Public Statement on the AAA’s “Repository for the Common Good

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) has recently announced its intention to create what its president has termed a repository for the common good—a “freely accessible repository for all kinds of anthropological knowledge, including article preprints, conference papers, technical monographs and gray literature reports, datasets, project metadata, or any other kind of information anthropologists of all kinds and from all areas deem appropriate.” At the same time, with little fanfare, the AAA has indicated that it plans to partner with Atypon, a company owned by the commercial publisher Wiley, in developing the proprietary infrastructure for this repository.

We, the undersigned, wish to express our concern about the implications of the AAA’s decision. We believe that, at a time when data flows have become a strategic resource,  delegating the design and management of such a repository to a commercial vendor stands to have serious consequences for the discipline at large.

As anthropologists, we know that infrastructures are never neutral, inert, or separable from the uses to which they are put. In particular, we know that the design of scholarly infrastructures by commercial publishers over the past thirty years has had anything but benign effects on the shape of academia. As these companies look beyond publishing and restyle themselves as information analytics businesses, the library community and a growing number of academics have pointed out that these entities are positioning themselves to take full control of the life-cycle of scholarly communication.

In the case of the AAA’s repository project, what is at stake is not simply a technical decision about who will manage the platform or what features it will have, but a political decision about what the field of anthropology will look like in the age of data. How will anthropological knowledge be organized and classified? Who will create the metrics that track its circulation and readership, and whose content will they privilege? Given Wiley’s commercial relationship with the AAA’s journal portfolio, there is also a real risk that the integration of journal and repository platforms will create an insurmountable barrier to entry for future service providers. The effect will be to insinuate one company’s priorities still further into the life of the association, even as members supply the raw materials for new, data-driven products to be sold at top dollar to our cash-strapped universities.

Crucially, there are alternatives. On the one hand, there are other repository providers to whom the AAA could turn for developing such a platform, balancing the desire for a particular feature set against the vendor’s commitment to principles of open scholarly infrastructures. On the other, there are wider efforts to form cooperative partnerships with other scholarly societies, libraries, and funders to imagine an alternative ecology of scholarly communication. These are scenarios that the AAA has made little effort to research or explore. Instead, it has bound itself still more tightly to a so-called publishing partner that is, in the end, motivated by a strategy of extractive profit-seeking.

For all of these reasons, we call on the AAA to reconsider the decision to work with Atypon and to open up a wider consultation process that will allow us to debate, define, and then work toward a common good for anthropology. We also call for a change in how members of the AAA’s Publishing Futures Committee, currently appointed by the association’s president, are selected. In light of the significance of the Committee’s discussions and their impact on the future of the discipline as a whole, the wider membership of the AAA should have the chance to shape how these discussions unfold by selecting representatives through an open application process and member vote. These decisions are too important to be made behind closed doors.


Kirsten Bell University of Roehampton

Dominic Boyer Rice University

John Willinsky Stanford University

Alberto Corsín Jiménez Spanish National Research Council

Marcel LaFlamme University of Washington

Christopher M Kelty UCLA

Martin Holbraad UCL Anthropology

Emily Yates-Doerr University of Amsterdam / Oregon State University

Proshant Chakraborty Independent Scholar, Mumbai

Kenneth MacLeish Vanderbilt University

Brie Gettleson Haverford College

Nick Seaver Tufts University

Tanya Richardson Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Ian Lowrie Portland State University

Megan Saltzman West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Ryan Cecil Jobson University of Chicago

Matan Kaminer University of Michigan

Gaston Gordillo University of British Columbia

Ruy Llera Blanes University of Gothenburg

Anne M. Galvin St. John’s University

Matthew C. Watson Mount Holyoke College

Paige West Barnard College and Columbia University

Carlos Mondragón El Colegio de México

Lorenzo Cañás Bottos Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Marisol de la Cadena UC Davis

Eduardo Viveiros de Castro Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro

Rachel Douglas-Jones IT University of Copenhagen

Margaret Wiener University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Matthew Chrisler City University of New York, Graduate Center

Jonathan Spencer University of Edinburgh

Denise N. Green Cornell University

Kregg Hetherington Concordia University

Donna M. Lanclos, PhD Consultant

Nick Thieberger Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC)

Steven P Black Georgia State University

Timothy Elfenbein University of California, Irvine

Jason Baird Jackson Indiana University

Scott Ross George Washington University

Taylor R. Genovese Arizona State University

Caren Kaplan UC Davis

Kali Rubaii Rice University

Valentina napolitano University of Toronto

Radhika Govindrajan University of Washington

Montserrat Pérez Castro Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Cuajimalpa

