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As the article notes, this varies a lot by field, even more so than acknowledged in the subsections here. For example, computer science, although often considered some sort of a science, does not primarily publish in journals. There are journals of course, and people do publish in them, but a common maxim is that "the journal is where research goes to die"—it's the home for canonical write-ups of work that has been well-known and studied for at least several years. The new stuff—i.e. the stuff people care about—is almost exclusively published in conferences, several of which (SIGGRAPH, for example) have prestige within the field equivalent to that of journals in other fields. --Delirium 21:49, Apr 12, 2005 (UTC)
- I'd be all for including much more detail on field-by-field publication practices. Why not add some of this to the article? -- Rbellin|Talk 16:48, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Some of the external links refer to conditions in 1990, and need to be replaced. I have just done that. The open-access section at the end is now 2 yrs old, and I will update it soon, with references. The earlier part of Distribution and business aspects can be improved & sourced, & I will soon, if nobody gets there first. DGG 23:04, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Current status and potential developments
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
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.
Bibliometrical rankings of book publishing companies
- Care to explain why you think it's unnecessary and useless? fgnievinski (talk) 16:06, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
- I'd be interested to hear why it might be deemed necessary or useful. Though possibly interesting, so much information is not needed on this article. There seems no good reason to give the selected rankings such prominence; no ranking is objective and will change over time. Unlike university rankings, they are not themselves particularly noteworthy. Similar pages (e.g. Academic journal, even College and university rankings) do not present rankings. If rankings were to be included, they should all be in a single table - the current presentation is untidy, consuming a third of the article page space. But a brief paragraph citing the different rankings would suffice, if deemed necessary. --ChrisSampson87 (talk) 08:00, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
- Well I think the contributions - especially those by the University of Granada - are major innovations in the field of bibliometry and help us rank publishers by solid quantitative arguments and not just by subjective impressions alone! Al Andaluz Toledano (talk) 13:18, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
- @ChrisSampson87: I agree a single paragraph would suffice, and detailed information should be moved into the respective pages: SENSE and Bibliometric Indicators for Publishers. fgnievinski (talk) 18:46, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
- At the SENSE article there is a tag asserting that there is a discussion here, about proposal that "portions of Academic_publishing#Bibliometrical rankings of book publishing companies be split from it and merged into [the SENSE] article." I oppose that, as SENSE is an academic program. Its published rankings of academic book publishers is a byproduct, incidental to the article about the academic program. That material is in fact appropriate to be moved from there to an article about academic book publisher rankings, or to a section in article on Academic publishing, instead. FYI, I am inclined to remove the tag advertising discussion from the SENSE article as it just does not make "sense" at all, given the title/topic of that article. --doncram 01:53, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
- I also think that this stuff does not belong here. After all, we don't rank journal publishers either. Ranking of publishers is, in any case, not a major aspect of "academic publishing" (the subject of this article) and spending such a large part of the article on a minor aspect is undue. --Randykitty (talk) 14:57, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
- The rankings are totally unreliable--aee my comments. They appear to have been generated for one specific non-typical academic program. They have no general validity whatsoever, not even on the face of it. I suppose they could be mentioned at SENSE, but they should not be presented there. They absolutely do not belong in a more general article. See my prior discussion. I can go into it at length if desired. Bibliometrics is a science, but it is possible to twist bibliometric data to support almost anything, by using them outside the area of validity. RJensen, is a large publisher of many unimportant books of higher quality than a small publisher of highly important books? My answer would be, it depends on what you mean by quality, and since the term has no defined meaning in this context, there's nothing that can be validly measured. I'd say this in terms of the "quality"of an individual book also: the traditional meaning could be either high literary merit, or highly refined technical production, neither of which is relevant in this context either. DGG ( talk ) 04:02, 4 November 2015 (UTC)