How to go open access in 3 easy steps

First, I want to start off with my favorite comment from SM readers in the past couple of weeks.  It comes from “Gio” on Rex’s post about the passing of Aaron Schwartz:

Yes, stop mourning: act. Stop obsessing about tenure, publish your best work open-access. Donate. Stop even debating interminably about OA. Do something concrete with your own capital (scholastic, labor or financial).

Runner up for my favorite comment goes to David Graeber, who posted this on the same thread:

Well, you could publish your work for free.

Or take part in this: http://pdftribute.net/

Which leads me to this: THREE EASY STEPS TO GOING OPEN ACCESS:

1. Write something.

2. Search around for an OA journal, repository, or other site (or make one–why not?).

3. Publish only in open access venues.  Done.

I think Gio is right that we don’t really need to keep debating endlessly about the reasons why going OA matters.  We just need to do something about it.  And if that means we all need to get together and actually CREATE the spaces where this can happen, that’s fine by me.

In related news, here’s reason #5,256 why we need to pool our resources and build a database for open access anthropology:

BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR THIS STUFF.

 

Ryan Anderson is a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Kentucky. He is currently writing up his dissertation, which is about the politics of development in Baja California Sur, Mexico. You can reach him at ethnografix AT gmail dot com or @publicanthro on twitter.

35 thoughts on “How to go open access in 3 easy steps

  1. It is a lot to ask junior members of a field–graduate students, untenured faculty, post-docs etc.–to forgo publishing in closed-access high-impact journals; they are in vulnerable enough positions. Few are looking at their work on name reputation alone as it is anyway so it wouldnt really do so much for the OAcause. Seniormembers of thefield, however ought to lend their weight in precisely that direction: they have the least to lose and the most to contribute.

  2. @ Jacob Lee. I disagree. Junior scholars don’t have to simply publish in closed-access journals. I’m doing both. And, I’m sending my best material to OA journals.

  3. What don’t you agree with, specifically? If oa journals had the impact factors of the closed journals, then all this would hardly be an issue. Is seeking to publish in them at the expense of publishing in more prestigious closed journals an optimal allocation of time and resources in what can only be described as a horridly competitive academic job market? Your best material?

    By the way, I didnt say they shouldnt publish open access at all, but to publish in view of a hard nosed evaluation of what you get out if it ( else just blog your paper or post it to your web site, heh?).

  4. @Jacob:

    I agree with you that the senior academics have a lot to contribute here (and often a lot less to lose).

    But is it *really* so much to ask junior members of the field to consider going open access? I am a graduate student, and haven’t published a thing–but I think it makes sense to take a serious look at the reasons why going open access might make sense. Yes, the whole system centers on those high-impact journals–but isn’t that part of the problem here? If graduate students and new PhDs keep handing over their work to those publications, doesn’t that just exacerbate the whole problem? Why keep playing the game? If everyone keeps going along with it, then how will anything change? Personally I think grad students and junior faculty have a lot of say in the matter–if they all start working together and thinking about differently about how and why we publish.

    At some point, I think we all need to stop getting backed into corners and start coming up with alternatives–and then actually doing something to make them a reality. The academic publishers like Elsevier have control because we place it right in their hands–for free! In other words: How long should we keep letting the current publishing regime dictate our actions?

    What we need are solid, peer-reviewed, open access alternatives. I think this is possible to build–and in the mean time we can start making moves in that direction. By utilizing sites like Academia.edu and the SSRN creatively. By blogging. By supporting and exploring OA journals like HAU and the Journal of Political Ecology and Museum Anthropology Review. We have options. We also need to retake control of the work we create and publish. There is no reason why someone else should be telling authors what they can and cannot do with their own work.

    My 2 cents about that.

    @Gio:

    Thanks for the push in the right direction.

  5. @Ryan: I see your point, I think. But, your blog post said, “Publish only in open access venues.” And I responded that that is a lot to ask of junior members in the field, given the realities of the job market. More importantly, I don’t think a revolt by some subset of high-minded grad students, post-docs, and nontenured faculty will be terribly effective in changing anything.

