Sharing Knowledge: How the Internet is Fueling Change in Anthropology
by Owen Wiltshire
With the Internet anthropologists are reaching new audiences and improving the dissemination of their work. Articles and books published through scholarly presses were once the best ways to disseminate academic research, but now with the Internet this isn’t entirely true. Open access publishing, self-archiving, and even self-publishing can disseminate research better than the most prestigious anthropology journals. Established journals, not blind to this issue, are changing the ways they generate revenue from publishing research. There are alternatives to the reader-pays model which restricts access to a select few. But the Internet, beyond transforming the ways anthropologists disseminate their work between each other, has had more profound significance for engaging anthropology outside its traditional audiences. For many anthropologists, new online spaces have reinvigorated the discipline, providing opportunities to reach new audiences, to incorporate new participants, and to present anthropological research in entirely new ways. Blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook and other social media are quickly being integrated into scholarly practices. By participating online in the anthropology blogosphere, writing “openly”, this research has experimented with the ways blogs and other social media can be used to collaboratively engage participants in the research process.