Francisco Ferrándiz Spanish National Research Council

Kim Cameron-Dominguez Lewis & Clark College

Kelsey Draper University of Cape Town

Paul Stoller West Chester University

P. Kerim Friedman National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan

Tanya Matthan UCLA

Zoë H Wool Rice University

Eric Silverman Brandeis University

Chad Nilep Nagoya University

Claudia briones Comicet-UNRN, Argentina

Andrea Muehlebach University of Toronto

Eliot Bates City University of New York, Graduate Center

Anand Pandian Johns Hopkins University

Dina M Siddiqi New York University

Annika Lems University of Bern

Benjamin Bean UC Davis

Kevin Donovan University of Michigan

Jon Henrik Ziegler Remme University of Oslo

Tomás S. Criado Humboldt University of Berlin

Hasan Ashraf Jahangirnagar University

Rodrigo A. Ruiz Martinez University of Vienna

Michael Degani Johns Hopkins University

Will Tuladhar-Douglas Asian University for Women

Tyng-Ruey Chuang Academia Sinica, Taiwan

Magnus Pharao Hansen University of Copenhagen

Sebastien Bachelet University of Manchester

Samuel Gerald Collins Towson University

Olaf H. Smedal University of Bergen

Stephanie Sadre-Orafai University of Cincinnati

Gabriella Coleman McGill University

Brad Weiss William & Mary

Dick Powis Washington University in St. Louis

Ritty Lukose New York University

Bonnie C. Ryan Syracuse University Libraries

Catherine Fortier Bibliothèque des lettres et sciences humaines, Université de Montréal

Amelia Hassoun University of Oxford

Ursula Dalinghaus Ripon College

Dracklé, Dorle University of Bremen

Joyce Ogburn Appalachian State University

Natasha Myers York University

Jon Tennant Open Science MOOC; paleorXiv

Jon Tennant Open Science MOOC; paleorXiv

Angela Kristin VandenBroek Binghamton University

Scott Collard New York University

Jennifer A. Hamilton Hampshire College

David Woolwine Hofstra University

Andrea Ballestero Rice University

Miia Halme-Tuomisaari University of Helsinki

Kimberley Coles University of Redlands

Ross Mounce Arcadia Fund

Wade Kotter Weber State University

Daniel Fisher University of California, Berkeley

Daniel Fisher University of California, Berkeley

Carla Alvial Palavicino Universidad Diego Portales, Chile

Larry Milliken Drexel University

Jules Weiss Oregon State University

Colin Hoag Smith College

Molly Beyer University of North Texas

Christine Murray Bates College Library

Kirsten Valentine Cadieux Hamline University

Julie Adamo Mount Holyoke College

Leslie Chan University of Toronto Scarborough

Fred J. Hay Appalachian State University

Daniela Peluso University of Kent

Jessica Hardin Pacific University

Jen Waller University of Oklahoma

Gertrude Saxinger University of Vienna

Jarrett Zigon University of Virginia

Charlie Piot Duke University

Chakad Ojani University of Manchester

Christopher Dole Amherst College

Keaton Johanson California State University, Fresno

Soumhya Venkatesan University of Manchester

Peter Wade University of Manchester

Elona Hoover University of Brighton

Ellen Dubinsky University of Arizona

Daniel Lema University of Zaragoza

Bharat Venkat University of Oregon

Rachael Muszkiewicz Valparaiso University

Eeva Berglund Aalto University

Karen Lane University of St Andrews

Marcus Banks University of Oxford

Stéphane Gros CNRS, France

Mariana Regalado Brooklyn College, CUNY

Fernando Domínguez Rubio UC San Diego

Ngambouk Vitalis University of Gothenburg

Kisiaya Saruni University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Andrea Pia LSE

Rogers Orock University of the Witwatersrand

Jefferson Virgílio ICS-UL

Ivan Rajkovic Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

Klāvs Sedlenieks Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia

Nur Rosyid Laboratory of Anthropology for Research and Action, Dept. Of Anthropology, Universitas Gadjah Mada

