Linguistic Anthropology

The study of language has been part of anthropology since the discipline started in the 1ate 1870s. This site is a place for linguistic anthropologists to post their work and discuss important events and trends in the field.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

'Top' not-for-profit linguistic anthropology journals

There has been a recent flurry of discussion of for-profit versus non-profit publishing in anthropology, occasioned by a 29 August piece in The Guardian by George Monbiot. Blog postings at and Savage Minds (e.g. here, here, and here), among other places, are providing people in the field a chance to discuss issues related to publishing including open-access versus paid access, accessibility, visibility, and for-profit versus non-profit publishers.

On his blog, Jason Jackson Baird provides (along with comment on some of these issues) a listing of the top anthropology journals published by non-commercial entities, including those published university presses, or by university departments or professional societies that do not partner with for-profit publishers. For purposes of the list, "top journals" means journals with high impact factor, as determined by Thomson Reuters' Journal Citation Reports.

As Jackson Baird points out, there are problems associated with using impact factor as rating of good-ness, "but it provides a fixed list not-of-my-own-making and it does represent a population of journals that more and more anthropologists feel pressed to engage with."

Jackson Baird also points out that, due to the way impact factor is calculated, journals in biological anthropology tend to be rated higher than those in social and cultural anthropology. He therefore provides a smaller list of journals for social or cultural anthropologists.

Similarly, there are not many linguistic anthropology journals in Jackson Baird's larger list. This is partially attributable to the way that impact factor is calculated, and partially to the fact that Journal Citation Reports considers anthropology and linguistics as separate fields.

For linguistic anthropologists who are interested in publishing with non-commercial publishers but who also wish to make their work as visible as possible, I have constructed the following list of not-for-profit linguistic anthropology journals. To do this, I consulted Journal Citation Reports and compiled a list of 215 journals in anthropology or linguistics. After sorting these by impact factor, I removed journals by commercial publishers, including those produced by professional societies but distributed by commercial publishers. I include journals described by JCR as "anthropology" that published at least one article on language or linguistics, or articles described as "linguistics" that published at least one article on social or cultural aspects of language use, acquisition, or structure in 2010*. In addition to all of the caveats that must apply to any list of this nature, note that these categories are quite subjective and that since I coded this data by hand, it may well include errors.

Current Anthropology
Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research
Language in Society
Annual Review of Anthropology
American Antiquity*
Linguistic Inquiry
Journal of Child Language
Applied Linguistics
Human Biology

*Since I did not have access to American Antiquity for 2010, I checked tables of contents from 2009.