Archive for December, 2008

self-archiving and anthropology v2

The original self-archiving and anthropology post I wrote reads like an attack on the Mana’o repository, based on a single email server issue. I consider the original post one of my worst (the post is one of those written-in-the-moment blog specials that did not turn out so well). After re-sending my emails to the repository, and successfully incorporating one of my professors articles into the archive, I can say they do an amazing job and I’m amazed at how simple the process is.

I checked out the copyright legalities before sending in the article, but this was unnecessary as the project team does all this work for you. It really is as easy as sending an email, with the desired work one wants to be self archived attached.

Many thanks to the Mana’o Project for making self-archiving so easy for anthropologists! Now I have an excellent example to convince more professors to embrace OA.

Happy holidays

Writing about online anthropology from the comfort of a beautiful beach in Mexico… Yes, I happen to have made the beach my armchair and will relish in it as long as possible.

Wireless internet is growing at a phenomenal rate. I worried about carrying my notebook with me. I imagined hippies sneering at me as I typed away on their sacred sands.  Well, I’m sure some are… But to my surprise wireless internet can be found everywhere, as can tourists with notebooks. The lonely planet trade routes are now filled with wired internet junkies like myself.

But this isn’t a ‘vacation’, it’s a ‘writing vacation’. So sneer away hippies, I’m quite happy checking my email in the middle of a desert, and don’t feel the technology-environment confrontation. Okay, obviously theres some guilt here or I wouldn’t even have mentioned it. There is something funny about notebook carrying travelers, especially when we outnumber the lonely planet hippies.

January looms and with it comes the thesis writing seminar class, probably developed with the purpose of making room for the new, by giving a kick in the ass to the old.

Happy holidays everyone. In the meantime check out,

The Shoe-In protest against the war.  I wish I could have been there, but alas while the protesters enjoyed -12 degrees, I chose to sit passively on a beach. A big thanks to all involved and I’ll be there next time. Max keeps us up to date here.

Greg Laden’s “The Seasons Greetings Edition of Oekologie, The Blog Carnival”.

Neuroanthropology is working on a best of anthropology 2008 blog compilation. They ask for your favourite post, and your most popular post. I meant to send my submission in today, but it’s such a complicated thing to do. I’d take any suggestions. Submission deadline the 28th I believe.

a proposal revisited

Getting lost is part of a great adventure, but finding a path again took quite some effort. Part of this involved rewriting the introduction to my thesis proposal, as a way of tightening up the projects goals.

INTRODUCTION

This research will examine how the internet is fueling change in anthropology, looking at how anthropologists share knowledge online. In this way the research will focus on the culture of publishing in anthropology – paying special attention to the role of new communication technologies. Through online participation, interviews and small surveys, the research will explore what is unique about new communication mediums and how they are changing anthropology. As an ethnographic project it will explore ways of participating and engaging online communities of anthropologists. Unlike traditional projects, this research will be shared publicly on a blog as a way of engaging others to share their thoughts and opinions while the research progresses. The blog will serve as a field site created to invite collaborators to share their own perspectives, and in doing so it will explore opportunities and challenges of online collaboration. This experience will serve as an interesting backdrop to investigate traditional publishing. What happens to anthropology when it serves different audiences?

To inform this question the project will investigate the motivations researchers have for publishing in particular venues. Who are they writing for, and where? A series of stories, informed through interviews, will detail individual researchers publishing experiences. This will form a backdrop to look at new publication opportunities online, and it will investigate the choices anthropologists make to disseminate and develop their ideas. This will touch on issues of peer review, authority, tenure opportunity and discipline, as well as issues of audience, distribution and production of anthropological work, accessibility, and style. It will highlight new participants, new audiences, and new ways of speaking in anthropology.

The research will be carried out online and at Concordia University. Blog interactions, interviews with researchers, and email surveys, will serve to inform current issues surrounding the dissemination of anthropological work. A major goal of this project will be to engage anthropologists in debates surrounding public engagement and accessibility to knowledge.

Resistance Studies Magazine on Sharing Knowledge

I just got a Facebook update from Resistance Studies Magazine. In it, editor Christopher Kullenberg discusses the issue of access to information and internet regulation:

”  – For centuries the printing press has not only been a gate-keeper for the distribution of knowledge, it has also been fragile towards censorship, and highly dependent on economical interests. Of course, some actors in the media industries wish to conserve this order. The internet allows for the Resistance Studies Magazine to distribute articles globally, without spending more than a few Euros to host our site. Academic knowledge does not have to be trapped in the claws of anti-market institutions, such as the great publishing houses. We can destabilize these power-relations by way of creativity and sharing. As long as the Internet is uncensored, which unfortunately is not the case, not in Sweden, and not in other countries either, anyone can download our articles for free. In the long run, this European Union directive will lead only to building protective walls against the free transfer of knowledge.”

Just tagging these quotes away to support the upcoming thesis writing marathon. Be sure to check out the magazine online, and if your interested they also have a call for papers detailed on the magazines website (which happens to make great use of blog style – posting frequent information updates).


self-archiving study

[some notes I thought I'd share]

Reading Response:

Open access self-archiving: An author study (2005)

Swan, Alma and Sheridan Brown, Key Perspectives Limited

Key Perspectives Ltd “was set up in 1996 to provide high quality market research and consultancy services to the scholarly information industry.”