Giulia Colavolpe Severi EHESS París - Universitat de Barcelona

Patrick Neveling University of Bern

Paolo Mangiafico Duke University

Ralph Litzinger Duke University, Cultural Anthropology

Risa Cromer Stanford University

Jieun Cho Duke University

David Rojas Bucknell University

Stuart McLean University of Minnesota

Heikki Wilenius University of Helsinki

Tereza Kuldova University of Oslo

Tina Catania Syracuse University

Orin Starn Duke University

Christopher Sweetapple UMass, Amherst

Christopher Nelson UNC Chapel Hill

Rebecca Empson UCL

Edvard Hviding University of Bergen

Jonathan Mair University of Kent

Keir Martin University of Oslo

Florence Piron Université Laval

Carla Hung Duke University

Jill Reese University College London

Diane M. Nelson Duke University

Daniela Heil University of Newcastle (Australia)

Anne-Maria Makhulu Duke University

Scott Freeman American University

Julie Billaud University of Sussex

Christine Turner University of Massachusetts Amherst

Tuva B. Broch University of Oslo

Abram Johannes Frederick Lutes University of New Brunswick

Felix Ringel Durham University

Gisa Weszkalnys London School of Economics

David Hansen Duke University

David Hansen Duke University

David M.R. Orr University of Sussex

Lisa Messeri Yale University

Joao Baptista Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon

Megan Moodie University of California, Santa Cruz

Sarasij Majumder Kennesaw State University

Steve Ferzacca University of Lethbridge

Corey Gilmore University of Goldsmiths

Stanislav Beneš University of Manchester

Antonia Walford UCL

Kirsten scheid American University of Beirut

Claudio Sopranzetti Oxford University

Jennifer Hough SOAS University of London

Mark Turin University of British Columbia

Sara Shneiderman University of British Columbia

Noah Tamarkin Ohio State University

Asha Abeyasekera University of Colombo

Carlos Estrada-Grajales Queensland University of Technology

Alex Nading

Marie McDonald UC Davis

Xenia Cherkaev Harvard University

Ali Kenner Drexel University

Heather Paxson Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Stefan Helmreich MIT

Alex Golub University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Rodrigo Ochigame Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mark Turin University of British Columbia

Eleana Kim UC Irvine

Catherine Trundle Victoria University of Wellington

Jackie Feldman Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Tyler Zoanni NYU

Oana Mateescu University of Bergen

Isaac Marrero Guillamón Goldsmiths, University of London

Sophie Day Goldsmiths

Don Kalb University of Bergen

Stephen Nugent Goldsmiths University of London

Vinicius Kauê Ferreira EHESS, Paris

Julienne Obadia University of Cambridge

Henrike Donner Goldsmiths

Adom Philogene Heron Goldsmiths, University of London

Gavin Weston Goldsmiths College

Theodoros Kyriakides University of Cyprus

Maria Chiara Miduri Independent Researcher

Valerio Simoni Graduate Institute Geneva

Siobhan McGuirk Goldsmiths University

Madeleine Reeves University of Manchester

Elisabetta Dall’Ò University of Milan-Bicocca

Jason Hickel Goldsmiths, University of London

Jenny Lindblad KTH Stockholm

Nuria del Viso Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain

Helen Cornish Goldsmiths, University of London

Signe Gosmann Goldsmiths University

Anne Hancock Emmanuel College Library, Boston MA

Istvan Praet University of Roehampton

Maura Smale NYC College of Technology, CUNY

Theresia Hofer University of Bristol

Greg Hollin University of Leeds

Jerome Whitington New York University

Jonah Rubin Knox College

Lauren B. Collister University of Pittsburgh

Carlo Cubero Tallinn University

Celia Emmelhainz UC Berkeley

James Maguire IT University Copenhagen

Ashley Lebner Wilfrid Laurier University

Hutan Hejazi European University of Madrid

Dimitris Dalakoglou Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Justin Shaffner New Centre for Research & Practice

Erkan Saka Istanbul Bilgi University

Mike Fortun

Andrew McGrath University of California at Irvine

Andrew McGrath University of California at Irvine

Ignacio Farias Humboldt University Berlin

Clément Dréano University of Amsterdam

Andreas Streinzer Institute for Social Research Frankfurt

Felix Remter Technical University Munich

Alex Moltzau University of Oslo

Juno Salazar Parreñas The Ohio State University

Adam Sargent Northwestern University

Michael Cepek University of Texas at San Antonio

Neena Mahadev Yale-NUS College

Morten Axel Pedersen University of Copenhagen

Robert Blunt Lafayette College

Debbora Battaglia Mount Holyoke College

Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney* University of Wisconsin, Madison