    Sure, grad students, post-docs, nontenured professors, and adjuncts publishing in closed journals perpetuates the problem. But by how much? Relative to what personal cost? Folks publish in these closed journals because they are prestigious, because folks benefit from doing it. But why are these journals prestigious? Why are these journals read? Is it because grad students, post-docs, and nontenured faculty publish in them? Not exactly. Or at least, only partially. Its mainly because top names in the field publish there, and continue to publish there, and compete to publish there.

    But what if senior members of academia refused to submit their papers to these closed access journals, indeed refused to review papers for these journals? What if the only papers being submitted to these journals came from grad students, post-docs, and nontenured professors? What if they were the only ones reviewing submissions? And what if at the same time, tenured professors, especially from top caliber institutions began publishing in [name your favorite oa journal]? Where would the center of the academic publishing ‘prestige economy’ shift?

    I want open access. I think it is extremely important. But I’m not sure this is the right way to go about it.

  6. Hey Jacob,

    I completely agree with your argument about prestige and the big-name anthros who publish in those journals. If anything, in order to change what we have right now we are going to need some sort of collaboration across the board. If the big names and senior anthros opt out, that will certainly get noticed. That would be HUGE. But I’m not holding my breath.

    Still, why should the next generation just keep giving up their work in the mean time? Why go along with it all? At what point is enough enough? I understand the argument about the “realities of the job market” (the competition is insane and there are way too many people for too few jobs, basically), but why let that keep dictating our actions? Is it REALLY worth it to keep pumping out articles in order to keep holding on to some low-paying adjunct position that may or may not exist next year? I see a lot of people who are completely driving themselves into the ground in order to “make it,” and personally I don’t want any part of that. I don’t think it’s right, and I don’t think it’s worth it in the end.

    I get the point you’re making, and I understand that you are concerned about the potential risks that less established academics face. I am a grad student, after all. I get it. But, when I really think about it, I don’t see the point of just going with the flow because “that’s how things work.” If we are going to push for a shift in the overall dynamic here, then it has to happen on various fronts. Besides, change has to start somewhere.

    In the end, I am not sure if anything is going to happen if we all keep waiting for the big names to make the move first. It would be great if they did, but maybe it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about other options instead of just walking headlong into the slaughterhouse. I don’t think it adds to our position at all to go about things that way.

  7. I am having a hard time reading all of this, and especially the discussion of prestige and the big names in anthropology, without thinking about the recent Lance Armstrong Oprah interview. The word coercion just keeps ringing in my ears: junior scholars feeling immense pressure to publish in the prestigious journals even if they’d rather be publishing elsewhere. Play the game or else. Just very depressing. Especially for anthropology, of all disciplines: so much talk of egalitarianism, but so much investment in hierarchy, domination, prestige.

    Jacob is right, the big names should be leading the way. It is yet another reminder of the ‘tenure is not the finish line’ conversation from Ryan’s “Stop the Silence” post. If you are on the never-enough-prestige treadmill, or cycle, it’s hard to get off.

    Ryan, you are fighting the good fight on this one. For sure. But Jacob is right about how hard it will be to shift the prestige paradigm when those most in a position to do so, at the top of the academic hierarchy, or often the least interested, invested in doing so.

  8. Hi Jacob,

    Ryan followed up with a very nice defense of the spirit of OA publishing. Those of us who are passionate about OA are (by and large) not thinking about it in terms of career advancement. Indeed, we are attempting to rethink the modes, methods, and meanings of publishing itself.

    So, to answer what it is I disagree with: (1) a false dichotomy between actually existing (or future) closed-access and open-access publications in terms of relative prestige, high impact, and value, (2) an assumption that junior scholars’ primary motives for publication are simple mini-max calculations about job prospects (i.e. this idea that it really is “a lot” to ask the underlings to just publish OA…they need to get jobs, tenure track jobs, the market is horrible, etc.), (3) an odd position that the senior scholars should be the ones leading the way to OA.

