OA community has told them—their revenue does not come from selling content, or at least not huge chunks of old content.