Oct 8, 2011

Why US anthropologists don't share their papers online?

I don't really know and I think is totally anti-ethical. It is a pity because the perspectives that anthropology brings to important debates in the social sciences are fascinating and usually fresh. 
Lets do a little exercise. Lets go to the most recent issue of the top journal in economics the "American Economic Review." You will see the following:


Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy (pp. 1649-75)Nicholas Z. Muller, Robert Mendelsohn and William Nordhaus

Now google the title of the article. You will get these results, and the second result in the list is a link to the complete article in PDF. It is not the final version, but the main ideas, method, and results of the paper are in this draft. The point is that you can axcess most of the papers that have been published in economic journals. You can access them in a coffee shop in Washington DC; in Winneba, a small town in Ghana; or in Guatemala City, it does not matter where you are as long as you have internet connection. 

Ok, lets continue with the exercise. Lets go to the most recent issue of one of the top journals in Anthropology, "American Anthropologist." You will see the following:

108th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 2–6, 2009

Claiming Space for an Engaged Anthropology: Spatial Inequality and Social Exclusion (pages 389–407) Setha M. Low
Article first published online: 24 AUG 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2011.01349.x

Now google the title of the article. These are the results. Good luck finding the article! Try Google Scholar, this is the results. Try the webpage of the author, this is the results. [Talking about "exclusion" this way of sharing research by US anthropologists is actually a good example!]
What a paradox that economists share their articles online, but anthropologists don't. I think this is totally unfair. It is unfair because usually anthropologist do field work and get their data from people [subjects] or scholars in developing countries, and the research is not going back to developing countries. [Unequal relations anyone?].
Is this happening because anthropology journals have different rules? I don't think so.  At least anthropologist should share their drafts - or working papers.
Of course there are important exceptions of scholars who do share drafts or final papers. And I have had pretty good experiences receiving papers from their authors by physical mail, when I have asked. But I think my main point remains. 

*If you did not get the same search result I got it is because of the reasons that this book explains really well.

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