Friends of Cultural Anthropology is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose aim is to raise money to support the open-access journal Cultural Anthropology. Its members include former editors of the journal, board members of the Society for Cultural Anthropology, and other respected anthropologists: George Marcus, Michael Fischer, Chris Kelty, Kim and Mike Fortun, Judy Farquhar, Bruce Grant, Danilyn Rutherford, Brad Weiss, Marisol de la Cadena, Bob Foster, Anne Allison, Charlie Piot, and Dominic Boyer.

We supported Cultural Anthropology’s move to open access in 2014 because we believe it is the ethical way to publish. It enables those who are not connected to a research university or members of the American Anthropological Association to access the cutting-edge scholarship that appears in journals like ours. Open-access publishing is also widely supported by academic libraries who are under severe strain because of the prevailing publishing model, under which a small number of commercial publishers reap large profits from leasing academic journals to libraries—a relationship whose scandal lies in the fact that much of the labor and creativity that go into producing journal articles is paid for by the universities themselves.

As an indication of the success of Cultural Anthropology’s open-access transition, unique monthly visitors to our article pages jumped from 131,000 in 2013 (before open access) to 165,000 in 2016 (after open access), and downloads of full-text articles from the global South jumped from 17% to 27%. One 2014 article about xenophobia in South Africa was viewed over 30,000 times when anti-immigrant riots broke out in that country; fully one-third of the views were from South Africa. Rather than belatedly ungating articles in response to political upheaval, the journal was able to provide an anthropological perspective on the events of the day even as they were unfolding.

Cultural Anthropology has been the most experimental—and, in our view, the most impactful— journal in the discipline since it was established under founding editor George Marcus in the mid-1980s. It remains rigorously peer-reviewed, accepting less than 10% of manuscripts submitted for publication. Any junior scholar who publishes in the journal has a leg up on tenure and lifetime employment.

Our operating budget is just $50,000 a year, which we currently cover through member dues and downloads of previously published articles, but we anticipate a time when these two sources will dry up and we aim to establish an endowment to ensure the journal’s future.

Since open access is, above all, a collaborative venture, we welcome your help in growing this endowment and in building out Friends of Cultural Anthropology into a sustainable, vibrant organization. If you wish to contribute, please click the link below; all contributions are tax-deductible. If you would like to get involved or to start a conversation about planned giving in the future, please contact Charlie Piot or Dominic Boyer.