[Iag-list] Fw: Journal subscriptions

Simon P J Batterbury simonpjb at unimelb.edu.au
Thu Dec 14 20:52:34 AEDT 2017


'Fennia: the international journal of geography' from the Finland Geog Society is publishing a number of open access short articles responding to exactly this debate, coming from the AAG session I organised and the Nordic Geog conference this year.  Articles by Springer, Peet and several others can already be seen under forthcoming papers. https://fennia.journal.fi/forthcoming/view/index

My own paper, is described and linked here https://wordpress.com/post/simonbatterbury.wordpress.com/1814

. I question the fate of publishing in geography in particular. I  do provide some data to back up my points. Change requires :


1)  'Socially just' publishing choices, where we apply the same ethical rigour to publishing considerations  that we insist on in conducting our research [which means - sorry folks - avoiding greedy publishers where the majority of work is currently sent, unless we can reform them- otherwise, status quo prevails and our libraries our our departments remain overcharged].

2) "changing the mentality of senior academics" - please do not penalise more junior  job and promotion candidates who publish in the many  geography journals that are open access or produced outside the unjust publishing industry (there are at least 65 alternatives, that I can find), or that choose a 'just' way to meet a particular audience. Instead read the work, not the citation count or the journal ranking. I have been on countless hiring committees where this comes up.

3) "help build socially just publishing. Most ...reputable, free or low cost open access journals are run by "community economies" of unpaid academics, university libraries or departments, or scholarly societies....." These are the ones that need our support in terms of labour, submissions, refereeing, and recognition.

4) In a practical sense, I explain how I coedit a journal with moderate recognition and no budget- the DIY publishing sector is viable, and this type of work also needs greater recognition. It drives most publishing in other parts of the world already, notably in Latin America.


So, in the real world...Point 1) is an issue for everybody in the profession, especially when training the next generation of scholars. Point 2), if addressed, would diminish the worry that many ECRs feel about publishing. The humanities are less corporate-dominated, social science is absolutely the worst at 70% of web of science articles published by 5 companies and rising due to horizontal corporate acquisition, 4 of them analysed in Wilson's Conversation article , and natural science not far behind. References in the article. Point 3) is a natural extension of community economies work into our own and other disciplines' professional practices.


Several issues are tackled by other authors. Springer et al call on us to actually do refereeing when asked, and to prioritise it more in professional life. Part of getting off the treadmill of production expectations, is this basic act of 'mutual aid'. Sara Fregonese addresses unequal linguistic choices, Derek Ruez looks at contesting the audit culture that disadvantages many scholars and their work. Finn, Peet et al take the recent Third World Quarterly scandal  as a launching point to discuss their 'Human Geography' journal, which as many of you know, does things differently and redistributes any surplus it generates in the form of small grants. There are other inspiring contributions and several more being added.


In sum, Brendan has raised a key issue for Australasian geography. I have my own take on the debate and there is more to consider of course, but publishing ethics and strategy are  elephants in the room. Rather than skirting around the issue and worrying constantly about ERA ranks, professional society income and so on [which is what i heard over 14 years in Australia] , I think it is time to address them head on. This falls to senior figures, and the IAG, NZGS etc. as much as individual scholars. I live in Europe right now and there is a major intervention, a meeting, a debate, a boycott, or an editorial board resignation about unfair publishing, almost every week. There is also unadulterated fury on occasion-and many librarians are leading here. This is a battle worth fighting, but a lot of change needs to start without own professional practices-the likes of Elsevier can't exist without us. Happy to liase further.

Dr. Simon Batterbury |  Professor of Political Ecology, LEC<http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/lec/>, Lancaster University, UK, Europe. S.batterbury at lancaster.ac.uk<mailto:S.batterbury at lancaster.ac.uk>
Principal research fellow| School of Geography | University of Melbourne, 3010 VIC, Australia | simonpjb @ unimelb.edu.au | http://www.simonbatterbury.net<http://www.simonbatterbury.net/>


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Message: 1
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 21:53:13 +0000
From: Brendan Whyte <obiwonfive at hotmail.com>
Subject: [Iag-list] Journal subscriptions
To: IAG list <iag-list at flinders.edu.au>
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Article by Auckland University academic on the exorbitant cost of journal subscriptions to university libraries (and the disinclination of universities to reveal said cost to the public).


https://theconversation.com/universities-spend-millions-on-accessing-results-of-publicly-funded-research-88392?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20December%2013%202017%20-%2090037606&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20December%2013%202017%20-%2090037606+CID_f888d03915c7e620d097f55b97bad0d7&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Universities%20spend%20millions%20on%20accessing%20results%20of%20publicly%20funded%20research

It raises an interesting point: if university research is mainly funded by the public purse, should not the results be available to the public that paid for them?

There are other inputs and costs of course (private funding of research, the cost of editing/publishing/distributing a journal).  But the pseudo-monopoly position of the big publishers and their quest for profit, seems to be overriding the public good of dissemination of research findings. One certainly shouldn't need an FOI request and 3-years' wait to find out the research results, or their cost to the taxpayer..


Brendan Whyte
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