    Let’s start with #1. To be frank, this idea that OA journals lack the prestige of closed journals or have smaller readership is not only becoming an outdated argument day by day, but it is precisely the perception that would link OA with a lack of symbolic/social/financial capital and therefore, prestige or high-impact capacity, that many of us are trying to smash. Take Mana—hands down, the best and probably most prestigious journal for Brazilian anthropology. It’s been OA since its foundation.

    Or, more close to my heart, take HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory…which can help flesh out my disagreements #2 and #3.

    I’m a junior scholar—in the middle of dissertation fieldwork actually. I’m also the Deputy Managing Editor of HAU. HAU was started by junior scholars…they took the initiative to do something new: to make the first globally relevant OA journal in anthropology.

    I joined HAU about one year ago. I devoted countless hours of my time and labor (most of it unpaid, mind you) *while in the field*. Every free hour I had away from fieldwork…everytime I had a good internet connection in my little Assamese village, I devoted my time to HAU.

    Why? Because it’s the best thing going in anthropology right now. Revitalizing ethnography and ethnographic theory as prime heuristics for anthorpology and unreservedly doing it all OA.
    To this day, HAU’s editorial staff remains composed entirely of junior scholars. We’re peer-reviewed by an editorial board made up of some of the best (junior and senior) anthropologists in the world. We’re also copy-left and acquiring funding to help support our work.

    But, while being free and open to everyone, we do not and will not publish poor scholarship or anything close to it. Our editorial standards are as rigorous as they can get and our staff are extremely professional. Rising stars and senior scholars all go through the same blind peer-review process….but here’s the rub: Each issue of HAU gets exponentially more and more unique downloads per day, we now have more likes on Facebook than Savage Minds and Cultural Anthropology. And, note, junior scholars *are* giving their best work to OA. HAU continues to receive path-breaking, original manuscripts from young scholars who want to publish OA.

    So to answer your question: my best material to OA? Damn straight. I want my best ethnographic writing, my most mature analyses, my most original thoughts to be available for everyone, including my informants, colleagues, and students in Northeast India. This isn’t some kind of personal crusade either. This is about research integrity, intellectual rigor, and a genuine desire to make anthropology globally valuable again. And I hope my work will speak for itself. I really do. OA published or not, I’m pretty sure it will. I’d also like to get a job where I can continue to research, teach, and write without much anxiety. That would be really great. But, I’m certainly not going to sacrifice the integrity of HAU, and the future of OA publishing in general, for maintaining an out-of-date pipe-dream of having cushy job (or even a guaranteed job, period) in the academy. Naïve or not, I’m not threatened by the status-quo.

    This tired line “OA would be great, I want Open Access, etc., BUT….” is a variation on Roland Barthes’ “Operation Margarine.”

    OA is already here. It’s already becoming prestigious and high-impact. Publish OA and forget about the threats of perishing. Forget about settling for margarine. We can have healthy, top-shelf butter, and we can give it away for free.

  9. I value gold open access journals and work to promote them, but the usual confusion about green and gold / conflation of repository and journal are present in the discussion.

    Fighting the prestigious journal, status hierarchy, and/or commercialization of scholarship battles are all options for us, but those seeking publication in established, toll access, “high impact” journals can make this work open access through (legal) repository deposit (green OA) under the terms of most already-in-place author agreements. In the shrinking number of cases where the author agreement does not already allow green OA, this can be easily obtained using a Science Commons author addendum or similar mechanism. (We can choose to skip a journal that is so anti-OA as to now allow for some kind of green OA.)

    I especially value @DWP’s commentary here and elsewhere. The part that drives me to distraction is the way that established, high-prestige scholars have extra opportunities (time, exposure to briefings, access to librarians willing to teach, etc.) to understand and learn how OA works–technically, legally, ethically, etc–but they are the worst about spreading misinformation, making poor policy choices, and unambiguously breaking the law in posting materials (such as final publisher’s copies) to personal and department websites outside the scope of their already-signed author agreements. (Its no wonder that their graduate students are so confused.)

