Last month HAU and Cultural Anthropology published a proposal for an open access anthropology publishing cooperative written by Alberto Corsín Jiménez, John Willinsky, Dominic Boyer, Giovanni da Col and Alex Golub. The American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) current contract with Wiley-Blackwell expires at the end of 2017 and the organization announced recently that it would be inviting publishers to bid for the business of publishing its 22 titles. Addressed to the AAA, and conceptualized as an OA alternative to its current model, the proposal for a publishing cooperative has stirred up a considerable amount of conversation on social media and on anthropology blogs. To find out more about the proposal, I got in touch with and posed a few questions to two of its authors, Giovanni da Col, the founder and editor of HAU, and Alberto Corsín Jiménez, Associate Professor in Social Anthropology in the Department of the History of Science at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid.
ER: Tell me a little about the background for this proposal. How did it come together?
CDG & ACJ: The idea of a cooperative is the natural development of the model launched by HAU through its Network of Ethnographic Theory in 2011 and adopted more recently by other open access initiatives such as Cultural Anthropology and The Open Library of Humanities. We are proposing a no-brainer model for reinventing academic publishing. Rather than having thousands of institutions forced to buy expensive bundles from corporate publishers with revenues over 40%, we can have a limited numbers of institutions paying a smaller amount to guarantee the rest of the world free access to top-notch disciplinary research.
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