Publications FAQs

What are the goals of the AAA publishing program?

The publishing program aims to advance AAA core goals to: further the professional interests of anthropologists; disseminate anthropological knowledge and its uses to address human problems; promote the entire field of anthropology in all its diversity; and represent the discipline nationally and internationally, in the public and private sectors.

What are the guiding principles of the AAA publishing program?

The guiding principles of the AAA publishing program are to:

  • develop and maintain a diverse portfolio, in recognition of the diversity of the discipline;
  • serve the needs and interests of AAA membership and sections, and more broadly of those who produce, who access and who reference anthropological knowledge and content; and
  • facilitate the adaptation of the publishing program to ongoing changes in publication conditions, promoting both sustainability of the association’s publishing program and broadest possible dissemination of knowledge.

What are the key components of the AAA publishing program?

The AAA is unique among scholarly associations for the range and breadth of its publishing program. The AAA publishes a monthly newspaper (Anthropology News), scholarly journals, books, monographs, a guide to anthropology resources and publications related to its annual conference. Its flagship journal is American Anthropologist; in addition, AAA supports over twenty actively publishing journals and newsletters produced by its constituent sections. These serials are available through AnthroSource.

What is AnthroSource?

AnthroSource is a service that offers AAA members and subscribing libraries full-text anthropological resources, including: a digital searchable database containing the past, present and future AAA publications; more than 300,000 full-text articles from AAA journals, newsletters, bulletins and monographs in a single place; and 24/7 access to scientific research information across the field of anthropology. On July 22, 2015, Wiley and AAA relaunched AnthroSource with new functionality, including:

  • Great new look and feel, including on smart phones and tablets.
  • Enhanced discoverability of content with full-text searching.
  • Easy navigation that gets researchers to full-text content within two clicks.
  • Altmetric scores and social media sharing.

Can non-AAA content be included in AnthroSource?

In November 2013, the AAA Executive Board adopted a policy about how content generated outside of AAA could be included in AnthroSource.

What is the structure of the AAA journal and newsletter publishing program?

The journal and newsletter publishing program is complex, involving twenty AAA sections, permanent AAA staff, and the AAA publishing partner, Wiley-Blackwell. Publishing sections are responsible for producing the content and editorial policy and practice of their publications, and work in conjunction with the publishing staff and Wiley-Blackwell to produce and distribute the publications.  However, the AAA Executive Board, in conjunction with the AAA President and Executive Director, is charged with ensuring the overall publishing program goals are met, its fiscal health maintained, and its future viable.

One reason for this complex structure comes from the history of the program. The program rests on two pillars: 1) the creativity of sections; and 2) the resources of the collective. These two support structures have always existed, as evidenced by the AAA by-laws, but the balance between them has changed over time. Read the history of AAA's "portfolio strategy" in "Why a Collective Portfolio? The History of Principles and Practices of the AAA Publishing Program" by Deborah Nichols (Chair, CFPEP), Bernard Perley (Chair, POWG), and Oona Schmid (Director, Publishing).

What are the roles and functions of the ACC (Anthropological Communication Committee) and CFPEP (Committee on the Future of Print and Electronic Publishing) in relation to the publishing program?

The AAA Executive Board, in conjunction with the AAA President and Executive Director, is charged with ensuring the overall publishing program goals are met, its fiscal health maintained, and its future viable. The AAA achieves these goals largely through the work of two committees, the ACC (Anthropological Communication Committee) and CFPEP (Committee on the Future of Print and Electronic Publishing). Both act in consultation with the elected Executive Board, AAA sections, AAA membership and AAA staff. ACC is a subcommittee of the member-elected Executive Board responsible for reviewing matters concerning publications and intradisciplinary communications through AAA’s major vehicles, including publications and the AAA Annual Meeting.  CFPEP is comprised of nine presidentially appointed members responsible for recommending policies to ACC and the Finance Committee with regard to the dissemination of anthropological knowledge, the future development of AAA’s electronic portal, and AAA current and future print and electronic publishing program and related programs and initiatives. 

What steps has the AAA taken to facilitate access to its publications?

