Unresolved oppositions -
Alex Golub arguing toll-access publishing model is broken:
“If you think that making money by giving away content is a bad idea, you should see what happens when the AAA tries to make money selling it. To put it kindly, our reader-pays model has never worked very well. Getting over our misconceptions about open access requires getting over misconceptions of the success of our existing publishing program. The choice we are facing is not that of an unworkable ideal versus a working system. It is the choice between a future system which may work and an existing system which we know does not.”
Stacy Lathrop arguing the system isn’t broken:
“Reading through old AAA Bulletins, Newsletters and Reports, a reader quickly discovers that at times when the AAA has reached bumpy finances, decisions were made by the executive board to assure publications are sustainable.”
Stacy Lathrop on the extra costs many OA advocates ignore:
“Beyond that, an electronic publishing program should account for costs to market its electronic journals, for training users to use the new means of production, and for responding to users’ questions, problems and needs.”
This point really caught my attention – what kind of marketing does the AAA do for its journals? In the survey of students I held last year, students were only aware of a few key journals. Online, well… AnthroSource champions all the AAA journals?
I imagine there is a market of librarians to which most journals try to target with whatever marketing budget they have – going for subscription income. Any editors care to share how they allocate their marketing budget, and perhaps share numbers? ie: how much is spent marketing?
My own gut reaction:
I don’t think “anthropology” as a whole is very good at marketing anthropology, aside to itself. Part of my thesis was motivated from my life in the grad program, constantly explaining to my friends and acquaintances what anthropology is, and isn’t.
But perhaps the AAA publishing program is sustainable – but just barely. And in this rough environment the change to OA is seen as being too risky. But why aren’t they at least promoting self-archiving? Or turning Anthro Source into a real community driven site? (As Alex Golub and others have been pushing for).
Stacy Lathrop. 2007. “Friends, Why Are We Sinking?.” http://0-www.anthrosource.net.mercury.concordia.ca/doi/abs/10.1525/an.2007.48.4.7
Alex Golub. 2007. “With a Business Model Like This, Who Needs Enemies?.” http://0-www.anthrosource.net.mercury.concordia.ca/doi/abs/10.1525/an.2007.48.4.6