I would like to open a discussion on this list about the growing number of commercial conferences and on-line journals that invite participation from scholars. A recent on-line journal from SAGE invites scholars to submit their articles to a broad on-line journal on the humanities and social sciences. SAGE promises peer review but doesn't give any indication of who the peers are. We have already had a discussion about the pitfalls of the Common Ground design conference and ensuing publication, both of which are set up to separate scholars from their dollars, pounds, Euros, or zlotys. The SAGE journal charges scholars $195 for publication and promises the validation of a peer review and on line publication. Others are similar. As with Common Ground, these journals publish lists of prominent scholars who are supposedly on their advisory boards. Some of these scholars may agree without thinking enough about what they are doing. Others are surprised to find their names on such lists. These tendencies and others to come, fueled by a growing number of PhDs who need to publish, will only confuse our field and other academic fields. They are not meaningful places to publish nor are they set up to foster discussion and debate in any particular field. My own opinion is that we would be better off without them. They represent a kind of inflation and meaningless activity that is not good for the global academic economy.
Professor Emeritus of Design History
Department of Art History
University of Illinois, Chicago