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Posts from the ‘Enclosure’ Category

Know Your Publisher: Annual Reports Edition #oaweek #oa

Have you read the annual reports for the largest commercial scholarly publishers? I have and I hope that you will too. These publishers generously make these key documents freely available on the open web. Here they are for some of the largest scholarly publishers, with a few notes of anthropological interest along the way.


As noted in its 2010 Annual Report, Springer established an agreement with the Anthropological Society of Paris.

Springer reported revenues of 866 million Euros for 2010. (about 1.2 billion dollars)

Annual Reports:

Reed Elsevier

While it did not note any specific anthropology oriented activities in its 2010 annual report, Reed Elsevier does publish a number of scientifically oriented anthropology journals.

Reed Elsevier reported revenues of 7 billion 84 million Euros for 2010 (about 10 billion dollars)

Annual Reports:

Informa (home to Taylor and Francis, which is home to Routledge)

While it did not note any specific anthropology oriented activities in its 2010 annual report, Informa does publish a variety of anthropology journals (Visual Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Anthropological Forum, etc.) and many relevant books via its Routledge unit.

Informa reported revenues of 1 billion 226.5 million Euros for 2010 (about 1.7 billion dollars)

Annual Reports:–Reporting/


I cannot find an annual report for Sage Publishers. I think that this is because they are not (I think) a publicly traded company. Big news for Sage was partnering with the American Sociological Association to publish its journals beginning in 2010. Sage publishes such anthropology journals as Critique of Anthropology, Field Methods, and Anthropological Theory.

Company Information:


Wiley is a central partner for a number of anthropology societies, including the Australian Anthropological Society, the American Anthropological Association, the Royal Anthropological Institute. They did not specifically note any anthropological activity in their annuall report for 2010.

Wiley reported revenues of 1 billion 699 million Dollars for 2010.

Annual Report:

Scholarly Communication and the Occupation of Everything

In the current context of global protest, economic failure and political transformation, anthropologists of many backgrounds are finding their voice and addressing the critical issues of the moment. For those with jobs that are being given the speedup treatment, it is hard to keep up with all of the thoughtful and provocative work being created and shared (especially online) right now. The evocative opening line of Jason Antrosio’s recent essay “Anthropology, Moral Optimism, and Capitalism: A Four-Field Manifesto” hints as the gestalt.

A spectre is stalking Capitalism–the spectre of Anthropology. All the Powers of Capitalism have bound themselves in a crusade against this spectre: the Florida Governor and the U.S. President, Dominique-Strauss Kahn and the IMF, Wall Street and Congress.

My thanks go to everyone who is tracking, discussing, fostering, and hosting these discussions. I hope other key nodes in the conversation will forgive me if I single out the Neuroanthropology bloggers Daniel Lende and Greg Downey for their vital work.

Open Access Week and Occupy Everything both continue and I still cannot muster time to read or say much. Rex Golub at Savage Minds is right when he observes that I always bury my lead. He might also note that I say everything too obliquely. So, for tonight, here is a restatement of my previous post in less opaque language.

Going forward from here, if your anthropological research tells you that large corporations are part of the problem, then please do not publish your discoveries or your proposals on this point in books and journals published by large corporations.


Open Access Week + Occupy Scholarly Communications #occupyscholcomm #oaweek

My job is eating my lunch at present so I have not yet had time to engage properly with open access week, which began today (well, yesterday since it just passed midnight where I am). Learn more from the Open Access Week website here ( ) and by searching “Open Access Week” on the open web and by looking for “open access week” and “#oaweek” on Twitter. Thankfully many good folks are working hard to get the word out.

If you think that the Occupy Wall Street (etc.) folks have anything like a point in their concerns about the unsustainable nature of the status quo or the need to acknowledge the influence that a small number of large corporations have in our lives and work, then the open access movement, together with the critique of, and efforts to reform, the scholarly communications system are for you. Above and beyond discussions of open access, a taste of the Occupy Scholarly Communications conversation can be found in Heather Morrison’s October 23, 2011 post “High Profits for Commercial Publishers-or Jobs for Academics Let’s #occupyscholcomm”

Next year, when open access week comes again, lets hope that some of the most vocal, articulate, and visible scholars working on questions of income inequality and corporate power will not have published their sophisticated accounts of emergent phenomena such as the Occupy movement with publishers like Polity (people Polity effectively = Wiley) and Palgrave-Macmillian or in journals owned wholly by Sage or Taylor and Francis. Our doing this occasionally is ironic and even kind of funny, but its starting to suggest that we actually do not get it, even when we get it.

