So this is going to be an exercise in speculative strategic planning, of trying to guess what people want, at what times, under what conditions, and how we, as publishers, can satisfy these demands.
Now, this might be a bit rough—I wouldn’t recommend starting any businesses off of this or anything—and is very much me thinking out loud, more trying to think through a few issues and obstacles rather than create something I could pitch to investors or the provost.
I’m also going to take the point of view of someone primarily trying to find a viable way of publishing minigraphs in both print and electronic formats. While there are other interesting, and perhaps viable, formats for distributing academic content—ereader and tablet/mobile device applications, for instance—minigraphs have a pedigree and a sort of familiarity to our core audience that more novel media might not. If even trying to publish short books on a significant scale, rather than mostly long books on a slightly smaller scale, is a radical idea, one likely to encounter resistance and without an established place in the academy, then who knows what trying to find acceptance for these more radical formats might involve. This is a bit of a “if this works, we can try something a bit more adventurous next” exercise, a potentially workable first solution to a very real problem. Continue reading
A year ago, I was an unemployed ex-philosopher who had just started a publishing internship. Now, I’m an unemployed philosopher who’s the senior intern and has a blog. Next year (hopefully!) I’ll be an employed philosopher, no longer an intern, and still have this silly thing. Continue reading
There’s no good way to write this. I’m going to hack off someone, just because this is a horribly charged issue—even saying I read the Finch Report on open access is going to lose me Twitter followers. All I can do is refer you all to my disclaimer and hope nobody with the power to hire, fire, or ask for revisions ever reads and takes issue with anything here.
Furthermore, anything negative I accidentally happen to imply about STEM* journal publishing should in no way be construed as reflecting on any publishing or editorial enterprise I’ve ever been a part of—humanities journals are, by and large, run pretty ethically by any reasonable standard. Humanities scholars have no idea what a “page fee” is, for instance, and tend not to believe you when you tell them what (and how much) they are—simply put, we don’t pay ’em. They try to have you committed when you tell them how much science journals charge for subscriptions—even those that charge page fees and run ads. It drives our STEM cousins nuts when they hear about life on our side of the divide.
Alright, enough ass-covering, it’s time for diplomacy. If the State Department’s hiring, I hope they’re reading this. Continue reading
I’m going to grab my fiddle while people are setting fires and ignore the whole Finch Report Open Access bomb that’s blowing up right now.* Suffice it to say, I need to finish reading all of it (I don’t do journals right now, so only about thirty pages are of more than academic interest to bookies like me) before I act like I have something intelligent and novel to say about it—but, worry not, I will talk about it.**
Instead, let’s talk about something that’s tangential to the whole Finch Report/Open Access debate: the institution of peer review. Yes, a lot of people aren’t too keen on it (“why are we paying for this, again?”), but for those of us who publish things, it’s important. Sure, it’s the gold standard, sure, it’s an assurance of quality—but for us, if it doesn’t pass peer review, we don’t have to waste good money publishing it. Continue reading