Anthropology Group Makes Official Its Long-Rumored Publishing Deal With Wiley-Blackwell

September 19, 2007

The American Anthropological Association formally announced today a new, five-year publishing partnership with Wiley-Blackwell, ending weeks of speculation about a deal in the works. Beginning in 2008, Wiley-Blackwell will publish and distribute the association’s 23 journals and newsletters. It will also host AnthroSource, the association’s online research portal.

The AAA’s Executive Board “saw Wiley-Blackwell’s stellar reputation for creative partnerships with learned societies, its substantial investment in innovative technology, and its worldwide network of offices as providing AAA with the potential to propel AnthroSource to the cutting edge of digital publishing,” William E. Davis, the association’s executive director, said in a written statement .

The deal features a profit-sharing arrangement under which the association will get 60 percent of “excess revenues over expenditures” each year, according to a memo circulated to the association’s journal editors and section heads and sent to The Chronicle. The association is also guaranteed a minimum yearly income that should be worth some $2.7-million over the contract’s five-year life, the memo says.

Initial reaction has been cautiously optimistic, although the association’s leaders continue to take fire for how they went about the search for a new publishing partner. “I can honestly say that I support the move, and that I think the AAA did the right thing,” wrote one poster on the anthro blog Savage Minds. But “the process by which it happened has been demoralizing — more evidence that as a scholarly society the AAA does not see any need to communicate with its membership at large, solicit their input, or operate in an even quasi-transparent manner.” —Jennifer Howard