The announcement earlier this week that the journal Cultural Anthropology was going open access in 2014 has generated a lot of excitement in academic circles.
Cultural Anthropology is the journal of the Society for Cultural Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association. It is one of 22 journals published by the AAA, and it is widely regarded as one of the flagship journals of its discipline. The journal is edited by Charles D. Piot and Anne Allison, both professors of cultural anthropology at Duke University.
Here in the Libraries, we’re especially excited about this development, not only because it’s a great step in promoting broader access to academic research, but because we will be supporting the back end of the publication process.
In fact, this is the fourth peer-reviewed, open-access scholarly journal the Libraries are helping to publish. As part of a series of efforts at Duke to promote open access as an institutional priority, the Libraries piloted an open-access publishing service in 2011, starting with three journals: Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies (published in print since 1958); andererseits, a journal of Transatlantic German Studies; and Vivliofika, a journal of 18th-century Russian Studies.
The addition of Cultural Anthropology confirms the success of that pilot and takes the experiment to a new level. Cultural Anthropology is a major, high-impact journal read by scholars around the world. It is also one of the first flagship journals in the interpretive social sciences to transition to a fully open access model. (Although the push for open access has spread throughout medicine and the sciences, it has been slower to catch on in the humanities and social sciences.)
The Society for Cultural Anthropology recently redesigned the journal’s website, which will act as the front end of the online publication. (The new design nicely complements the print version distributed to subscribers.) But the back end of the editorial process will use a free, open-source platform known as Open Journal Systems that is hosted and managed by the Duke University Libraries.
The Open Journal Systems software was developed by the Public Knowledge Project, a partnership of Canadian and U.S. universities and libraries, specifically to manage the overhead of creating and sustaining academic journals. More than 11,500 scholarly journals currently use the software as their publishing platform.
Open Journal Systems is structured to help editors manage the publishing process, from receiving submissions to peer review, editing, layout, and publication. It allows both editors and contributors to track and manage articles as they move through the pipeline, so that the publication process is prompt, efficient, and transparent.
In recent years, as scholars have sought to increase the reach and impact of their work using new technologies, and universities and funding agencies have pushed for greater access to the research they support, open-access publishing has emerged as an alternative to the traditional fee- and subscription-based model of scholarly publishing, which limits access to those who can pay for it. “Libraries have always worked to increase access to information, and at Duke we’ve made a concerted effort to support emerging practices in scholarly communication,” said Paolo Mangiafico, Coordinator of Scholarly Communications Technology. “So we are glad to be able to partner with Duke scholars and their scholarly societies to experiment with new models to achieve these goals.”
- Statement from Society for Cultural Anthropology: “Cultural Anthropology will go Open Access in 2014”
- “American Anthropological Association Will Experiment With Open Access” (Chronicle of Higher Education)
- “Opening Doors” (Inside Higher Ed)
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