Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
I have lived in five cities. They all have their charms and I have a sense of connection to all of them, but Tulsa is special for lots of reasons. The internet means that I can listen to the Tulsa public radio station (KWGS is great) and keep up with the museum exhibitions at Philbrook and Gilcrease that I usually do not get to see. I read the Tulsa World with enough regularity to be permanently irritated with those who comment on the stories there, but I feel obligated to keep up what is going on in the city where my adult sensibilities and career came into focus and where so many friends live. I am excited to hear about positive changes downtown in Tulsa and in the arts and culture scene, in alternative media, and with the struggling sustainability cause. Even as members at a distance, Amy and I get a tremendous amount from staying connected to our synagogue there. And Tulsa is a great, vibrant corner of Indian Country.
People are what make Tulsa and Northeast Oklahoma exceptional and friends there are why my head and at least some of my heart lives there. Outstanding among many outstanding Tulsans was Scott Zarrow, who died today. This a terrible loss for his family, for Tulsa, and the world. Scott was an amazing community leader from a family synonymous for selfless community-mindedness. As everyone in Tulsa knows, the city and region are so much better places because of the contributions that the Zarrow family, with Scott prominent among its members, have made to the improvement everyone’s quality of life.
The Tulsa World‘s story about Scott cannot do justice to his life and works, but it is a good start for those who did not know him.
May the memory of the righteous be for a blessing.
I am very happy to be again visiting the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. Over the weekend, I participated in a wonderful conference on the “Anthropology of Performance” organized by the industrious undergraduate students in the Department of Anthropology here. The conference included work in all four of anthropology’s four sub-fields, plus folklore studies and social psychology. The student presentations were outstanding. The number of soon to finish students reporting on nearly complete senior theses was amazing and the quality of their research and presentations was very impressive. Congratulations to the students and to the faculty and advisers who are supporting them.
Today I get to reconnect with my friends at the library here. I will be participating in a very promising event on “Open Research and Learning: Collaboration, Connections, and Communities.” The event includes an amazing group of people. David Ernst, Director of Academic Technology in the UM College of Education and Human Development will discuss open textbooks. Astronomer Lucy Fortson will discuss open data, and University of Minnesota Press Director Doug Armato will discuss open publishing projects at the press. Copyright librarian Nancy Sims–whom you should certainly be following on Twitter (@CopyrightLibn)–will be the moderator. I will be talking about the ways that open access projects foster richer forms of scholarly collaboration. I am really looking forward to it and I am thankful that the kind invitation from the anthropology students has allowed me to reconnect with the scholarly communications community at Minnesota. Thank you to all of the faculty and researchers who have signed up for today’s event. Information on the event is online here.
In the Chronicle of Higher Education Hugh Gusterson has published what I think is a clear and useful account of the recent “science” in anthropology dust-up from his perspective as a member of the American Anthropological Association Executive Board. Many excellent scholars have devoted themselves to trying to make sense of this recent event (generally known by the rather harsh twitter hashtag #aaafail). I appreciated those (especially anthropologists writing online) who addressed the issue thoughtfully.
In addition to being another contribution to the AAA science discussion, Gusterson’s piece is useful as a brief (ethnographic) description of the work of the board in a practical sense. Discussing a range of issues that were on the board’s plate at the time that the revised plan document was approved (issues that seemed more pressing and important that the fateful language changes), Gusterson says the following:
…most of our time in the executive-board meeting, was given over to issues that many of us saw as more urgent than the long-range-planning statement: a detailed review of the association’s budget in a time of national recession; a discussion of our publishing model in a context in which most of the association’s journals operate at a loss and their content is increasingly available free via the Web; an analysis of our publishing partnership with Wiley-Blackwell; a briefing on the introduction of a multimillion-dollar computer program to facilitate the association’s business; a conversation about recurrent issues in organizing the annual meeting and issues that had already arisen with regard to next year’s meeting, in Montreal; a discussion of the search for a new editor of our flagship journal, American Anthropologist; a performance evaluation of the association’s executive director and the staff he oversees; and a tricky discussion about whether, or how, to make available as an archival document a 10-year-old official report of the association’s that had since been repudiated by the membership through a ballot.
