It’s a question that has lurked around the edges of our campfire for a while — what if publishers paid authors of research papers? Quickly, it becomes clear why this is very unlikely to happen — for financial, ethical, and practical reasons.
Journals as communication vehicles that bind communities of practice are still important and well-regarded, but there are external forces changing them and our industry, along with a rising level of neglect, which may mean a harder future for them than ever. What might we lose? And how does this explain why change is so slow in coming?
Smaller independent and society publishers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the economies of scale around production, technology, and (most important) institutional sales that can be brought to bear by a large publisher. If you are a society that has been self-publishing for many decades, such effects may appear as only a recent headwind in a long publishing tradition. This headwind, however, is most likely not a temporary zephyr but rather a permanent fixture of the STM and scholarly publishing landscape, and one that will only increase in intensity. To understand why, it is helpful to look at the two vectors on which scale operates in STM and scholarly publishing: horizontal and vertical. While horizontal scale has long been the province of commercial publishers, society publishers are typically organized to take advantage of vertical scale. The headwinds are presently blowing along the horizontal plane, from the perspective of the society publisher.
We were wrong to expect that online publishing would be cheaper and simpler than print. Acknowledging that, and facing the slower, more complicated commercial world it has created, could put us on a better path.
A look back at some of Rick Anderson’s insightful pieces on the economic realities of journal prices and library budgets.
SAGE has announced its investment in PeerJ, an Open Access publisher with an unusual business model. SAGE’s David Ross answers some questions about the thinking behind this move and some of its implications for the future.
Shorter deadlines, email reminders, and cash incentives can speed up the peer review process and minimize unintended effects, a recent study suggests. Can it work for other disciplines?
The Internet rewards scale and creates clear competitive disadvantages for niche businesses. Now that a long-term economic downturn has made for starker realities, the effects of this basic set of facts seem inevitable.
A new infographic presentation shows just how effectively a story can be told around data. It also reveals how divergent perceptions, ideals, and reality can be.
By labeling activities that make things affordable and alleviate pressures throughout the system, those who argue against “double-dipping” are not only making things less affordable, but putting forth double-standards.
The culture of cheap has consequences, often expensive ones. Our culture of austerity economics has embraced it, to disastrous effect. Should scholarly publishing be on guard?
The author of “How Economics Shapes Science” responds to some questions stimulated by her fine work.
Economic pressures are driving change. The Chefs weigh in on the options, and clearly believe that while times are challenging, the best course is to keep moving ahead.
It has become fashionable to rally against the elitism of journals and their editors. An economic argument for why we still need them both.
In many Chinese universities, authors are paid to publish. And the more prestigious the journal, the higher the reward.