by Jonathan H. Harwell, Georgia Southern University
There’s quite a kerfuffle out there this week, on two fronts. Both are related to the economics of journal publishing. First, on Jan. 12, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) responded to the White House’s call for public comment about “public access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from federally funded research.” The AAA spoke against the idea. This has steamed anthropologists (see the posts and comments at blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/2012/01/31/american-anthropological-association-takes-public-stand-against-open-access/ and http://savageminds.org/2012/01/31/how-do-we-mobilize-anthropologists-to-support-open-access/) and librarians. Some librarians are discussing it online, with talk of revoking AAA memberships and canceling subscriptions. (By the way, there is a movement toward open-access publishing in anthropology; check out this journal, also with a Facebook presence.)
Meanwhile, academics (mainly non-librarians in this case) have called for a boycott of Elsevier, spurred by a Jan. 21 blog post from a Cambridge mathematician. Elsevier has responded via the Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/As-Journal-Boycott-Grows/130600/), and librarians are having their say as well.