The Inanity of Academic Publishing

From Verena Hutter and Karen Kelsey:

I have made it clear how I feel about book chapters in edited volumes or editing volumes (read chapter 16 in the book, and don’t publish in edited volumes, and don’t EDIT VOLUMES, until you are tenured). If my advice has come too late, and you have no other publications, it’s fine to mention the book chapter in your publication para, but don’t try to pass it off as an article. Some edited volumes are in fact peer-reviewed, but your contribution is still not an article.

It drives me nuts that edited volumes are given so little prestige compared to journal articles. There is a general position in academia that book chapters are not rigorously reviewed as compared to journal articles but, really, this has more to do with the publishing outlet than anything else. I’ve published with some journals where the review has been a joke and vice versa. The same is true of edited volumes.

But what bothers me even more about the focus on journal publications over edited volumes is that academics are encouraged to publish places where only the wealthy universities can afford to access/read what is written. I was given advice as a very junior scholar that almost no one in government will read academic journal publications because they can’t justify the per-article cost, whereas departmental and government libraries can justify purchasing books.

If you want to make a public policy impact, or want to generally have your work theoretically more available, then publishing in books (or putting pre-pubs in public repositories like SSRN) is a must. But academics are disincentivized from such practices: they’re punished for trying to actually expand the numbers of people who could read and use the work. So while they’re actively glorifying knowledge production they’re simultaneously hindering the dissemination of what is produced.


Man who created own credit card sues bank for not sticking to terms – Telegraph


what a hero!

Different situation, but I’ve done the same thing with publishers around copyright terms. Contracts: something to negotiate, not just something to submit to.


And…another publication (as second author) in a law journal for our work on social media companies and their privacy practices, as related to compliance with Canadian law.

I think this puts me on track for 5-6 publications this year alone…

On Publicness and the Academy

Alex Reid has written a short piece about his position concerning the question: if and academic speaks in public, is it right for members of the audience to record/write/talk about what was said?

While I can’t say that I agree with one of the positions he assumes – that as an academic you should exclusively be publishing close-to-complete work (i.e. drafts or early works in progress you don’t want talked about need not apply!) – it’s worth the read, especially in the context that many academics are loathe to have ‘early’ work broadcast beyond tightly controlled confines and populations.

Alex has a great punchline, emphasizing how academics are for the first time really, widely, seeing their work being public and thus critiqued/engaged with. It’s scary for a lot of people but it’s definitely the new reality of academe. The post is well worth the few minutes it’ll take you to read!