Loans and Books: Two Brief Observations Made During the Student Debt Revolt

Many excellent graduate students with whom I have the honor of working receive only modest or no assistantship or fellowship aid. Historically, many have supported themselves in part during graduate school with government-backed student loans. This has always been a source of anxiety for me, but matters grew worse for U.S. students earlier this year when the major federal loan program changed its structure so that graduate students receiving such loans must begin paying them back immediately rather than after graduation. For students studying in the world in which I work, such a scenario is hardly possible. Even students with assistantships are just above the poverty line.

Meanwhile, more and more excellent scholarly resources ideal for the training of these students are being produced. But they are on the market at a price that no starving graduate student can afford and at which most professors would feel guilty assigning them. This reoccurring thought returned to me when I noted the publication of a very impressive looking ethnobiology textbook. It was also on my mind when I spoke last week to an editor of what promises to be the absolutely essential handbook for folklore studies. That volume will be rich beyond measure, but at 680 pages and 29 cents per page how will any of us afford to purchase it? If my library can afford it, I plan to sit and read it cover to cover in the stacks. Excellent scholars are producing excellent work, but the business model fails us, or at least our students.

A glimmer of hope came during the #AFS11 meetings. A group of folklorists have begun discussions aimed at creating an free and open access textbook for undergraduate folklore studies. One possible publication platform being discussed is connexions centered at Rice University. Hopefully folklore studies can become a leading field in the cultivation of Open Educational Resources. I cannot see how we can continue down the path that we are heading.

AAA Renews its Co-Publishing Arrangement with Wiley-Blackwell

In the most recent issue of Anthropology News, Deborah Nichols and Oona Schmid confirm what was expected, that the AAA Executive Board has entered into a new five-year c0-publishing agreement with Wiley-Blackwell. The aspect that scholarly communications watchers were most interested in was the matter of terms. Nichols and Schmid report that the agreement (through 2017) is “under identical terms” to the current arrangement.

See:  Deborah Nichols and Oona Schmid (2011) The Present and Future of AAA Publishing. Anthropology News. 52(7):15.

Regular People Don’t Need Access to Scholarship

In his widely circulated counter-rant, titled “Uninformed, Unhinged, and Unfair–The Monbiot Rant,” Kent Anderson, publisher of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and the Editor-in-Chief of The Scholarly Kitchen, attacks George Monbiot’s 29 August 2011 Guardian article “Academic Publishers Make Murdock Look Like a Socialist.” Fundamental to his argument is claiming that Monbiot is mistaken to believe that non-scholars need access to scholarly knowledge to be engaged citizens. He wants to show that non-specialists do not need access to specialist knowledge and one way to do this is to show that if they had such access that they would not know what to do with it. To achieve this rhetorical effect, he quotes from a scholarly paper in medicine discussing “inthrathoracic herniation of the liver” and makes the case that only deep specialists could make any sense of it. He notes: “Specialist knowledge is a prerequisite.”

This thread in the argument–and he is not alone in making such a case–is just bogus. While social work, history, law, education (consider the literature on home-schooling, for instance) and countless other fields have scholarly literatures of immediate relevance to, and that are understandable by, literate members of the non-scholarly community, it is easiest to illustrate my point with work in ethnographic fields like folklore studies and anthropology.

It would have been particularly fun to look deeply enough and to find a lost or not-so-lost relative of Kent Anderson’s who has been a consultant for ethnographic research that has gone on to be published, but a more generic example will serve. The the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery is published outside Boston, MA. Lets assume that someone associated with the journal actually lives and works there. A hypothetical worker in the JBJS workplace hears, at a family reunion, that an important member of the family had a scholarly article written about them back in the 1970s. Curious (they are writing a family history, after all) they get online and they discover the paper about a beloved family member. It might read something like this Massachusetts example, the first example that I could find, found in a folklore journal and accessed via JSTOR.