This is a complex statement in a complex narrative and I urge readers to consult the original for context. I am interested here only in the passage given in bold (emphasis added). It is unique as a rare glimpse into Executive Board discussions of the AAA publishing program.
It would be possible to discuss the “journals operate at a loss” part. Much discussion among concerned observers of the AAA publishing program has gone into the financial side of this statement and pondering what it would mean to say that the journals operate at a loss. It is a complex matter and I am not going engage with it here. (Put simply, there are ways of talking about the program that frame it as profitable and there are ways of talking about the program that frame it as loosing money.)
The much less discussed matter is the “their content is increasingly available free via the Web” part. This issue is hardly the focus of Gusterson’s essay and thus I do not want to go overboard, but his account does suggest that this too was a focus of extensive board discussion. If so, that is interesting. What might it mean to say that much AAA journal content is available free on the web?
The AAA and its publishing partner Wiley charge for access to AAA journal content. The AAA itself is not making it freely available on the web. Officially, the AAA has (as a result of the work of member-advocates during the AnthroSource planning period) a “green” author agreement that does allow authors to post manuscript pre-prints and post-prints online (in institutional repositories, most importantly). It does not (unless something has changed) allow the posting of final publisher’s versions (ex: the final typeset PDF). (See SHERPA/RoMEO for details on the status of the agreement and the meaning of “green,” “pre-print,” and “post-print.”)
More and more AAA journal content probably can be found on the web, but almost none of it has been placed there in accord with the terms of the (rather generous) AAA author agreement. A growing number of AAA authors (some knowingly, some unknowingly) have chosen to make available publishers versions of their articles (etc.) via personal websites or, in some cases, to slip such materials into formal repositories (contrary to repository policies on respecting copyright, in most cases). I have no way of knowing, but my perception is that only a tiny proportion of AAA authors are using tools such as the Science Commons Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine to produce and utilize addendum to the AAA author agreement to allow the kinds of uses of the publisher version that are easily found on the open web.
Possibility one is that the AAA Executive Board, as reflected in Gusterson’s comments, recognizes and is discussing the matter that I have just evoked. That would be interesting. If so, the matter is probably still under consideration (given that there have been no visible actions on this front). From a process point of view, the Executive Board could: (1) change the author agreement to bring it into line with the (not actually legal) practices of more and more AAA authors, (2) begin a process of (a) educating the membership about what they are allowed to circulate on the open web (pre- and post-prints) and not allowed to circulate (published versions) and (b) going after those who are in violation of their signed author agreements (cease and desist letters, take down notices, prosecution, etc.), or (3) recognize the growing gap between law and practice but stay silent about the matter and accept the costs (lawlessness, confusion, erosion of the adopted business model) in exchange for avoiding a new domain of conflict within the association.
A different thing might be happening too. The discussion that I am imagining might be underway might not actually be under way yet. It might be that the board–like most of the membership–does not yet understand such distinctions as those between pre-prints, post-prints, and publishers versions and their association with terms of art such as green or yellow OA. In this scenario, the board may not realize the massive levels of non-compliance with the author agreement that are becoming characteristic. That there are AAA insiders who themselves appear to be out of compliance with their own author agreements suggests that this may be the case. If this is so, it is unfortunate (but fixable) because knowing the actual terms of art and the actual frameworks in which our publishing work happens is a prelude to effective discussion and policy making.
If Gusterson is right and AAA-owned articles are freely available on the web, then it has to do with the implementation or non-implementation of Executive Board policy. The conversation would be different if 100% of AAA authors were carefully and lawfully exercising their rights to post pre- or post-prints and the field was discovering that it could get along without the value added work associated with final journal production. This might lead to a situation like that found in parts of physics, where a real open access culture built around the circulation of pre-prints had arisen (see Arxiv). What we have now is a situation in which Gusterson is kind of right, but that this situation is a consequence of a mix of misunderstanding or disobedience in an environment in which too few rank and file anthropologists understand the framework in which they are operating.
