01 February 2012
There's been a lot of discussion lately about open access in academic anthropology publishing. See Savage Minds (here, here, and here), Neuroanthropology and Ethnografix for more details (sorry if I've missed any - feel free to leave links in the comments section). I wholeheartedly advocate for open access publishing - especially for anthropology. We are the one discipline that truly works with people (borrowing from Ingold). How can we honestly continue that tradition if our publications are hidden from view and locked behind university library system? I see no reason why open access journals can't be as high quality as their for-profit counterparts - in fact, it's certainly possible for them to be even higher quality if people are willing to put in the time and effort to make them so. I know that's the trouble, but it is possible, and if we value it, then we ought to do it.
As an up and coming academic, I'm willing to put my career on the line and promise to only publish in open access journals. Putting my career on the line is a very real threat, since many departments look for publications in key (generally not open access) journals such as American Anthropologist when hiring. However, I'm confident that the people who will be evaluating me will overlook those issues if they understand why I made this choice, and will evaluate my work on its own merits and not on the journal that publishes it. That said, I don't really know much about the OA landscape in anthropology journals. Right now, I have one article pending publication in Imponderabilia (which is OA), one in the works for O-Zone (which will be OA, but is not anthropology focused), and one on cultural resource management that I was considering submitting to Human Organization or Heritage and Society (neither of which are really open access), but if anyone knows of an OA journal I could submit to I'd be happy to reconsider.