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CHE: Anthropology Association Will Give Electronic Access...

Of possible interest to readers of this list:


This article, "Anthropology Association Will Give Electronic
Journal Subscriptions to All Members," is available online at
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Anthropology Association Will Give Electronic Journal Subscriptions to All


ONE-STOP SCHOLARSHIP: Not long ago, the leaders of the American
Anthropological Association saw some writing on the wall. Here and there,
cash-starved college libraries were canceling subscriptions, and the costs
of printing and postage were skyrocketing. It became clear that by about
2007, the association's publications program, which comprises 29 scholarly
journals, would no longer be financially viable.

"This was one of those incremental things that began to show its face two
or three years ago," says Mac Marshall, a professor of anthropology at the
University of Iowa, who helped to sound the alarm. "I was editing one of
the triple-A journals, and we were sustainable, but others were
hemorrhaging badly."

So far, so familiar. Scholarly groups in almost every discipline face
similar dilemmas. The anthropologists, however, have fixed upon an
unusually ambitious solution. Soon, every member of the association will
be given electronic access to all of its 29 journals as a regular benefit
of membership. Libraries will be offered the electronic package at a price
that, according to one early estimate, will be less than the current cost
of print subscriptions to the association's five leading journals, which
now cost approximately $125 each.

The scholarly journals will be only one element of the association's new
Web portal, AnthroSource, which will make available a wide array of audio
and visual material. "I've been talking with a museum about creating a
system that would allow one to call up an artifact and then turn it around
so that you can see it from all angles," says Bill Davis, the
association's executive director. "Technology makes all this possible, and
this is exactly the kind of thing that we intend to do."

Beginning this month, the association will turn over the production and
distribution of its journals to the University of California Press. By
January 2005, the press intends to offer electronic access to an initial
set of 10 journals, including American Anthropologist, Cultural
Anthropology, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Access to the other 19
journals will be rolled out during the following two years. The new Web
site will include the full contents of each journal back to its first
volume. (American Anthropologist, for one, dates back to 1888.) The text
will be fully searchable, and most citations will be interconnected.


copyright Chronicle of Higher Education 2004.