  10. The Australian Research Council is now requiring that all research they fund is either be published open source or a version placed in an institutional repository: http://www.arc.gov.au/applicants/open_access.htm.

    This is becoming so common now that the debate of whether or not to go open access will soon be redundant. My feeling is that even young scholars may as well go ahead and do it, because if it’s not the norm now, it will be in a few short years.

    However, finding good information about open access is indeed difficult as it’s scattered all over the place. I’d be happy to contribute some time to making it easier to find. I suspect that it’s not worth putting in a huge effort as it’s such a fast-changing field, but a general guide on how to do it, with updates on what’s changing, would be great.

  11. Sorry to double-comment, but I just had a thought. HAU has done a really good job of promoting the journal and making it look serious. As a result, I would most readily publish there without feeling like I would compromise my career. I just stumbled across the Journal of Business Anthropology (http://rauli.cbs.dk/index.php/jba/index), noticed that Bill Maurer and Scott Manwaring have published there, plus a few other recognizable names, and now I feel motivated to write something for that journal as well.

    Few other open access journals have come across my radar in a way that has made me want to contribute. What do they need to gain traction? Promotion, and above all, social proof.

    What if all of us who believe in the value of open access – those who aren’t doing it yet, and those who are already deeply ensconsed – put far more effort into promoting open-access articles written by people we respect? This would be far more effective in creating momentum than discussing why it’s so difficult.

  12. @DWP wrote:

    “The word coercion just keeps ringing in my ears: junior scholars feeling immense pressure to publish in the prestigious journals even if they’d rather be publishing elsewhere. Play the game or else. Just very depressing. Especially for anthropology, of all disciplines: so much talk of egalitarianism, but so much investment in hierarchy, domination, prestige.”

    Exactly. Lots of talk and rhetoric about egalitarianism (and plenty of seminars talking about hegemony and power) and then we have daily practices filled with the exact opposite. It IS depressing.

    “But Jacob is right about how hard it will be to shift the prestige paradigm when those most in a position to do so, at the top of the academic hierarchy, or often the least interested, invested in doing so.”

    I agree that it will be difficult to make that shift–and I also agree (along with Jason Jackson) that the folks at the top of the hierarchy *should* be the ones who are helping to make this push. But, as he says, they aren’t. So…I’m not planning on waiting around for them. And I really appreciate Sean’s arguments about OA, and his work with HAU. There are options out there, and I would rather try to push in that direction than wait around for the folks at the top of the hierarchy to do it for us.

  13. Jason Jackson brings up a really good point about this dichotomy between OA and publishing in closed journals. If people want to publish in closed journals, then they can still make their work available via a Green OA repository. This is possible through most of the author agreements.

    So there you have it. People who want to keep publishing in those high-impact journals don’t have to choose between OA and their career.

    Personally, I want to focus my efforts on publications that are all OA. But Jason is smart to remind us that there are options available, and that there are choices that create a sort middle ground between OA and closed access publications.

    One thing is clear to me: we need to find a way to put all this info together and make it available. The OA anthropology site would be a good place to do this. It might be good to write up a “How to go open access” page that explains some of these details, points out some of the resources, and allows people to ask questions.

  14. Open access is a great goal. I think it is interesting that we are placing so much emphasis (rightly, in my opinion) on open *access*, versus focusing on open *source*. Open access is about making research results available to the public, and to other researchers. It is necessary, but in my mind insufficient. Just focusing on open access assumes that legitimate knowledge is generated within the Academy and distributed outward, a priesthood/laity dichotomy that doesn’t reflect the increased focus on collaboration within Anthropology.

