The Missing Forty Years

There is a lot of great anthropology published all over the world, but most anthropologists are, iirc, anglophone, and the biggest center of anglophone publishing is the American Anthropological Association. If you think about it, the AAA has actually been pretty good about opening up some its content: all AAA publications prior to 1965 are in the public domain, and all AAA publications after 2005 are governed by an author agreement that allows authors to deposit post-prints on their websites or other repositories.

What this means to Wiley-Blackwell is that they think no-one is going to subscribe to their database for the old stuff, and they assume few enough people will free their work such that open access competes with them for market share. For us, however, it means something slightly different: in terms of moving forward on OA issues in the AAA, the next step is to target those ‘missing 40 years’ from 1965 to 2005.

I’ve asked some people in AAA to see if they can hunt down the author agreement for those years (which I hope they’ll be able to do) to see if there’s a way to let people free posts from that period, but I wonder what else we can do to get at those 40 missing years. Any ideas?


Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at

3 thoughts on “The Missing Forty Years

  1. Question: did the AAA control all subsection journals in the same way during this period, or was there a gradual process of consolidation which might give more room for manoever with certain subsection journals?

  2. So this is only marginally related to the query… but it has come to my attention that there are at least a handful of small subsection journals, newsletters really, but containing original research, that now have to pay to be included in anthrosource. This is so far beyond idiocy that I can barely see when I say it, but apparently there are people in the AAA, publishing journals, whose work is either not covered nor accessible under the WB contract.

    Off topic, as I say, but it raises a more general point which is that we really need to see a copy of the contract with WB. I mean, we really really need to know what’s in that document, or else we have no way to even imagine what the future of publishing inside or outside of AAA looks like. Can we get WikiLeaks on this somehow 🙂

  3. We need to get a Seasoned Veteran who’s obsessive about filing to go dig some up for us. Any Season Veterans lurking in the wings out there?

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