Tarragona event: Round table “Politics of Publishing”, Thursday, June 13, at 18.30h, Aula Magna

Dear colleagues,

In times of increased competition for job positions the pressure to publish or perish is building up. Where to publish is often a dilemma: how do scholars, especially those without a permanent academic position, resolve the paradox between the job market increasingly driven by various indexes and a less capitalistic understanding of intellectual expression? These issues appear especially urgent for medical anthropologists who often work at the crossroad between medical sciences, public health and anthropology. The process of academic publishing also includes peer reviewing and editing. For academics with permanent employment these tasks were traditionally considered a part of their workday, but how is this understanding changing now that scholars’ writing activities are contextualized within a market-like logic of publishing?

While media, specifically the Internet, have changed the mechanisms of academic publishing profoundly, a further question is whether knowledge has become more accessible and easier to circulate, and if the impact factor system is a reliable indicator of quality. What does “open access” actually refer to and how does it function? Can restricting access to articles by charging fees really be used as a justification for higher quality? Often, charging significant fees for printed journals is justified by pointing out that the target audience for these publications is very limited. In that case, would this not be the perfect time for anthropology to open up and become more engaged with the public outside the university? Addressing these questions, this round table will touch the current state of academic publishing and its politics as well as the core question of the identity and purpose of anthropology in the contemporary information age.

You are cordially invited to join a discussion on the current politics of publishing in academia, with a particular emphasis on the impact of open access on the publishing practice. The event will take place at the SMA/EASA conference in Tarragona on Thursday, June 13, at 18.30h in Aula Magna.

Confirmed topics and speakers:

– On quality of publications and the contested importance of impact factor:
o Josep M. Comelles (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, editorial board’s member of Collecion de Antropologia Médica, URV Publicacion);
o Lenore Manderson (Monash University, editor of Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness);
o Ekkehard Schroeder (AGEM, editor of Curare).

– On the work and value of writing, peer-reviewing and editing:
o Susanne Ådahl (University of Helsinki, Suomen antropologi special issue editor);
o Sumeet Jain (University of Edinburgh, assistant editor of Anthropology & Medicine).

– On anthropological publications reaching outside the academia:
o Katerina V. Ferkov (University of Nova Gorica, journalist at Delo).

– On open access, its quality and sustainability:
o Ainhoa Montoya (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, editor of Anthropology Matters);
o Eileen Moyer (University of Amsterdam) and Vinh-Kim Nguyen (MSH Paris), OA journal editors (launching);
o Clarence Gravlee (University of Florida, editor of Medical Anthropology Quarterly).

We are looking forward to discussing the above issues with you in Tarragona.

Please share this invitation widely.


Tanja Ahlin, University of Amsterdam
Roberta Raffaetà, University of Trento
Anita Hardon, University of Amsterdam

— Organizers and moderators of the round table