    The Academy here is the entirety of the institutionalized system of tenure, adjuncting, and graduate student peonage that makes research viable and legitimate only when produced with the tools of the market: for-profit software packages that give information the proper appearance and format. If a researcher happens to be working outside of that system, it is up to her to come up with that software. This is the very model of hegemony; we don’t talk about it because it has become invisible to most of us. The thought that someone might not use Microsoft Office, or one of the standard analysis suites, never arises. We just assume that any researcher will have paid the money for the “proper” software to be considered a professional. Of course, this also means that the poorest people in society can never be proper researchers, because they are denied access to the tools of the trade. It also means that anthropological collaboration tends to be anthropologists (the legitimate knowledge producers) working with others whose own knowledge has to be sculpted to fit within the appropriate technologically-mediated frame.

    There are open-source alternatives for many of the programs we use daily: OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Gephi (for network anaysis), AutoMap (for text analysis) and others. If we are going to make knowledge a democratic process, we can’t just focus on access to results–we have to take the entire process of knowledge formation seriously as a politically and technologically mediated system.

  15. As a potential user, the kinds of pages I’d like to see on the Open Access Anthropology site are:

    * Open access publications: Where can anthropologists publish articles and books? Info about anthropology journals and other relevant ones. Especially making clear what each one’s peer review process is: blind review, open review, not reviewed?

    * DIY open access: Auto-archiving instructions with sound legal advice. How to start your own open access publication, with a guide to different models that open access publications can follow..

    * Global open access: Who is doing what and where? It’s not just the US – in fact most of the anth journals in the DOAJ seem to be from elsewhere, especially Europe and South America. This page could possibly break it down into regions and describe projects being done. Make it a competition, even – who’s doing the best in developing open access? Use diagrams, figures, a meter showing how much we’re improving.

    * New developments: Make me want to get involved. Tell me every time a new and exciting publication is launched, or a major funding body requires all publications to be made open access.

    * People: Tell me when one of my favourite anthropologists has published something open access. Interview people who have founded open access journals, or who have been key figures in the broader open access movement. People follow the leader!

    * Get involved! Give people guidelines as to what they can do to promote open access – not just in their own practice, but in their departments, promoting issues through social media, and so on. Or by contributing to the website, such as writing a blog or interviewing someone.

    We could decide on a framework and then recruit willing victims to write the copy for each section :-)

  16. Oh, Ted – I love the idea of open source projects. I’ve thought of this before. For example, Kate Fox’s book “Watching the English” apparently attracted quite a bit of criticism as people disagreed with her interpretation of English culture. I thought it could be interesting to do a second, collaborative version of the book in which changes are suggested and the public gets to vote on them. Or even a wiki-style cultural account. Another page for OAA perhaps?

  17. Adding to what Ted wrote, we should all be paying attention to the recent Mendeley/Elsevier rumors: http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/17/elsevier-mendeley-education/

    The pressing need isn’t for more OA journals or repositories, but rather to formulate arguments as to why “bibliometrics” should not be the measure of scholarship, and thus move to decouple knowledge production from easy judgment by the managerial class currently running the university.

    As long as it is possible for an administrator to glance at a dashboard (Mendeley’s product) and rank the value of someones work, there is little hope that a discipline like anthropology can ever be anything but marginal to the important discussions of the day…inside the university, at least.

  18. @Ted
    People use Microsoft Word because, for the most part, its a great piece of software, and because its document formats are already widely accepted. Knowing a little about how hard it is to put together good software, I think we should at least recognize that most users of software just want it to work and work well, and that a lot of open-source software simply hasn’t risen to that level. Notable exceptions are the tools that programmers use, which are overwhelmingly open-source and really quite good.

    That said, your comment strikes me as a little odd, at least when considered in other academic contexts. Mathematicians, computer scientists, and others regularly write their academic papers using typesetting and document processing technologies like LaTeX, and tools based on LaTex (e.g. LyX). They collaborate using open source version tracking systems like Git or Subversion, not to mention other tools like Wikis and real-time collaborative text-editing. The tools are there for people to use…so I guess the question is, why isn’t anthropology using them?

