Philip Cohen, on his blog, addressing the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) shameful obstructionism on open access:

Alondra Nelson has had a storied career in American social science. After joining the Yale sociology faculty in 2009, she wrote, among many other works, two crucial books: Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination (2013), and The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome (2016). After moving to Columbia, she became Dean of Social Science in 2014, and then, in 2017, President of the Social Science Research Council.


Needless to say, ASA was delighted to report it when, in 2021, she was named by President Biden to be Principal Deputy Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for Science and Society. … Then, in 2022, she was named acting head of OSTP, “the first African American and first woman of color to lead US science and technology policy.” At which point — ASA said nothing. ... What happened? Long story short: ASA is fundamentally, strongly, consistently, organizationally, opposed to the crowning achievement of Nelson’s work at OSTP, known around the world as the “Nelson Memo.” It’s subject: “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research.” Which is exactly what ASA does not want.

The ASA was a signatory to the notorious and jingoistic 2019 “Dear President Trump” letter, with silence since.

As Cohen concludes:

The organization is a perpetual stagnation machine addicted to a toxic diet of publishing rents…

The key issue, at the ASA and some (but certainly not all) learned societies, is dependence on tolled publishing revenue. It’s a hard nut to crack, without resorting to APCs, but there’s lots of interesting experimentation going on, including subscribe-to-open.