Ah, The American Anthropological Association’s sale of our intellectual property to Wiley-Blackwell just keeps getting better and better. Yesterday @AAApubs, the official Twitter presence of the AAA publication program (as far as I can tell) tweeted that a new issue of Cultural Anthropology had been published which featured an interview between Jean Comaroff and David Kyuman Kim. I thought Kim’s book Melancholy Freedom was fascinating if a little problematic — it’s an analysis of the role of hope in the work of Charles Taylor (mostly) and Judith Butler. Judith Butler’s work harbors the seed of a vaguely Christian religious ideal of hope? A very interesting and very careful and scholarly argument. Not sure what I think, but when the two reviews I’ve seen with the guy are by people as different as Jean Comaroff and Tavis Smiley, I want to learn more.
So I go to Anthrosource. Anthrosource is the online portal which all AAA members get access to which lets us read all the journals in our field — in fact, it is the main ‘member benefit’ for AAA members. The bad old days of waiting for a copy of Cultural Anthropology to be mailed to me is over, now I can read it on AnthroSource for free immediately!
Except that the latest edition of Cultural Anthropology is not on Anthrosource. Was @AAApubs wrong about the article being online? As it turns out, no: Wiley’s website is selling the current issue of Cultural Anthropology, so their customers can read the article immediately. Which doesn’t include the tens of thousands of actual anthropologists who use Anthrosource to access our journals.
So I think: maybe it just takes a couple of hours for the new journal to appear on Anthrosource. I go home, get up the next morning, and find an email from Wiley announcing that the new issue of Cultural Anthropology is online. Has everything been refreshed and uploaded? No. The article is still only available to Wiley subscribers.
I’m hopeful that this is a temporary problem and that I am just unusual in not wanting to wait 48 hours for the Internet to get itself all set up. But even if this problem is solved quickly, what does it mean to our association that our own members cannot read the journals that Wiley is flogging to its subscribers? What began as a terrible idea of outsourcing our publications to a for-profit company has turned into a situation where we are now strangers in our own house.
There’s no better way to summarize the situation than the link that’s included in @AAApubs twitter description. It ends with a URL addressed
http://www.wiley.com/go/anthrosource. When you click on the link you are directed to a page at Wiley that reads: “sorry there is no information available for this journal.”