This post is part of a series- The 30 Pieces of Silver the American Anthropology Association Sold Us Out For, American Anthropology Association FAIL!!!! This Time on an Epic Scale, Why this #AAAfail is Epic- How the American Anthropology Association is throwing the public under the bus and killing books for no good reason! and Former Cultural Anthropology Editor Speaks Out About #AAAfail
This is a bit of a rant and I have better articulated my reasons for saying the AAA has made a huge mistake here You can read my more passionate response below.
Sometimes you get on a streak, it could be in sports or work or life were things just don’t click. Well the American Anthropology Association(AAA) is on one of those streaks. Last year around this time they opened up a can of worms when they tried to take the word “science” out of their mission statement. Well that didn’t sit so well some people ( a really good coverage of the whole event can be seen here). In fact some people have quite the AAA over it, lots of anthropologists were upset by it. Well they have done it again! The AAA has come out in favor of the Research Works Act concept. If you are unfamiliar with it, the Research Works Act, basically it is attempt by commercial publishers to keep US tax payers from accessing the results of research they paid for.
It appears the AAA are in full support of this initiative to stop taxpayers from viewing what they paid for. The federal government made a “Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public input on long-term preservation of, and public access to, the results of federally funded research, including peer-reviewed scholarly publications as required in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.” You can see it and the responses here. This is the very same act that the Research Works Act is trying to overturn. How does AAA respond? Here is the full response scholarly-pubs-(#282) davis
My favorite part is “We write today to make the case that while we share the mutual objective of enhancing the public understanding of scientific enterprise (We think what your are doing is great!!! yeah keep it up) and support the wide dissemination of materials that can reach those in the public who would benefit from such knowledge (consistent with our associations’ mission) (more we think this is great topped with some needless pandering), broad public access to such information currently exists, and no federal government intervention is currently necessary.” (but we actually don’t think the public should access the material they pay for)
The balls on the AAA! In one sentence they say it is great, letting taxpayers view the research they paid for, and in the same sentence say but we don’t think the public should actually see it.
It gets better, at the very end the make the statement that it might be book publishers that suffer because of this- “On one final note… If the AAA journal publishing program can not be sustained, it may be the university presses and other scholarly publishers of book-length works could also be irreparably damages.” Again, the balls on the AAA. Equating their book reviews with the health of publishers which is not backed up by facts, no figures are mentioned, and just sounds silly.
Now I write this pretty pissed off as the bullshit is just too much. I should really wait a few days then make a response but I don’t think that would change my thoughts or reactions (this is pretty much the only time I have sworn here). We will see if a couple of days makes it easier to take the AAA’s …. and if I will have to apologies for my language. Actually, I apologies for my language now but not for my thoughts. AAA FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If only I but had a membership, so that I may too quite the AAA.