  19. Michael, I absolutely get your point, and it’s definitely important to assess how work is being valued: publishing, public engagement, teaching, and so on should all be on the table as valuable contributions. But I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the advantage of concentrating on open access. Administrators pay attention to where the funds are coming from; funding bodies are increasingly requiring research results to be publicly disseminated in some form or another. Universities can’t afford to ignore this and may well be forced to modify their performance measures. To me, this feels kind of like not bothering to argue with your line manager and defecting to another business. Bypassing the system can sometimes be the best way to alter its effects.

  20. @Jacob
    You write that:
    “People use Microsoft Word because, for the most part, its a great piece of software, and because its document formats are already widely accepted.”

    Which makes my point about hegemony exactly. it is a “great piece of software” precisely because it is widely accepted–not the other way around. Microsoft tell us what features are important, then provides them.

    Also, you say that:
    “I think we should at least recognize that most users of software just want it to work and work well, and that a lot of open-source software simply hasn’t risen to that level. ”
    I’ll grant you that there aren’t open-source opportunities for everything, which I would say is one reason we need to demand them. I use LibreOffice almost exclusively for word processing and haven’t found any problems with it, except that formatting sometimes gets skewed when I save things in .docx format. Which wouldn’t be a problem, except that the institutionalized standard for documents in Anthropology is a commercially controlled one that is subject to the development whims of the Microsoft corporation.

    I think this is completely related to the lack of (and devaluation of) open-access publishing models. The dominant system is one that only “sees” things that can be monetized effectively. As someone said at a recent conference where I was conducting research, if it isn’t monetized it doesn’t exist.

  21. @Erin

    Of course, developing OA journals is the only ethical way forward.

    But, the best intentioned political commitments won’t save anyone from judgement by a managerial class concerned with impact factors and h-indexes. In that environment OA is just another variable to plug into the equation. And that is exactly the significance of the Mendeley/Elsivier rumors. Mendeley indexes 340+ million documents from all imaginable sources.

    @Jacob

    You make a nice point about Git, LaTex and wikis. Those tools are out there and in heavy use by some disciplines.

  22. Once again a great discussion of OA, and OS. Ted, thanks for suggesting Gephi. I think I’ve been looking for something like this! Erin … love your outline of what should be done on OAA — very concrete. I see there’s a “Why Open Access” and Self-Archiving How-to — now there needs to be a “Open Access How-to” for people who need more information, kept up to date with info such as the “the recent Mendeley/Elsevier rumors” (I’ll have to read up on this). On the other hand, your comment about doing a collaborative ethnography reminded me of David Mosse’s paper, *Anti-social anthropology?* http://ceas.iscte.pt/ethnografeast/David%2520Mosse/jrai_371.pdf (is this “green” OA?), in which he describes trying to first obtain and then deal with feedback to drafts of his ethnography of a development project. He concludes that collaborative ethnography would be difficult, if not impossible.

  23. I have reviewed scores of files while on Personnel Committees, and hundreds of files on hiring committees at Chico State, a mid-level state university which values both teaching and research. Institutions like this do perhaps 80% of the academic hiring for tenure track in the United States. Rarely have I heard a comment about the relative ranking of a journal, though it helped if it was peer reviewed. As long as a journal is scholarly, which typically means peer reviewed, I can’t imagine the fact that it is open-access or not being much of an issue.

    Likewise, at universities like Chico, while you need a research program and publication, teaching quality is the foremost consideration.

    I know that the Research I universities who produce the vast majority of PhDs pay finer attention to journal rankings, etc. If that rings their bell, they should go for it–it is just too bad that they pass along this culture to their graduate students.

    As for Open Access, I can’t imagine why you would want a publication behind a pay wall. The point in publishing in the first place is to get as many people in your community to read and consider your ideas, and paywalls are just one more hassle to keep them away. Publishers do provide a service in distribution to academic libraries, but in the world of Google, how much longer can they maintain their monopoly?