Ron is in his thirties, married, with two children. He attended high school in a large New England city during the fifties, and his interests led him to the city’s vocational school from which he graduated having completed the welding program. Bright, well-spoken and articulate, he is aware that during his high school career vocational high schools were viewed with suspicion and generally thought to be reserved for “dummies.” His present success proves this over-simplification to be at least occasionally inaccurate.

After graduating from high school, Ron enlisted in the Air Force where he continued his training in welding. Aircraft quality welding requires a high degree of expertise and close attention to quality control, and materials used in this type of welding are frequently exotic metals which must be welded in an inert gas environment to avoid oxidation of the metals which would cause unsafe, brittle welds. Ron’s Air Force experience did much to increase the level of his skills.

The subject of this article is/would now probably be in his 60s and his children and grandchildren are probably internet users.  Can they understand this deeply arcane prose, this jargon-rich scholarly language?  Do they really have any legitimate right to, or need to, be able to access an article about their father?

The economics of scholarly publishing are complex, but the ethical and moral issues are not. Arguments that claim that regular people have no need for the scholarly literature are bunk.

#HathiTrust Partnering with Rights-holders

This note represents my own personal views and is not an official organizational statement of any kind.

It is a terrible shame that so many scholars, as well as members of the broader public, are only learning about the important public-interest work of the HathiTrust Digital Library as a consequence of the unfortunate and counter-productive (in my view) lawsuit brought against the organization and its university partners by The Authors Guild and a group of associates. More articulate voices than mine have been speaking of this issue and there are now many discussions available online. A summary story by Steve Kolowich is freely available via Inside Higher Education. Reflecting my perspective is the remarkable piece, “An Open Letter to J.R. Salamanca” by Kevin Smith, the Scholarly Communications Officer at Duke University.

What I want to flag here in the smaller corner of the larger landscape in which I work is the very important work that HathiTrust is doing in cooperation with rights-holders to in-copyright works. My case is from the Open Folklore project on which I work. On both our end (the Open Folklore project team) and on the HathiTrust end, we are still working out strategies, processes, and techniques, but already we have succeeded in partnering together with rights-holders to make very important journal titles for the field of folklore studies freely available to interested users. This is done with the full involvement and consent of the copyright holders and the outcome is a real gain for the world of scholarship and for the many communities who look with interest to the documentary record of human culture and creativity that folklorists have compiled.

HathiTrust is a human-built institution and like other human-built institutions, including most especially The Author’s Guild and U.S. copyright law, it has flaws. When considering the loud noises being made by those seeking to call these flaws to the world’s attention, keep in mind the purposes that HathiTrust was established to address: “The mission of HathiTrust is to contribute to the common good by collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge.” What purposes do those who are working to shame and discredit HathiTrust serve?

Want to see full text of journals that the Open Folklore project and HathiTrust have made available through generous partnership with the relevant rights-holders?

As is shown on the Open Folklore portal site, we have a very significant number of other in-copyright journal titles ready to be made openly accessible in this way. The rights-holders have already said yes. Its just a matter of moving these works through the relevant permissions and technical systems with HathiTrust. It is deeply discouraging that so many resources–time and attention most of all–are having to be redeployed to deal with The Author’s Guild’s suit (when, The Author’s Guild could instead be a partner and join collaboratively in this work). These resources could be better used for advancing shared goals, such as the desire by rights-holders to make scholarly journals (and books) freely available via HathiTrust.

Given The Author’s Guild’s apparent love of official snarky comments published online, I’ll just close by saying that you could not pay me (as an author of books) to join the The Author’s Guild after watching the organization at work over the past week or so.

On “Visualizing the Uneven Geographies of Knowledge Production and Circulation”

Last night I had a chance to attend the Richard Bauman Lecture, a wonderful annual event in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University that honors one of my teachers-turned-colleagues Richard Bauman. This year’s lecture was delivered by anthropologist (and friend of folklore studies) Don Brenneis of the Department of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. I hope to reflect more on his lecture soon, but some visualization graphics published in today’s issue of Inside Higher Education relate closely to his talk, which dealt broadly (and critically) with current transformations in knowledge work and higher education. He had come critical things to say about the growing hegemony of such processes  (recently discussed here, on Savage Minds, and elsewhere) as Impact Factor analysis, journal rankings, etc. Subject to the kind of critique that Brenneis was offering in his talk, the three images published today in IHE also speak to the transformations that he was describing.

