The journal Cultural Anthropology, edited by Duke professors Anne Allison and Charlie Piot is now an open access journal, freely available to the public beginning with the February 2014 issue.
The journal -- www.culanth.org -- is the first anthropology journal of its kind in the United States, and the first in the American Anthropological Association, to go open access.
"It's a big deal for the discipline of anthropology, and for Duke," said Piot, a professor of cultural anthropology and African and African-American Studies. "Thanks to Kevin Smith and Paolo Mangiafico, Duke University Libraries is hosting the journal archive."
The current issue of the journal explores topics such as the effects of boredom among homeless populations in Bucharest, the ethical underpinnings of the Egyptian Revolution and the precarious life of garbage scavengers in Rio de Janeiro.
Launched in 1986, Cultural Anthropology includes peer-reviewed articles at the forefront of anthropological research along with supplemental material such as author bios and interviews and other features. Previously, only subscribers to the journal, primarily members of the Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA), the American Anthropological Association (AAA), and those with access to subscribing research libraries, could read articles published in Cultural Anthropology.
"By helping to support open access journals, quality research can now be read by a much broader audience, and we believe that's a worthwhile investment," said Paolo Mangiafico, coordinator of scholarly communications technology at Duke Libraries. "We're especially happy to work with a high-profile journal like Cultural Anthropology, and a scholarly society that is willing to take a lead in making the insights from their community available to all."
Allison, a professor of cultural anthropology, and Piot said they hope this move will expand the audience of the journal to curious readers beyond academia who would not normally have access to the latest research.
SCA president Marisol de la Cadena said she believes the move may influence how anthropological research is conducted.
"I hope open access will contribute to the extension of Cultural Anthropology's intellectual reach and this in turn will influence the society's practice and that of anthropology at large."
Monica Heller, president of AAA, hopes the move to open access will continue the journal's tradition of innovation.
"This is a very exciting moment. AAA strongly supports the pilot project to make Cultural Anthropology open access, and is eager to learn from this wonderfully innovative experiment," Heller said.