Kriti Kapila King’s College London

Anne Allison Duke University

Marilyn Strathern University of Cambridge

Marcio Goldman Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Dominik Müller Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

Kyle Harp-Rushing University of California, Riverside

Kyle Harp-Rushing University of California, Riverside

Danilyn Rutherford

Shalini Shankar Northwestern University

Kristina Lyons University of Pennsylvania

Robert J. Foster University of Rochester

Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen Aalborg University

Douglas Holmes SUNY at Binghamton

Feliciano Castaño Villar University of Granada, Spain

Keith M. Murphy UC Irvine

Lupicinio Iñiguez-Rueda Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

J. Andrew Bush New York University Abu Dhabi

Suzana Sawyer UC Davis

Sharika Thiranagama Stanford University

Daniel Miller University College London

Sameena Mulla Marquette University

Maja Petrović Šteger ZRC SAZU l, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Philippe Descola Collège de France, Paris

Nicholas Shapiro University of Toronto/UCLA

James Leach CNRS/Aix Marseille Université

Yael Navaro University of Cambridge

Marcelo Gonzalez Galvez Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

Eric Hirsch Brunel University London

Waqas H. Butt University of Toronto Scarborough

Tania Stolze Lima Universidade Federal Fluminense

Alison Cool University of Colorado Boulder

Nina Holm Vohnsen Aarhus University

Nina Holm Vohnsen Aarhus University

Sharon Traweek University of California, Los Angeles

Kristin Koptiuch Arizona State University-West

Alan Klima University of California, Davis

Rosa Medina-Domenech University of Granada (Spain)

Fatima Mojaddedi UC Davis

Patricia D. Scalco University of Helsinki

Mark Alexander McIntyre

Perig Pitrou CNRS, Collège de France, Université PSL

Anthony Pickles University of Cambridge

Bjørn Enge Bertelsen University of Bergen

Cristobal Bonelli Ihe Delft water institute

Astrid B. Stensrud University of Oslo

Alice Wilson University of Sussex

Nicolette Makovicky University of Oxford

Carole McGranahan University of Colorado

Alonso Barros Fundacion Desierto de Atacama

Julia Elyachar Princeton University

Hylton White University of the Witwatersrand

Uli Beisel University of Bayreuth, Germany

Deniz Daser Rutgers University

Jeanette Edwards University of Manchester

Michael Hintz Florida Gulf Coast University

John Wells University of Münster

Martijn Oosterbaan Utrecht University

Gregory Deshoulliere London School of Economics

Patrick Livingood University of Oklahoma

Bernd Kasparek Göttingen University, Germany

Lily Chumley New York University

Thomas Fenn University of Oklahoma

Catherine Trundle Victoria University of Wellington

Claudia Holland Mississippi State University

Elvin Xing Australian National University

Holly High The University of Sydney

Pedro Tome Spanish National Research Council

Andrew Alan Johnson Princeton University

Liliana Suárez-Navaz Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Vivian Choi St. Olaf College

Soledad Vieitez-Cerdeño Universidad de Granada, España

Anika Jugovic Spajic University of Pittsburgh

José Luis Molina Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Sofía Pereira García Universitat de València

Joan Roura-Expósito Incipit - Spanish National Research Council

Jose Antonio Langarita University of Girona

Félix Manuel Jiménez Lobo Antropologist.

Lidia Arroyo Prieto Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Álvaro Pazos Garciandía Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Claudia Salomon Tarquini CONICET-Universidad Nacional de La Pampa

Vincenzo Pavone Ipp-csic

Joan J. Pujadas Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Verónica Anzil Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

Isabella Riccò Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Marina Weinberg Instituto de Arqueología y Antropología, San Pedro de Atacama, Universidad Católica del Norte (Chile)

Alberto Fiadlgo Castro Universidade de Brasília

Carmen Anaya Corona Universidad de Guadalajara

Arsenio Dacosta Universidad de Salamanca

Angel Martinez-Hernaez Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Cristina Sánchez-Carretero Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Carmen Gregorio Gil Universidad de Granada

Andrés Gómez S. Universidad de Chile

Miquel Domènech Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Oriol Romaní Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV)

Matilde Cordoba Azcarate University of California, San Diego

Matthew Sebastian Duke University

Sabine Kradolfer Université de Lausanne, Switzerland


Lilly Irani UC San Diego

Olatz González Abrisketa Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU)

Bascom Guffin Simon Fraser University

Susan M. DiGiacomo Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Jacqueline Urla University of Massachusetts Amherst

