Links of the Day #15

Today's links cover academic publishing and open access; some recent headline news in anthropology; and the significance of place and locality in the ethnography of the Internet.

Posted: 06 Feb 2013 11:54 AM PST
Open Anthropology will republish old content from other AAA publications that will be selected by the journal editors for its relevance to current policy discussion and usefulness to a broad audience. This content is supposedly intended to be open access, but contrary to what its name implies, the AAA press release states that Open Anthropology will have "a specific policy. . .on 'ungating' and perhaps 're-gating' content after a certain period of time." If this is the case, then Open Anthropology is not really open access.
Posted: 20 Mar 2013 01:31 PM PDT
Hugh Gusterson on Academic Publishing: "Recently, two Taylor & Francis journals asked me to review article submissions for them. In each case, I was probably one of 20 to 30 people in the world with the expert knowledge to judge whether the articles cited the relevant literature, represented it accurately, addressed important issues in the field, and made an original contribution to knowledge. If you wanted to know whether that spot on your lung in the X-ray required an operation, whether the deed to the house you were purchasing had been recorded properly, or whether the chimney on your house was in danger of collapsing, you would be willing to pay a hefty fee to specialists who had spent many years acquiring the relevant expertise. Taylor & Francis, however, thinks I should be paid nothing for my expert judgment and for four hours of my time."
Posted: 26 Feb 2013 12:25 PM PST
"I'm afraid that these protestations will have little impact on the public perception of anthropology or, for that matter, the social sciences and humanities. For the moment, these counter-arguments can't compete with the deeply mythical texture of the life and times of Napoleon Chagnon. In the sweep of time, though, Chagnon's work is but a blip on the screen. In the nanosecond reality of the media universe, Chagnon's ideas and struggles will quickly revert back to what they are: "very old news." The real news in present-day anthropology is the ongoing work on structures of poverty and social inequality, work that exposes how contemporary economic practices trigger widespread real world suffering. That scholarship produces results that are politically threatening to men like Rick Scott, Scott Walker and Rick Perry. That's why they're slashing higher education budgets. What better way to undermine anthropology, sociology, and the humanities and protect their economic and political interests?" - Paul Stoller
Posted: 26 Feb 2013 12:28 PM PST
Because this part keeps getting overshadowed, University of Chicago anthropologist Marshall Sahlins in his resignation from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the United States’ most prestigious scientific society: "Nor do I wish to be a party to the aid, comfort, and support the NAS is giving to social science research on improving the combat performance of the US military, given the toll that military has taken on the blood, treasure, and happiness of American people, and the suffering it has imposed on other peoples in the unnecessary wars of this century. I believe that the NAS, if it involves itself at all in related research, should be studying how to promote peace, not how to make war."
Posted: 26 Feb 2013 12:33 PM PST
"Today anthropology is facing a crisis of place, representation, and legitimacy similar to what journalism experienced a decade ago. Like journalists at the turn of the millennium, anthropologists have dealt with the challenges posed by the internet by ignoring them, downplaying the importance of the medium, and discounting its impact on the lives of the people they study. Despite the importance of the internet to people all over the world, there are few ethnographic studies of internet use conducted by anthropologists, and the anthropologists who do conduct this kind of research are marginalized and dismissed." Wait, what?
Posted: 06 Feb 2013 11:57 AM PST
"What happens to the people who aren't on the map, or who are barely represented at all? "What I worry is that what this will start to do is simply reinforce the divides and the differences between the haves and the have-nots, the cores and the peripheries," Graham says. "It's most worrying for the places that are essentially off the map – or not in the database. Think, for example, of a sandwich shop in a Detroit neighborhood on the other side of the digital divide that has no website, no Yelp reviews, no little red balloon on Google Maps. How do people find it? Surely this form of invisibility is bad for business." This sounds logical, but in practice not all small-town businesses need or want a global presence on the web. Maybe not in all cases, but in most neighborhoods without the internet, people find businesses that have no web presence because the people who shop there are locals.


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