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Almost every week brings an announcement related to the growth of open access in scholarly publishing: new studies, partnerships, and innovations. Over the past six months or so, I have begun my own experiment with open access at SAR Press and chosen one of our classic Advanced Seminar volumes to make openly available on the website: Elites, edited by George E. Marcus and published in 1983.

Because tracking down authors and acquiring permission to reprint chapters is such a time-consuming process, this experiment illustrates tensions inherent in the open-access movement and, indeed, within publishing itself: the mission to share valuable information as widely as possible versus the costs of doing so. Estimates of the cost to publish a traditional monograph range widely, from $15,000 to $100,000 or more, and yet monographs remain essential to the development of scholarship and scholarly careers alike in the social sciences and humanities.

With its rich backlist and provocative new releases, SAR Press has much to contribute to the open-access movement. The question is how, and that’s a question many of us within the world of scholarly publishing are now trying to answer.



Also edited by George E. Marcus, Critical Anthropology Now (1999).

Download your copy of Elites.

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