As we move towards an open access future in academic publishing, MAT is committed to building structures and ways of working that are accessible, inclusive, fair, ethical, and sustainable. MAT recognises that academic publishing is rooted in historical, gendered, and colonial power relationships. Open access publishing addresses some of these issues but also creates new risks, including the potential for new forms of unfair labour relations and gender hierarchies, as well as the consolidation of knowledge within elite institutions. The editorial collective are committed to the following principles:
From its inception, MAT has been open access. Very few benefit from paywall-protected publications. We can all gain from high-quality research and publications that are publicly and freely available. However, accessibility is about more than just finance; MAT seeks to ‘deprovincialise’ medical anthropology and support scholarship of interest beyond elite universities. While thoroughly grounded in anthropology, MAT aims to publish work that can speak to diverse and interdisciplinary audiences, and we strive for accessible and clear writing in all its content.
MAT aims to be a truly international journal and equality and diversity will be at the forefront of how we work. We aim for diversity among our editorial team, authors, reviewers, and readers, and will ensure it is represented on our advisory board. We acknowledge that, while much medical anthropology and global health research is carried out in countries in the Global South, most publications in the discipline are authored by scholars employed at institutions in the Global North. Increasing the diversity of voices published in medical anthropology is vital if the discipline is to remain relevant to new generations of thinkers. We are committed to improving inclusivity in publishing by being proactive in commissioning articles from academics carrying out cutting-edge research and by encouraging co-authorship with collaborators from the country in which research is carried out (with an authorship policy that ensures all contributions to research are acknowledged).
The MAT Collective’s horizontal governance structure stands against unethical and exploitative research and publishing practices. Whilst we are unable at present to eliminate all elements of precarity from our staffing structure (e.g., fixed-term contracts), all administrative editorial staff are paid employees and we do not hire interns. Academic editors, international advisory board members, and peer reviewers are not currently paid. Academics are in increasingly precarious employment, and publications can be essential. We aim to review and respond to articles within three months of submission. We recognise the challenges that authors can face during the review and publication process, and we will accommodate periods of leave (parental, illness, etc.) wherever possible.
Authors are expected to have complied with prevailing ethical guidelines regarding the research of human subjects and informed consent. All submissions are to be kept confidential by reviewers and the editorial team. Reviewers are expected to excuse themselves from duty should there be a conflict of interest (such as a financial or personal relationship) connected to a particular manuscript or author.
Open access publishing is widely recognised as the academic future and a basic public good, but it also faces numerous economic challenges. Subscription models that favour multinational publishing companies dominate the field and there are no easy answers to meeting employment and production costs. MAT is currently funded by a combination of university sponsorship, external grant funding, and article processing charges for special issues and special sections. In collaboration with our advisory board, we are committed to developing a sustainable business plan that will allow MAT to continue to exist long into the future and that will serve as a possible model for other open access journals.