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Allyn J Radford

Nice post and all very true. I am a little perplexed, however, at the persistent compulsion to publish in paper. As you said, "What was I thinking?". Given that the power to change the status quo has been evident at least since FirstMonday first started (May 1996, http://firstmonday.org) as a peer reviewed online journal, why do academics still publish in paper so that their University can spend tens of millions of dollars to buy back that content so that it can sit on library shelves? This reminds of those who complain bitterly about the Course Management System they have purchased (there is still some choice in that purchase, I hope, isn't there?) and then drop a bigger bag of money on the table year after year. Nobody is making them do it. There are other ways to do these things... but alas, the cycle continues.

On a slightly brighter note, have you tried Zotero (http://www.zotero.org/) for online referencing? I don't use bookmarks anymore. I spend a few extra seconds filling the fields and then can reference in a range of formats when needed.

My suggestion would be that Universities re-route some of the tens of millions of dollars they typically spend on subscriptions into open, online journals and put the balance into open education resources etc.

Yvette Morey

Excellent post that sets out the assumptions behind traditional paper-based journal publishing really clearly. The ill-conceived twisting of this system to meet digital publishing practices brings to mind a similar twisting of (static, individual, paper-based) ethical guidelines set out by professional bodies like the BPS in an attempt to address the multiple and fleeting nature of identity, ownership and authorship in digital and online research settings.

In reply to the comment by Allyn Radford above: while Universities are fixated on assessment excercises such as the RAE, the impact factor of journals (and of course the old guard paper-based journals still carry the highest ratings) will continue feeding the compulsion to publish on paper.


@Allyn - I don't really persist in it much (see http://nogoodreason.typepad.co.uk/no_good_reason/2009/01/blogging-impacts-on-formal-academic-output.html) but I had some study leave and thought I would write some 'proper' articles. One was for JIME (an open, modern journal which didn't make these requests) and another for a more traditional journal (I had been asked to be on the editorial board but refused because it wasn't open, but produced an article). Why do it? I think journal articles still have their place, and as Yvette says, even for me, there is some pressure to keep up a publishing profile.
@Yvette - yes the angle is that 'it's the same sort of thing really, nothing's changed, it's just the same behaviour in a different format'. This is the immutability argument.

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