Elsewhere in the scholarly communications system, copyright holders are increasingly using strong digital rights management technologies to stop the proliferation of in-copyright journal articles on the open web. As an advocate for open access scholarly communication, that is the last thing that I would wish to advocate for the AAA, but I also am a believer in having, knowing, and following sensible rules that we can all live with. If AAA authors are going continue doing what they are now doing (and it has numerous upsides and numerous downsides), I would like them to know that they are breaking their author agreements or, if the AAA Executive Board does not see what they are doing as breaking their author agreements, then the Board should clarify (in SHERPA/RoMEO and in public declarations) that the AAA policy explicitly allows the free circulation by authors of their publisher versions in not-for-profit ways on the open web.
If the Executive Board wishes to slow or even stop the circulation of AAA owned intellectual property outside the subscription and pay-per-view frameworks that it has put into place, it has the power to do so. If it instead wishes to foster such free circulation, there are strategies that can be adopted towards such ends as well, but they are out of alignment with our business model. Now we have, in some ways, the worst of all possible worlds with some people reading and (over) complying with their author agreements (and thus, in practice, not sharing online at all [even though they could via pre- and post-prints]), some people misunderstanding their author agreements and doing things that they shouldn’t, and others adopting an “I’ll do what I want until someone tells me to stop.” approach. Legal anthropologists have plenty of experience with such gray zone situations, but they also are aware of the costs and harm that they can produce.
If AAA copyrighted material are going to purposefully circulate on the open web outside the subscription and pay-per-view framework, the best way for this to happen is in an environment in which rights are clear and in a framework in which authors are encouraged to place their materials (pre-prints, post-prints, or published versions as allowed for) in robust, durable, and interoperable repositories (whether subject or institutional ones) rather than posting them to transitory departmental and personal websites. I understand the case against (and for) the proliferation of such green OA circulation. The state of actual practices, association business choices, and the (often misunderstood) existing author agreement point to an association-wide discussion that is still not happening in any widespread way. As Gusterson’s comment suggests, perhaps it has begun in the Executive Board.
For news of OA book pubishing at the University of Ottawa Press, see: http://poynder.blogspot.com/2010/08/university-of-ottawa-press-launches-oa.html
This is my first attempt at using SlideShare.
From an IU India Studies Press Release:
The Indiana University India Studies Program Presents:
The Art of Dress in Modern India
A faculty lecture by
Associate Professor of Folklore
Pravina Shukla is Associate Professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University, where she teaches courses on dress, adornment, and body art, museums, food, and material culture. Her museum experience has included working at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, California, and at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City. Two research topics that have interested her, resulting in extensive fieldwork, exhibitions, and publications, are: carnival costumes in Brazil, and dress and body adornment in India. She is the author of The Grace of Four Moons: Dress, Adornment and the Art of the Body in Modern India (Indiana University Press, 2008.) Her current research topic is on the various cultural uses of costumes.
Two-time winner of the Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award, Professor Shukla has lectured on material culture, dress and adornment within the United States, and also in India, Bangladesh, Canada, and Israel.
Friday, November 7th at 5:30 pm
India Studies House, 825 East 8th Street (Corner of 8th and Woodlawn)
Free and open to the public
For more information, contact the India Studies Program
Thanks go to everyone who participated on Friday [4-18] and Saturday [4-19] in the symposium on dress and adornment that Suzanne Godby Ingalsbe, Pravina Shukla and I organized. The paper presentations were diverse, interesting and innovative and it was exciting to talk shop with faculty and students drawn from the IU departments of anthropology, apparel merchandising and interior design, folklore and ethnomusicology and history of art. In addition to the faculty and student presenters, thanks also go to those who came to take in, and comment upon, the presentations. While the Saturday events took place at the IU Memorial Union, the presentations on Friday were held at the Wylie House Museum, where our host was the museum’s director Jo Burgess and our kickoff activity was a tour (by Suzanne) of the new exhibition What Women Wore: Clothing and Accessories of the 19th Century. The Friday papers were a special treat, delivered as they were in the first floor of Wylie House. The house was dark enough to see the slides of the presenters, but it was open to the breeze and to just enough sunlight on a beautiful Bloomington afternoon. The experience was a great reminder of what a wonderful resource Wylie House is for the IU community.