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TAJA to be published by Wiley-Blackwell

19 June, 2008

Readers might be interested to hear that The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA), the journal of the Australian Anthropological Association, is soon to be published by Wiley-Blackwell. The general tone of the article of was very positive about this change.  For example:

“We are excited about partnering with a publisher of such international repute, and are confident that Wiley-Blackwell’s publishing expertise will raise the journal’s international profile and increase its citations,” said Professor Gillian Cowlishaw, President of the Australian Anthropological Society. Dr. Rozanna Lilley, editor-in-chief for the journal added, “Wiley-Blackwell’s success in publishing other flagship anthropological journals is impressive. We are confident that their strength and growing capability in the area of anthropological publications will be of great benefit to our journal and we look forward to a dynamic and productive relationship”.

This new partnership reinforces Wiley-Blackwell’s already prominent position as the ‘place to be’ for the social sciences. Publisher of over 450 journals with renowned society partners – including the American Anthropological Association and the Royal Anthropological Institute -Wiley-Blackwell continues to provide the scholarly community with access to the highest-quality content available.

In brief chats around the department here I get the sense that this will be, on the whole, a good thing for the journal, especially in terms of improving the profile of what is a high quality but not well-circulated publication.  The increased exposure should be beneficial both for TAJA itself and the visibility of Australian anthropology as a whole.

I know that there has been some debate in the US about similar changes to the publication of prominent anthropology journals there as part of the whole Open Access discussion.  Given that TAJA has never been ‘open access’ as such, this is probably less of an issue in this case, but I wonder what people who are more familiar with the open access issue have to say.  One thing that occurs to me is that publishers seem to be introducing some highly restrictive measures to control the reproduction of electronic articles.  For example, just today Lisa Wynn brought to my attention the fact that Sage seems to limit the ability to copy and save the pdf versions of its articles.  It is possible to download the articles if you have the appropriate access but it is not possible to save the file to send to others.  Neat trick.  I wonder if similar restrictions will be enforced by Wiley-Blackwell.  I also wonder what people think about these attempts to manage access to scholarly work.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 June, 2008 3:36 am

    You know the American Anthropology journals you obliquely mention were not open access before going to a Big Name publisher. But the costs rose, and this in effect was limiting access to the entire family of journals. At my small state university, for instance, I did not have access to any anthropology journals. Getting access meant going a larger local state university campus and using their resources. I was lucky to be in an urban setting where a bus or train ride made all of this available to me. Access is even more difficult for those without university-affiliations. With rising prices, these independent scholars found they could not afford to keep their subscriptions, while at the same time having very spotty library access. It might be different in Australia — perhaps your public libraries grant access to academic journals?
    Open Access allows the free exchange of ideas beyond a narrow clique, better for those of us who labor to write, and better for anyone who wants to explore ideas and take action in the world.
    For a good overview of open access issues, you can see:
    But all the same — congratulations on your new Big Name publisher! I hope it will make Australian anthropology available to a wider range of international scholars, as it deserves to be!

  2. 20 June, 2008 12:20 pm

    Hmmm, I actually have no idea whether public ideas offer access to academic journals, but I would suspect not given the high price for subscriptions. I’m actually surprised that the cost of subscribing to journals has increased. Naively, perhaps, I would have thought that the existence of online content made the overheads less for the journal providers. Goes to show how spoilt I’ve been having unfettered access to a moderately well-resourced university library.

    Maybe others could shed some light on what is (and isn’t) available out there?

  3. 20 June, 2008 5:39 pm

    Yeah, Jovan, I’m glad you brought up the Sage business. I just had something published in Journal of Social Archaeology. Instead of getting a PDF of my published article, which is what I get from EVERY OTHER PLACE I HAVE EVER PUBLISHED, instead I got this e-mail:

    Dear Contributor, Thank you for submitting your article titled “Shape Shifting Lizard People, Israelite Slaves, and Other Theories of Pyramid Building: Notes on Labor, Nationalism, and Archaeology in Egypt” to Journal of Social Archaeology, which was recently published in volume 8 issue 2 of the journal. We invite you to visit to download an electronic version of your article (we are no longer sending out paper offprints/tearsheets). You can download this file as an .exe file, which will allow you to view and print the PDF an unlimited number of times on your own computer, and you can forward it as a link up to 25 times to your co-authors and other colleagues. Please note that it is a protected file and you will not be able to forward the file itself or upload it to a website.If you have difficulty please check our FAQs section

    That’s right. They give me a link to an EXECUTABLE FILE instead of a PDF — which, as you know, Jovan, didn’t work when I sent it to you, and even when I downloaded it to my own machine (overcoming my own instinctive queasiness about launching an executable file from an e-mail link), I couldn’t open the PDF later that day because it demanded a password that I couldn’t provide. I’m livid. It means I can’t even send out PDFs of my article to people who request them directly from me. Let’s think about this. I wrote the article, and my research was funded by various places (ARCE, FLAS, etc). The people who peer-reviewed the article for JSA didn’t get paid to do it. I don’t think that Lynn Meskell, the editor, gets paid for her work, but I could be wrong. All Sage has done is formatted and published the article. But now they’re so tightly restricting access to it that even I, the author, can’t share copies with more than 25 of my peers (IF the link works for them, which it didn’t for you). More than 25 people interested in the article? Then pay for it!

    I love the Journal of Social Archaeology, and I love its editor, Lynn Meskell, even more. But I will NEVER again consider publishing with them as long as Sage is running things this way.

  4. 20 June, 2008 5:42 pm

    Subtle way of plugging your article Lisa 😉

    But seriously, you raise really important points here. There are strong parallels with the current struggle over digital rights in music and big music companies attempting to impose restrictive DRMs and employing a whole raft of nefarious legal methods to ensure that people don’t copy and share music. (A good source of articles on this debate can be found at Boing Boing. You’re right: there’s a whole chain of paid and unpaid labour that goes into the production of any academic piece but for some reason the publishers feel that they have complete ownership of the final product.

    I wonder, did Sage make their policies clear to you before you agreed to publish with them? Sounds like they didn’t.

    Seems to be a pretty clear case of capitalist enterprises extracting surplus value from a range of actors, but Marxist-inspired analyses are so passe, are they not?

  5. 23 June, 2008 8:38 am

    Lisa, I was able to download a conventional pdf of your article from the journal’s website (via my university account). The restrictions that were mentioned in the email might apply to non-subscribers only?

  6. 25 June, 2008 11:40 am

    Hi Lorenz, Yes, according to what Sage sent me, if your university subscribes, you can download a conventional PDF (and then spread it around as much as you like). But if you don’t belong to a subscribing university, then you can only get this executable file (and only 25 people, too). The irony is that even if an AUTHOR doesn’t have a subscription, then the author doesn’t get the normal PDF, just the executable protected PDF. Maddening!

  7. gregdowney permalink
    26 June, 2008 7:49 pm

    Yeah, I got one of these, too, recently from another journal, but I cheated on the whole thing: I printed off a copy and then scanned it as a .pdf on our departmental copier. It’s a bit bigger than a normal .pdf, so it’s harder to circulate, but it does give me a way to send the article to overseas colleagues.


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