Learned Publishing - issue 4 - 2010
From the Editor:
Be a publishing cheat and go to jail. Issue 4, Learned Publishing now out.
For all the talk around legal issues, scams, and naughty people who seem to
disappear with our money, how often, in your experience, has anyone gone to
Well, it's happened in China. Anyone who thought they didn't take copyright
seriously should read Zhigang Wang's article in the latest issue of Learned
Publishing, where he describes the vicious infighting taking place there,
particularly amongst Chinese aggregators and academics. Fines are common,
and two perpetrators actually did get carted off.
Of course lawyers are also people who disappear with our money, but totally
correctly, of course. Continuing my preoccupation with the dark side of
publishing, we this time have an excellent piece by a publishing lawyer on
'Plagiarism and the Law'. Despite your prejudices, he's actually an
interesting chap, and if you wanted to know when plagiarism might be
illegal, when it's not, read a clear explanation of its relationship to
copyright, and even advice that can be very useful to publishers, check it
out - and when did you last get free useful advice from a lawyer?
Actually, this latest issue is a stonking (to use the technical term) one -
packed with relevant, useful and even interesting articles - my thanks to
ALPSP for giving me some extra pages. Want to know what to do if
considering using an aggregator? We have an article giving you almost a
step-by-step guide. Want to know why your journal was or was not accepted
for inclusion by SCOPUS? We have an article, from the horse's mouth (i.e.
Ove Kahler at Elsevier), explaining how they make their evaluation, in
detail. This one is Open Access, so you don't even need a subscription - but
I'd prefer it if you had one.
Perhaps you're interested in e-books. Two articles for you. One summarising
the recent ALPSP survey, and showing up all the different approaches, and
when and how the commercial publishers differ from societies in their
approach (and they often do). Another is a very timely research article
trying to see, using a sample of hundreds of books, whether making them OA
makes any difference to sales - I'm not going to tell you the answer, you'll
have to have a look.
Then for a bit more argy-bargy, we have an author's eye view based on a bit
of research in a developing country, on the types of author conflict that
arise over authorship itself, and ordering of named authors, and things like
that - plenty of claims of victimisation, and not only from the juniors re
the seniors - now would that happen in the developed systems of Europe and
North America? - I think it would.
We're also not short of opinionated people - John Wilbanks thinks it's about
time we had a 'Web' for data, backed up by something like creative commons
licences; William Park, of DeepDyve fame, gives the arguments that underpin
not only his 99cents per article approach, but in general of approaching
different markets differently; in a way, that's also the approach of a major
established RRO. The CCC, in an article by the CEO Tracey Armstrong it makes
the case for 'context-based' licensing i.e. matching the product to the
Then we do have a fascinating article on the development of medical journals
in China - it's fascinating to me because it basically tells the story of
medicine in China (and how that correlates with journal development), and
the influence of the Western missionaries, as well as some more offbeat
asides - e.g. I hadn't realised that one of the reasons 'western medicine'
originally gained ascendancy was that it did, apparently, actually work
better than the traditional forms- but then the traditional forms made a
comeback. And there's a very mature and open conclusion of a sort it would
have been difficult to imagine a few decades ago.
The last article to mention is another practical one - about EASE guidelines
for authors and translators, intended to help improve the standards of
written English (I'd better read it again for these commentaries).
The issue is 'topped' by an editorial (from my North American co-editor,
Janet Fisher), and 'tailed' by some book reviews - including one glowing one
of a rights book. These 'bookends' to the journal issue, as it were, are
always Open Access. Janet tackles the topic of 'what do you know about your
users' habits', and how important it is - a nice antidote to my 6-pager last
time which could have been read (especially if you only read the title) as
totally against knowing anything about them or what they do.
At the time of writing, I have a couple of very good items for next year,
but like most editors, anxious that we can retain the standard. We'll try.
Editor, Learned Publishing
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