  24. Tony, well said!

    Karen, I’m glad you like my ideas. Thanks for the link, I hadn’t seen that paper. I suppose that what I more had in mind was open consultation. Say I wanted to write a book about “Australian culture” (which I have no plans to do). I nut out my ideas in a draft form, then appeal to some of the largest radio stations to get involved. I get on the radio and talk about my ideas about what Australian culture might be, and invite feedback. The radio hosts keep the conversation going all week, and the project also has a website where anyone can leave comments and volunteer to take part. As the research goes on, I get on the radio regularly to update everyone on what we’ve found out, and to create debate around specific, contentious points. A draft of the final publication is put on the website, also for people to read and comment on. A tonne of data – the majority, in fact – is collected through these public engagements. In the end, you have a book that might have a couple of lead authors but actually is the work of many people. Anyone know of examples where this has been done?

  25. Chuck, I went to your website of “open access” journal and right away found two that required subscription or payment. So I’m wondering what your definition of open access is.

  26. I long ago came to the realization that the academic paper chase is a highly demeaning and destructive system of endlessly deferred rewards. You get sucked in early and don’t get that you’ve been had until it’s too late to get out of the game. And don’t let yourself be misled. Some of the most bitter and disappointed people I know are those who’ve “made it” all the way to tenure but nevertheless feel disappointed and cheated by the system.

    After a very bitter dispute with a dept. chairman who saw me as “the enemy” because I was attempting to get him (and the Dean enabling him) to take affirmative action rules seriously, and exposed his efforts to cheat by listing a black woman grad student as faculty, I decided to get out, and I’ve never regretted it. I won that battle, by the way. His appointment as dept. head was not renewed, but my appointment as Asst. Prof. was. No matter. I realized by that point that there was no future for me in the academic world. I wound up teaching part time from then on, which gave me time for the various creative and scholarly projects that interested me most.

    Since then I’ve presented my original music, my films, poetry, media and installation art and other creative projects in leading venues worldwide, and also managed to publish scholarly papers on topics that interested me, some in leading journals, others on my own websites, as my own brand of open source. (See, for example: http://doktorgee.worldzonepro.com/home.htm and also http://soundingthedepths.blogspot.com/)

    So, yes, there ARE alternatives. But believe me you have to be very confident in your own worth, and very tough, and I believe that over the years I’ve turned out to be both. Maybe just a wee bit overconfident, to be honest. But what the Hell, I’m a happy man.

  27. @Jason Baird Jackson: thanks for the words of support. Much appreciated.

    Extending my previous observation/comment on coercion, prestige, and the forces working against open access (and less oppressive, top-down academic practices more generally):
    “Instead of encouraging their faculty to make their work widely available, virtually all universities send the unmistakable message to current and aspiring faculty that success in their career depends on publishing in the most high profile place you can. Since the most prestigious journals are generally old, this edict has the effect of stifling innovation in scientific communication. While countless alternatives to the traditional model have arisen, academics in most fields are reluctant to embrace them, fearing that doing so would harm their career prospects.”
    http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2013/01/25/how-academia-betrayed-and-continues-to-betray-aaron-swartz/

  28. Ryan, after posting the previous comment, it occurred to me that there is an interesting link, via the Berkeley Blog excerpt I linked to, between this open acess post (and the general question of ‘open access’) and Rex’s last two posts on Jared Diamond and Matt’s “Humans and the Animals Without History” post, all of which seem to be circling a bundle of questions around knowledge production in the university and how it is to be disseminated and who should be able to produce this (anthropological and historical) knowledge and who should have access to it.

    One some level I guess we are coming back to the conjoined question of what is anthropology and what is the point of anthropological knowledge, who is it for? I’m thinking about this, for one, in relation to charges, via critiques of Diamond, that being a ‘popularizer’ of anthropology is often a pejorative ascription, which is funny in light of all the conversations on open access. I think this is what I am finding striking about the quote above, so as to ask myself: What is the real purpose of anthropology and anthropological knowledge? Career and conventional prestige? Or something else? And where do anxieties about ‘pooularizers’ fit in? What might they reveal about how this question is being answered relative to larger academic concerns around career/prestige? Isn’t open access a form of popularization, after all? Just wondering and thinking aloud.

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