As we have just received word about the Open Anthropology Cooperative officially transitioning into becoming an archive of the past, I would like to take this closing opportunity to introduce the Collaborative Anthropology Network!

For all of those who would like to continue what was started here and open up the full potential of what technology and anthropology has to offer, the Collaborative Anthropology Network is a new project based entirely on open source technology for a radically customizable social networking site, tailor-made around an interest in anthropology and online-collaborative ethnography that is meant to serve as a virtual ecosystem of collaborative ethnography and anthropology-related social activities - think part facebook, part academia[.]edu, part, part edX/Coursera with an additional ability for users to tag the entire site to the letter on an individual or collective scale and collaborate in a built-in project management application, all on both mobile and desktop. Everything will be integrated with the main social networking site and will be organized and designed to cater to the highest expectations of an anthropology audience while offering fantastic exposure opportunities for the full diversity of the field and its practitioners with minimal technological know-how.

As of this posting, February 3rd, 2020, version 1.0 of the site is currently at the end of the development stage and will be kicked off as a pre-launch invite-only for select user testing and group content creation!

Stay tuned by visiting

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We are currently waiting for a major update that is expected for the membership and multisite component of the site. When that is released it will require additional development work and customizations to fully integrate it with the rest of the site. None of that can be done until after the update, but it only represents a couple of weeks of work. In the meantime we are working on designing and finalizing the homepage and putting together some very useful documentation on how to use the various components of the site.


Brandon, This is very good to hear about, particularly in these times of remote working. I will look into the Collaborative Anthropology Network with interest.

How does sign up work for the CAN?

Hi Huon, nice to hear from you! Yeah, right now the site is online but it's still in development and is in private mode during that time. There are several of us working on it but one is in Greece and one is in Brazil, so I put it up for easier access for those working on it but nobody else has access. Right now I'm waiting for an extension update on the multisite/membership component before I can finish, but for the most part it's ready! I also plan to open it as an invite-only at first since it will basically be an empty network and there won't be much to look at, so I need content creators to start groups and blogs, and offer feedback. If the OAC ning site is still live I'll post an invitation!

Great. Looking forward to this.

Hello All,

I am again working on some development for the collaborative anthropology network and figuring out the requirements and acceptable protocols to follow before investing in time and money. Specifically, we are beginning to work on the touchy subject of funding and monetizing the site.

The value-proposition of the entire project is as a technological cooperative, research collaborative, and social networking site that will benefit anthropologists and anthropology as a field, so we are very interested in exploring any option that maximizes those foundational objectives. That also means that we will not implement any business model that is unacceptable to the individual researchers - although finding moral workarounds from traditional journal and publishing gatekeepers is a priority ;).

Right off the bat we assume that means NO SELLING OF PERSONAL DATA, NO BLACK BOXES, and NO RESTRICTING ACCESS *see this article for issues with both for-profit research platforms.... Instead, we are focusing on implementing strategies that give users total control and even benefits the user and the field as much as possible. At the same time, we are not ourselves being funded by grants - we're open to receiving funding but we are a misfit outfit that would be unlikely to get funding (at least until we prove ourselves). So we are left to seek out a business model that will cover the operational costs and ensure the project will be able to continue to exist. We also see the lack of funding as a potential benefit and opportunity to test out a cooperative model for the sharing and dissemination of research, which makes the most sense for incentivizing and even furthering the Open Access Movement without the trade-offs of the user-as-product business models of social networking sites or the restrictions commonly associated with being housed in academic institutions.

With that being said, our current proposal goes something like this:

  1. Free membership will include participating in the social network and uploading and sharing papers, projects, etc. This will (hopefully) be funded by a number of ways that are completely up to the user and that can be mutually beneficial for many as well:
    •  As an anthropology-specific site no personal data will be collected or sold for advertising purposes but pre-approved, anthropology-related ads will exist across the site.
    • Creating ad campaigns will be made easily available to all registered users who wish to do so and (hopefully) the majority of ads will be user generated.
    • In addition, users will be able to request not to be shown certain ads or have certain ads shown anywhere on their profile to other users. Maybe even allowing users to select which ads do show up on their profile to other users..
  2. …Users who have created and have active ad campaigns will be able to choose to only have their ad campaign appear to other users on their personal profile and papers.
    • Readers of papers will be encouraged to donate to authors through crowdfunding services like Patreon directly in their paper’s page if they choose to do so.
    • Ads can be turned off completely for users that also allow the Collaborative Anthropology Network to take a portion of donated funds to cover costs once that has been met.
    • Crowdfunding campaigns might also be started for funding other ongoing projects by the user directly in their profiles.
    • We are planning to inquire how to arrange with academic journals and publishes who have restrictive sharing policies to establish audience-funded “payment plans” to make papers open-access.
  3. There will be fee-based premium services that will help to cover costs:
    • A mini-blog directly in their user profile
    • A project management app
    • A full-fledged semi-managed website that will be connected to the network and show up automatically in activity feeds
    • User-generated online courses (small portion of shared profits)
    • Job posting and resume placement(?)
    • Event posting and ticket sales(? - small portion of shared profits)
  4. Also exploring a system that will allow grant funders to support users, individually and en masse based on certain criteria (i.e. institutional memberships, for certain research topics, other activities).

We’re also working really hard to meeting all publishing research standards and protocols, as well as compatibility with technology for automating registration to established repositories for certain uploads using JATS XML and available REST API’s of existing academic services.


This is a nice alternative to existing collaborative networks. Thanks for the good work.

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