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BRITARCH  August 2011

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Subject:

Re: Down with Academic publishers

From:

Dave Tooke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 11:29:17 +0100

Content-Type:

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I am unsure why any academic journal should be published in paper form 
anymore. It would seem to me to be far better, and far more cost effective, 
to publish only electronically.

As far as I am aware the major service offered by the publisher is to ensure 
that the article is peer reviewed before publication, and some editorial 
assistance in regard to readabilty.

Perhaps it is possible to publish on-line without prior peer-review, but for 
the service provider to allow Peer Review commentaries from academics and 
professionals who have, like the author, prevously registered and 
validated.their identities and qualifications. This would seem to be a very 
cheap way of publishing papers, ensuring proper commentary on those papers, 
and reducing both lead times and costs to a minimum.

Access to the papers could be by means of a reasonably low cost monthly 
subscription, costs would need to be worked out, but a renting server space 
is not expensive.

Is it necessary to pay for peer-reviews, or would colleagues in a field be 
keen to critique colleagues work - perhaps via an anonymous route, which 
would be fairly simple to set up? The registration and validation process of 
authors and reviewers would need to be worked on to guarantee quality - 
subscriptions would be from anyone who was interested.

Gap in the market...?

Or pipe dream?

Dave


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Matthew Champion" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:53 AM
Subject: Re: Down with Academic publishers


As a former editor for a very academic publisher, and a researcher no longer 
attached to an institution, I can see both sides of the argument. As a 
researcher I want open access to articles and academic work and am very 
frustrated at the high costs involved with subscribing to journals or, even 
worse, buying individual articles. However, I have also worked on the other 
side as well and fully understand the costs involved. I can also assure you 
that, as far as the company I worked for was concerned, there were no 
obscene profits. It was a permanent case of struggling to hold your position 
in the market. There are better ways of doing it. There are cheaper ways of 
doing it. There are quicker ways of doing it. However, for many academics, 
whilst wishing for fast and cheap access to research material, there is 
still the mentality that, when THEIR research is published they want it to 
be as a hardback monograph. Many years past the company I worked for were 
known for their very academic cloth-bound hardbacks that were supplied with 
a simple printed label pasted to the cover. The company gradually moved away 
from this - producing books with very nicely designed dust-jackets. Believe 
it or not there was resistance from certain academic quarters. These 
academics saw it as tantamount to 'dumbing down'. They stated that they 
regarded the publication of their work as a simple cloth bound hardback to 
be a major stepping stone on the path of academic recognition. Many of these 
books WERE subsidised - but they had to be. Less than 300 copies were 
printed (sometimes as few as 180) - of which nearly 20% would go out as 
review copies (academics like lots of reviews). They also wanted their work 
to be seen at conferences. They wanted their colleagues and rivals to admire 
its stark cloth binding and feel the weight of their studies. Conferences 
are not cheap things for publishers to attend either.
I do, therefore, wonder if, rather than just aiming at the publishers, we 
should be looking elsewhere to change the academic mentality. Think about 
your own attitudes to published work. Do you value something as highly if it 
is made available cheaply via the internet rather than in a £50 monograph? 
If not - then why not?
Regards,
Matthew Champion.

-----Original Message-----
From: British archaeology discussion list [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
On Behalf Of John Briggs
Sent: 30 August 2011 19:32
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BRITARCH] Down with Academic publishers

On 30/08/2011 15:59, Mike Haseler wrote:
>
> The real problem seems to be a cartel of large journal publishers whose
> journals are bought by libraries with a "no questions asked" policy
> which allows those publishers to charge astronomical amounts and end up
> with obscene profits.

Question are always asked. Unfortunately, these are the essential,
high-impact journals, where you *have* to publish your work. Libraries
have to purchase them for much the same reason.

John Briggs

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