Most relevant here is the way that the third graph (shown above) pictures the scale and centrality of the big five commercial publishers that I also discussed in the recent post that has gotten so much attention from readers (thanks all). Everyone should look at the original images in IHE, but the one shown in a small format above is the third of the three. The five largest rectangles represent Elsevier (upper left corner), Springer (to Elsevier’s right), Wiley (middle left), Taylor and Francis (bottom left) and Sage (on the inner corner adjacent to Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley). These are the same five who between them control just under half of the anthropology journals tracked and ranked by Thompson Reuters for such metrics as Impact Factor and Half-Life. I point to the image here because it speaks to the dominance of these large firms over all of scholarly publishing. Burying the lead again, I’ll just say that I resist rather than stand with these publishers.

Visualizing the uneven geographies of knowledge production and circulation – Inside Higher Ed.

PS: I should have noted that the IHE gleaning comes originally from a full report:

Graham, M., Hale, S. A., and Stephens, M. (2011) Geographies of the World’s Knowledge, London, Convoco! Edition.

I consulted the original version of the image shown above to see who some of the smaller publishers shown are. Not-for-profits who are large enough to be labeled include Annual Reviews and the University of Chicago Press (about the same size) and slightly smaller, MIT Press and Johns Hopkins University Press. Chicago, MIT, and JHU are among the largest of the university press journal publishers. It is in the nature of the visualization that the many smaller publishers are represented with squares/rectangles that are too small to label.

The Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

It has been several years now since I last taught my seminar on intellectual and cultural property issues in folklore and ethnology and I have not succeeded in keeping up with recent developments. In this context, I am especially glad that so many of my favorite colleagues have taken up work in this area. Thanks go to one of them, Alex Dent (Associate Professor of Anthropology at George Washington University and Associate Editor of Anthropological Quarterly [a awesome not-for-profit journal in its 84th year]) for calling to my attention the The Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest. I have signed the statement as an expression of my basic values in this realm and I support the project. Even if you feel differently, reading the declaration is a valuable learning experience. I urge folks with concerns about where we are and where we are going to take a look. Here is an excerpt.

The next decade is likely to be determinative. A quarter century of adverse changes in the international intellectual property system are on the cusp of becoming effectively irreversible, at least in the lives of present generations. Intellectual property can promote innovation, creativity and cultural development. But an old proverb teaches that “it is possible to have too much of a good thing,” and that adage certainly applies here. The burden falls on public interest advocates to make a coordinated, evidence-based case for a critical reexamination of intellectual property maximalism at every level of government, and in every appropriate institutional setting, as well as to pursue alternatives that may blunt the force of intellectual property expansionism.

Find the whole document in its organization, institutional, and policy context online at Thanks Alex!

On Hacking the Academy #hackacad

I am very pleased to note that the edited book version of Hacking the Academy appeared online today. The online version lives on a site built by the volume’s publisher Digital Culture Books, an imprint of the University of Michigan Press. The volume has been edited by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, both of the Center for History and New Media. It is based on contributions submitted during one week–May 21-28, 2010.

I am very pleased to have been included in this volume and I want to thank the editors, the publisher, and all those who supported the project, including the many readers and cheerleaders who offered encouragement to the effort.

My chapter in the volume is based on an essay that originally appeared on this site (where the longer, older version can still be found). In the book, it is the first chapter of the “Hacking Scholarship” section. As with the earlier version, it is titled “Getting Yourself Out of the Business in Five Easy Steps” and it offers an argument for withdrawing, where possible, from entanglements with commercial academic publishing in favor of lending energy, support, and resources to the strengthening of the existing public-sector scholarly communications system and to the building of a more democratic, ethical, sustainable, and open one for the future. It thus relates directly to my more recent post on the enclosure of scholarly journals in anthropology (and to other things that I do, including working on the Open Folklore project and editing Museum Anthropology Review.

I am so thankful to everyone who has engaged not only with the essay but with me in the larger work of understanding and reshaping the ways scholars share their work with the world. The biggest shout out of all, in this regards, goes to my colleagues at the Indiana University Libraries and the IUScholarWorks program. They have been my teachers and tremendous partners in the work. They are awesome!

The old-fashioned version of Hacking the Academy will be published next year. Find the online version here:

Dan Cohen’s reflections on the project can be found online here:

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