Michelle La Simon Fraser Univerity

Mireia Campanera Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Sandra Santos-Fraile Universidad Pablo de Olvide (UPO)

Ignacio Fradejas-García Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

Mónica Tarducci Universidad de Buenos Aires

Juan J. R. Villarias-Robles Spanish National Research Council

Camila del Mármol Universitat de Barcelona

Deborah Bekele Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Candela Morado Spanish National Research Council

Adela Franzé Mudanó Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Teresa Tiburcio Jiménez Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)/ Spanish National Research Council

Lieba Faier University of California, Los Angeles

Hannah Appel University of California, Los Angeles

Nikhil Anand University of Pennsylvania

María Elena Díaz Centro de Nutrición e Higiene de los Alimentos, La Habana, Cuba

Cori Hayden UC Berkeley

Cristina Moreno Lozano AIBR, Network of Iberoamerican Anthropologists

Hannah Knox UCL, London

Antina von Schnitzler The New School

Geoffrey C. Bowker University of California, Irvine

Ramah McKay University of Pennsylvania

Samar Al-Bulushi UC Irvine

Sylvia Yanagisako Stanford University

Susan Slyomovics UCLA

Tom Boellstorff University of California, Irvine

Paulla Ebron Stanford University

Joseph Dumit University of California, Davis

Lawrence Cohen University of California Berkeley

James Holston UC Berkeley

Michael W. Scott London School of Economics & Political Science

Hugo Reinert University of Oslo

Kathinka Frøystad University of Oslo

Theodoros Rakopoulos University of Oslo

Morten Nielsen National Museum of Denmark

José-Luis Anta Universidad de Jaén, Spain

Karen Waltorp Aarhus University

Tommy Ruud Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Martin Loeng Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Claudia Engel Stanford University

Sarah Kansa Open Context

Shivani Kaul University of Amsterdam

George E. Marcus University of California, Irvine

Michael MJ Fischer MIT

Matthew Kohrman Stanford University

Joseph Hankins UCSD

Mercè Falguera Ríos Investigadora independiente

Jacob Nielsen University of Liverpool

Cristina Garcia Moreno Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona. Spain)

Lauren Bonilla Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Hector Beltran UC Irvine | MIT

Kerry Holden Queen Mary, University of London

Jillian Cavanaugh Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center CUNY

Jean Jackson Professor of Anthropology Emerita, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Charles Hirschkind UC Berkeley

Lise Røjskjær Pedersen ITU

Brit Ross Winthereik IT University of Copenhagen

Loles Del Pino Segura Universidad de Granada

Santiago López-Pavillard Asociación Eleusis (AE)

Noa Vaisman Aarhus University

Atsuro Morita Osaka University

María Fernanda Moscoso BAU, Barcelona

Stine Krøijer University of Copenhagen

Carina van Rooyen University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Michelle Pentecost King’s College London

Shabnam Shaik Rhodes University - South Africa

Charlotte Visagie University of Johannesburg

Jonatan Kurzwelly University of the Free State

Rita Kesselring University of Basel

Thomas Cousins Oxford

Henk Pauw Emeritus Professor Nelson Mandela University

Kees van der Waal Emeritus Stellenbosch University

Karen Sykes University of Manchester

Mark Trevor Marais UNISA, UFS

Samantha Gottlieb Independent NSF-funded anthropologist

Juan Francisco Salazar Western Sydney University

NS Jansen van Rensburg North West University, South Africa

Danny Cardoza University of Cambridge

Caroline Coary Taylor University of the Witswatersrand

Petr Skalnik Independent Researcher, Czech Republic

Bruna Alvarez Universitat Atuònoma de Barcelona

Jasmine Folz University of Manchester

Simon Ruthoane Anthropology Southern Africa

Sibahle Ndwayana University of Oxford; University of the Witwatersrand

Amber Louise Abrams University of Kent, UK and University of Cape Town, SA

Ilana van Wyk University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Diana Marre Autonomous University of Barcelona

Elize Becker Independent Anthropologist South Africa

Pia Bombardella North West University, South Africa

Peter Redfield University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Hestia Victor North West University

Gabriel Gyang Darong University of KwaZulu-Natal

Gabriela Gutiérrez Espinosa Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia

Isaura Cecilia García López Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla

Lynne McIntyre Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Kim Fortun University of California Irvine

Marisela Montenegro Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Fiona Ross University of Cape Town

Cristiana Giordano UC Davis

An Open Letter to the AAA · Public Statement on the AAA's Repository Plan · About ·