This survey involved 1296 respondents, the responses from an email list of 25,000.

In part deals with “…author experiences and opinions on publishing in open access journals…” (p1)

reasons for publishing OA:

  • “principle of free access for all”
  • seen as way to reach larger audience
  • way to publish more rapidly
  • or even considered more prestigious than toll journals

reasons for not publishing oa:

  • “unfamiliar with any [oa journals] in their field”
  • no OA journal covering field/topic

This study, one of many Key Perspectives has produced, focuses on self-archiving.

Ways to self-archive:

  1. institutional repository
  2. subject-based repository
  3. personal/institutional website → most popular

“Self-archiving activity is greatest amongst the most prolific authors, that is, those who publish the largest number of papers.” (p6)

“There is still a substantial proportion of authors unaware of the possibility of providing open access to their work by self-archiving. Of the authors who have not yet self-archived any articles, 71% remain unaware of the option.” (p6)


“Nevertheless, the evidence there is to hand points to the likelihood that the peaceful – and perhaps mutually beneficial – co-existence of traditional journals and open access archives is entirely possible; in biological terms, mutualism, rather than parasitism or symbiosis, might best describe the relationship.” (p11)

As the recent release of Anthropology Now magazine shows, there are still new journals/publication outlets being formed under the traditional tole-access business model. Anthropology Now seems to give some OA to articles as they first appear, but controversy abounds as to its true nature given that it also has a subscription page and asks for help promoting it to libraries.  See Jason Baird Jackson’s post on his blog.

“in the vast majority of cases (over 90% is the latest estimate9,10) the publisher expressly permits an author to self-archive their own final draft – the version that was finally submitted to the publisher after peer review revisions and recommendations have been incorporated.” (p10)


“We know from Key Perspectives Ltd the work reported here and elsewhere17,18 that authors publish primarily to communicate their research findings to their peers, so that they can be built upon in future research efforts. Depositing an article at the time of acceptance for publication also means that the inevitable delay at the publisher before the article finally appears in the journal is immaterial – the article is already available to anyone who wants to read it and use it for their work. The research cycle is thus shortened. And of course, the article is available to all interested parties, not just to readers in institutions that can afford the journal in which it is published.” (p12)

Interesting to incorporate anthropology specific arguments for opening up readership – “speaking back at anthropologists”


“Previous surveys by KPL1,2,17,18 and others22 have indicated that there is a substantial level of ignorance within the scholarly community with respect to open access, both open access journals and self-archiving. Those respondents who had not self-archived their work by any means were asked whether they were aware of the possibility of providing open access to their work in this way.

Twenty nine percent of them were aware of this and 71% were not.” (p 50)


“80% of self-archivers have deposited their articles themselves; in 19% of cases the library staff archived articles for them and in 10% of cases this was carried out by students or assistants.”

Go assistants go!

“Some employers, such as Queensland University of Technology in Australia29, and some research funders (the Wellcome Foundation has announced a mandatory self-archiving policy for its own grant-holders21) see the benefit of providing open access by self-archiving to the research carried out under their auspices and have elected to mandate this activity. On the whole, though, employers and research funders have as yet not chosen to go down this path. Only 4% of the self-archivers in this present study say that they are required to make their work open access in this way, and 86% of these people are from Southampton University School of Electronics & Computer Science which has had a mandate in place since January 2003.” (p69)

I have been pretty focussed on individual choices, and individual publishing experiences. Perhaps I’ve been too focussed on authors themselves, and should spend more time looking at institutional policies as mentioned above. If institutions begin to mandate OA, than it won’t matter what pushes anthropologists to publish OA or not, since they will have to. I wonder what kinds of deliberation have gone on at Concordia about this.

“A lack of awareness is also seen with respect to open access-related issues generally, as has been shown in previous studies.” (p77)

Hopefully this project can help scratch at the awareness issue…


“The more prolific an author – that is, the more articles s/he publishes – the more likely they are to self-archive their work on websites or in institutional repositories. It is likely, therefore, that as greater numbers of the most productive authors become aware of self-archiving the number of articles in open access repositories will rise quite steeply.

One teacher I have who has been a very generous collaborator is also a prolific author. It’s true that he/she has self-archived a large number of articles. This goes against what I said about part-time being more open to self-archiving since their publications didn’t lead to tenure… In this case, more publications -> more self archiving.  Also, all self-archiving I’ve seen has been on personal websites – which this study claims is the most popular route. I’ll try and get more people onto Mana’o this week.

The caveat here is that issue of awareness. Awareness of self-archiving amongst those who have not carried out this activity remains low, though scholars in the disciplines of library and information science, computer science, physics and mathematics are better informed than those in other subjects. But there are still many scholars who remain unaware of self-archiving and still others who, though aware, have not elected to undertake the activity, at least so far.” (p78)

This provides some nice support for the advocacy and engagement side of my research project. I’ve succeeded in raising the open access issue with a number of teachers, and will continue to do so.

The amount of material on OA Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown have produced is awesome to say the least. I’ll be commenting more on it soon, but for now I’ll have to settle for scribbled notes and quotes]

Big thanks to Olivier Charboneau for suggesting these articles!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35 other followers