While still in the process of examining optimal scenarios for ensuring the broadest possible access to publications and the sustainability of a diverse range of publications, the AAA has already taken the following steps:

  • Sliding scale membership:  Access to AAA’s digital, online literature is available to individuals on a fair and reasonable sliding scale annual fee structure that ranges from $30 to $306.
  • Free Access: Access to AAA’s digital, online literature is available free of charge to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges, and qualifying institutions from less developed countries.  In addition, AAA participates in four philanthropic programs to provide free access to our content in under-resourced countries. These programs are administered by agencies with presence on the ground in these areas, such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the International Council for Science.
  • Open Access: AAA is experimenting with Open Access publications. In 2014, Cultural Anthropology converted to an open access journal. The Association also launched Open Anthropology to open up anthropology to policy and public audiences.
  • “Ungating” back issues of journals: Access to back issues of AAA’s journal American Anthropologist (AA) is available free of charge 35 years and longer after publication. That means that in 2013, all back issues of AA were available free of charge from 1888 to 1978; in 2014, the year 1978 will be “ungated.” Sections are encouraged to follow the same plan. To date, 25 sections have agreed. CFPEP is charged with assessing the success and costs of this arrangement.
  • Anthropology News online is open access for four months before content is gated and archived within AnthroSource.
  • Grey Literature Hub. With funds raised by the AAA Research Development Committee (RDC), Social Science Research Network built the Anthropology and Archaeology Research Network particularly to help disseminate grey literature and other anthropological content that is otherwise not available. You can read more about it on our Find and Share Gray Literature page.
  • Author Rights and Permissions: In the author agreement for AAA journals, the author reserves the right (among other rights) to post the postprint manuscript draft or uncorrected page proofs of article on free, discipline-specific public servers. Because of these clauses, AAA's author agreement is rated green by SHERPA/RoMEO, a project designed to help facilitate green open access.

What is the AAA position on U.S. federal legislation that may have an impact on the publishing program?

The AAA is particularly concerned by any proposed legislation that aims to limit dissemination of research, and that may disproportionately protect private over public interests. At the same time, its role is to be vigilant about the specific needs and interests of our publications program, anthropology as a whole, and individual anthropologist-authors.  Acknowledging the Association's commitment to "a publications program that disseminates the most current anthropological research, expertise, and interpretation to its members, the discipline, and the broader society," but also the need for a sustainable publication strategy, and building on the Association's support for a variety of publishing models, the AAA opposes any Congressional legislation which, if it were enacted, would impose a blanket prohibition against open access publishing policies by all federal agencies.

What is the future of the AAA publishing program?

On March 1, 2014, Anthropology News announced the following changes to its publishing program:

  1. Sections will submit five-year plans to the Publishing Oversight Working Group (due July 2014).
  2. AnthroSource relaunched with improved searchability, enhanced ability to read on mobile devices, and fewer clicks to reach content.
  3. Members will be able to receive new and different kinds of email alerts (AnthroSource eDigests began August 2013).
  4. Members will receive fully-digital member copies of their journals/periodicals, with an option to purchase a print copy at cost (begins January 2016).

Why does AAA need to make these changes?

There are four major reasons why AAA needs to make these changes:

  1. Get the program on sustainable footing so that AAA's publishing program is robust and diverse over the long term. In 2012, AAA commissioned an analysis from publishing consultant Raym Crow. Crow analyzed the journals' collective performance between 2008 and 2011 and projected financials through the year 2016. If his projections are correct, AAA members will need to pay for the entire costs of the publishing program by dues alone and that total would likely be over $140 for each member each year, unless the program makes substantial changes to alter these projections. To read more about these findings, see: Deborah Nichols, Ben Orlove, Hugh Jarvis "Publishing Survey Findings" Anthropology News May/June 2013: 17.
  2. Keep dues as low as possible. In 2012, approximately $70 from each member's dues paid for the costs of producing AAA journals, Anthropology News and and publishing management.
  3. Provide the Association with resources for innovation, such as new services for younger members, members housed in international contexts, and members employed outside the academy.
  4. Reduce our carbon footprint and be more ecologically responsible. In 2013, AAA mailed more than 68,000 individual print copies of the journals, each in an individual polyethylene bag (a polymer made from petroleum or natural gas). These individual copies were mailed all over North America and the planet.

