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American Anthropological Association decides to be more Open

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Transition from the closed publishing model to Open Access is becoming more fashionable. The last few years saw numerous examples of such changes – both large and small, and it is good news when another publisher decides to join this trend.

This time, it is the American Anthropological Association. The AAA publishes more than 20 journals, none of which are open access. Currently their articles become freely accessible after 35 years. In science, 35 years is a millennium. However, next year this situation will be somewhat better.

The Association decided to liberate its Cultural Anthropology journal; it will switch to a fully open-access model. Brad Weiss, the society’s president, explains:

“Starting with the first issue of 2014, CA will provide worldwide, instant, free (to the user), and permanent access to all of our content (as well as 10 years of our back catalog); “Cultural Anthropology will be the first major, established, high-impact journal in anthropology to offer open access to all of its research”

The transition of Cultural Anthropology to OA is just the first step. The Association still has a contract with Wiley-Blackwell and will continue to offer Cultural Anthropology to library subscribers and to AAA members.

Still, however modest the change, it provides good evidence that Open Access is seen as the future shape of academic publishing, especially in the humanities and social sciences, where the change can lead to greater visibility and a higher level of citations of books and articles, which is critical for HSS researchers. I am very interested to see how this transition will affect the visibility of articles published in the Cultural Anthropology journal.

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