Some of this stuff you just can’t make up. Check this out:
Over a week ago I got an email from Wiley saying that the latest number of American Anthropologist was available online. I saw immediately that this issue of the journal had an editorial from Tom Boellstorff, the outgoing editor of AA, arguing vigorously that the American Anthropological Association must move to a true ‘gold open access’ model where all of our articles are free for everyone, everywhere to read. It’s a big, huge, amazing deal that some one so experienced with our journal production, and so prominently placed within our organization, would make a statement like this.
Still, I put off blogging about it. I had read an earlier draft of the editorial, and I knew that getting the piece out into the blogosphere would involve responding to a lot of comments and rehashing arguments that, for me, are now years old. Finally I got an email from some non-americans asking about the editorial and my reaction to it, so I decided to get down to it and get my blog on.
Except I couldn’t download it.
Some of you may remember that over a year ago I complained that Wiley pulls a bait and switch on AAA members, sending out emails announcing that new journal issues are out, but then releasing them first at wiley.com and then, after a lag, putting them up on AnthroSource. To be clear, I believe this is the result of incompetence rather than malice, and frankly AnthroSource is so broken that I’m not surprised it takes a while for content to make its way on to the service. This belief was, for me, confirmed by the pushback I got from members of the ‘Committee on the Future of the Book’ or whatever it’s called, who argued hat I should have emailed them directly about the problem, since as the committee responsible for thinking about publications they couldn’t be expected to know anything about kinks in the production process unless a blogger alerted them to a problem.
Well, the system is still broken. So all Wiley subscribers can now read a rousing pro-open access editorial, while the people who actually write and publish these articles will have to wait for sloppy seconds.
Truth be told, I don’t mind if the AAA and Wiley can’t get their act together and there’s a day or two lag between when articles go line on AnthroSource. but a week? After you already know there’s a problem? It’s just embarrassing.
Luckily, Tom has self-archived a pre-print of his editorial and you can download and read it here.
I’d talk more about the editorial and its contents, but I just had to stop and for a moment and let some of my flabberghastedness spill out onto the page before gathering myself up and continuing. Thanks for reading — I feel better. Happy Weekend!