How will our content be archived after 2016?

In keeping with best practices, AAA will continue to archive in print and online. AAA will purchase a print copy of our journals for the AAA office. In addition, AnthroSource will continue to be digitally archives by two agreements: Portico and CLOCKSS. Eight AAA titles are also covered by JSTOR. 

Will Anthropology News become digital only?

No – it will continue to be AAA's news source. In 2012, launched and AAA increased its frequency to 12 digital issues a year. To help pay for that site, AAA reduced this title's print frequency from 9 print issues a year to 6 print issues a year. We will continue with this frequency for the indefinite future.

What can I expect from the new AnthroSource?

The relaunched AnthroSource ( is dramatically improved and visually more robust. The domain will continue and, just as before, all content and journal titles remain the property of the AAA. Members logins remain the same and members must login at to access free 24/7 content to the journals.

The new site uses responsive design, so that HTML versions from 2008 onwards are readable more easily on tablets and smart phones. The new site will use full-text searching of computer-readable PDFs. The navigation supports faster access to full-text content and a more attractive design. For more information, read an article by Wiley Associate Editor, Mike O'Riordan on AnthroSource 2.0.

What resources were available to help section leadership author or are available to guide a revised five-year plan?

We encouraged sections to reach out to AAA Publishing Director Oona Schmid with any questions, clarifications about the process, and more information about the five-year plans. Oona reviewed any draft proposals that arrived by April 18, 2014. Oona circulated one example of a five-year publishing plan on February 13, 2014 that sections could emulate or even adapt.

Several possibilities were discussed in this webinar

The following three items were available to sections that wanted more information about their finances and journal's performance: 

  1. Portfolio report by Raym Crow, October 2012.
  2. Section specific digest of Raym Crow report, April 2013.
  3. Journal specific benchmarking report by Oona Schmid, July 2013.
  4. Publishing Oversight Working Group responses to sections' five-year plans, FAQ, and invitations to meet by phone in January or February 2015.

How does open-access fit into these five-year plans?

The Wiley-Blackwell service-level agreement covers the costs of typesetting, webhosting, marketing, and fulfillment by charging libraries subscription fees. Sections are encouraged to think creatively about their publishing goals and the best way to have a sustainable publication. While changes cannot begin until 2018, the five-year plans can absolutely address a section's desire to convert to an open access model and should also include a plan for financing their title.

What editorial policies guide Anthropology News?

AN encourages lively conversation and debates, and at the same time expects civil and professional discourse. Opinions expressed in AN belong to the author(s) and publication does not signify endorsements by AN or the AAA. More information is available at

Does the AAA publishing partner own our journals and hold copyright of our content?

AAA owns the name of the journals, the cover and interior designs, the PDFs and digital tagging, the trademark and name of AnthroSource, and (by terms of its author agreement), AAA retains the copyright of all content therein. For instance, this means AAA will be able to ensure ongoing hosting and integrity of AnthroSource, regardless of the publishing partnership.

What is AAA's policy on photographs?

AAA does not require written consent of identifiable individuals in photographs published in AAA journals. This policy is based on the assumption that the use of photographs is for publication in scholarly journals and not, for instance, being used for advertising, greeting cards, or other expressly commercial enterprises. However, caution should be used if the photograph involves private conduct of a highly personal or offensive nature or the disclosure of which would prove to be embarrassing to the subject, i.e., photographs of injured patients in a hospital and photographs of children in private settings. A written consent may be appropriate in those situations.

What is AAA's policy on claims for missing publications?

U.S. claims for replacement copies of missed issues must be made within three months of the mail date of the original publication. Non-U.S. claims must be made within six months of the mail date. Issues claimed after these time periods must be purchased at the single copy rate for the publication.

To whom should I address questions regarding the AAA publications program ?

You can contact AAA Director of Publishing Oona Schmid, who will direct you to the right person if she cannot answer your question herself.