Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The perils of academic publishing

Martin has published a gentle rant on academic publishing on his new blog.

"I had an article (The Distance from Isolation) accepted for publication in Computers and Education. It has now been 'in press' for over a year now, with no indication as to when it will actually be published. By the time it is, it will be out of date. I'm sure it's not the case but it reminds me of Chelsea FC - they buy the best players not with an intention of playing them but simply to stop other teams having them.

This is but one example of the very strange world of academic publishing. For those who don't engage in it, the deal goes something like this:

  • Academics provide the content
  • Academics do the reviewing
  • Academics often do the editing
  • Publishers print it and sell it back to academics
  • Authors are often restricted from making their own work publicly available
  • Authors receive no payment for the published work

Not an entirely fair system one would have thought, but because journal publication is tied up with academic esteem, promotion and the rather pernicious RAE, it is a process many of us feel compelled to go along with."

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