Talk:Academic publishing

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Current status and potential developments[edit]

Research journals have been so successful that the number of journals and of papers has proliferated over the past few decades, and the credo of the modern academic has become "publish or perish". Except for generalist journals like Science or Nature, the topics covered in any single journal have tended to narrow, and readership and citation have declined. A variety of methods reviewing submissions exist. The most common involves initial approval by the journal, peer review by two or three researchers working in similar or closely related subjects who recommend approval or rejection as well as request error correction, clarification or additions before publishing. Controversial topics may receive additional levels of review. Journals have developed a hierarchy, partly based on reputation but also on the strictness of the review policy. More prestigious journals are more likely to receive and publish more important work. Submitters try to submit their work to the most prestigious journal likely to publish it to bolster their reputation and curriculum vitae. A quantitative (and not uncontroversial) measure of the prestige or importance of a journal is its impact factor, which is increasingly used as a criterion for promotion and in the awarding of tenure.

Some journals now include an open source element; i.e. the authors are allowed to post unreviewed material and designated reviewers or the reader community freely comments on the material and thus provide an alternative method of quality control. Such journals can be open access, such as PLoS One, or Psycoloquy, or subscription, such as Current Anthropology.

The mathematician Andrew Odlyzko has argued that research journals will evolve into something akin to Internet forums over the coming decade, by extending the interactivity of current Internet preprints. This change may open them up to a wider range of ideas, some more developed than others. Whether this will be a positive evolution remains to be seen. Some claim that forums, like markets, tend to thrive or fail based on their ability to attract talent, perhaps just the same as with conventional journals. Some believe that highly restrictive and tightly monitored forums may be the least likely to thrive, and some think the exact opposite. Semantic publishing is changing the face of scientific publishing. In particular, self-publishing of experiments on the web could potentially make all the experiment data available as semantic data objects that can be searched, shared and integrated by anyone at any time. This simple but radical idea is being explored by W3C now (demo).

Distribution and business aspects[edit]

It was a fact of pre-technology life that, no matter how dedicated, one person can only give a limited number of lectures to the small groups of students who can travel to hear them; and, if articles are to be written and distributed, only a small number of copies can be hand-written or typed. The development of the printing press therefore represented a revolution for communicating the latest hypotheses and research results to the academic community and supplemented what a scholar could do personally. Ironically, this improvement in the efficiency of communication created a challenge for libraries which have had to accommodate the weight and volume of literature. To understand the scale of the problem: about two centuries ago, the number of scientific papers published annually was doubling approximately every fifteen years. Today, the number of published papers doubles about every ten years.

But the new reality of internet technology is that it is far cheaper to send out electronic versions of a paper than to have it printed in a journal. Unlike their medieval counterparts, modern academics can now run electronic journals and distribute academic materials without the need for publishers. Not surprisingly, publishers perceive this emancipation as a serious threat to their business model. In reality, the interests of scholars and publishers have long been in conflict. The purpose of copyright is to protect the capital invested in the "work" by the publisher, while the wish of the scholar is to have the work as widely distributed as possible.

Publishing academic journals and books is a large part of an international industry. The shares of the major publishing companies are listed on national stock exchanges and management policies must satisfy the dividend expectations of international shareholders. Although some specialist academic publishers used to take a less commercial view of their business, the industry has been consolidating and, as smaller units are absorbed into the larger, standardised accounting and profit-oriented policies have dominated the industry. Critics have claimed that these policies now constrain more altruistic leanings of academic publishing.

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Section "Future"[edit]

User:Randykitty recently removed content on the future of academic publishing / the opening of academic publishing (see below), saying "a pirate site, not really the "future" of academic publishing".

I do not agree as the section isn't just about the site but about the ongoing opening of academic publishing in general (the EU announcement being part of that as well). Maybe it would be good to rename the section instead - I'm just not sure of any other good name for it. And lastly who says it's not the "future" of academic publishing (not the site itself but its direction)? I think it would be biased to not include this highly relevant information on the current direction of / major changes in academic publishing.

The content of the section was:

In May 2016 the European Union announced that "all scientific articles in Europe must be freely accessible as of 2020".[1] Sci-Hub is a Guerilla Open Access project for an online search engine that contains over 58,000,000 academic papers and articles available for direct download, bypassing publisher paywalls. New papers are uploaded daily when accessed through educational institution proxies, and papers that have been accessed through Sci-Hub are stored in the LibGen repository.

References

  1. ^ Hendrikx, Michiel (27 May 2016). "All European scientific articles to be freely accessible by 2020" (PDF) (Press release). The Netherlands: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Retrieved 2016-08-07. 

--Fixuture (talk) 15:19, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

  • Linking Sci-Hub to a policy statement of the EU really is a classic example of WP:SYNTH... --Randykitty (talk) 15:26, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
    • What? Those weren't linked. They're just both part of the same direction / of relevance to the section. --Fixuture (talk) 16:00, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but what you wrote clearly implies a causal relationship, which is incorrect. --Randykitty (talk) 16:11, 4 December 2016 (UTC)
  • No, it doesn't - please read it again. But yes, probably it would be good to add a line break there. --Fixuture (talk) 16:15, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

Secondary source supporting Crisis subheader[edit]

I would suggest adding this information to better back up points brought up regarding Publisher and business aspects under the Crisis subheader. The information that I wish to include will appear in italics.

A crisis in academic publishing is "widely perceived"; the apparent crisis has to do with the combined pressure of budget cuts at universities and increased costs for journals (the serials crisis).The university budget cuts have reduced library budgets and reduced subsidies to university-affiliated publishers. The humanities have been particularly affected by the pressure on university publishers, which are less able to publish monographs when libraries can't afford to purchase them. For example, the ARL found that in "1986, libraries spent 44% of their budgets on books compared with 56% on journals; twelve years later, the ratio had skewed to 28% and 72%. Meanwhile, monographs are increasingly expected for tenure in the humanities. The continuing domination of journal and monograph publications as primary venues of scholarly exchange, peer review, and professional validation signifies lingering habits of critical perception and valuation. This is not, however, a limiting factor. Instead, it is an opportunity to collectively imagine and implement new collaborative knowledge environments, publishing models, and critical platforms that take full advantage of existing and emerging digital frames of communication and representation.[1] The Modern Language Association has expressed hope that electronic publishing will solve the issue.

Hectorlopez17 (talk) 23:06, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saklofske, Jon (2016). "Digital Theoria, Poesis, and Praxis: Activating Humanities Research and Communication Through Open Social Scholarship Platform Design". Scholarly and Research Comunication. 7 (2/3). Retrieved 17 February 2017. 

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