Jewellery ranges to blank pages: how publishers make added funds

I had originally planned to talk about toilets this week, in celebration of world toilet day. Nevertheless, I made the decision alternatively to flip my attention to the planet of academic publishing, and save a quick foray into defecation-themed papers for the finish of this post.

Many would emphatically agree that academic publishing is broken, but one thing was brought to my attention this week that really will take the biscuit. Articles consisting solely of a single page containing the text “This web page is intentionally left blank” are becoming sold by publishers for virtually twenty quid a pop!

A flurry of tweets ensued and two days later myself and 4 other procrastinating academics had written an in-depth evaluation of this phenomenon.

As a manage we developed a truly blank webpage, at no cost, with a significantly decrease file size than the published blank pages. We hypothesise that the further price and size is due to the added value offered by publishers by way of peer-assessment, copyediting and the addition of the stock phrase above.

We found that intentionally blank pages raise a amount of existential concerns, such as “what is a blank webpage?” and “why did I pick a career in academia?”

Even though ScienceDirect had been fairly quick to rid of the blanks, I have given that been alerted to one particular publisher willing to rent you a blank webpage for $ 6 for 48 hours. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

Speaking of scrambling to delete papers, at the finish of last yr Elsevier began asking to take down posted publications.

In the net age, a great many researchers publish publications on the internet with tiny regard for copyright restrictions simply because “everyone is aware of it’s correct and proper”. As academics move to reclaim publishing, publishers are evidently moving to safeguard their turf. Observe this area.

The vanity journal

To avoid this kind of conflict, you could pledge to submit only to open access journals, as almost 15,000 academics have already accomplished. Or you could commence your own vanity journal, as at least one academic has accomplished.

Rosemarie Parse established Nursing Science Quarterly 25 years in the past, and is nevertheless the editor. So far so good. Nevertheless, Parse herself seems to be the major subject of the journal.

Parse has also founded an eponymous international society and yearly conference, and you can even purchase a Parse pin badge.

As Neuroskeptic notes, not several journals can boast an associated jewellery selection. Probably this diversification is one particular avenue for publishers to check out as their standard company model becomes outmoded?

Then there is the multitude of downright fake or otherwise dodgy journals and so-known as “predatory publishers”. This ranges from journals that have been hijacked or bought out by a variety of unsavoury characters, to journals that fail to mention that all content articles have previously been published elsewhere, at times as lengthy as a decade ago.

Jeffrey Beall, a university librarian in Colorado, heroically compiles a broadly-followed listing of this kind of publishers, at the moment listing about 450 journals. Nature ran a extremely good piece on this last yr.

All of this is to say nothing at all of the ridiculously particular journals out there, the Sokal hoax, or the truth that an American cat was as soon as the sole writer of a published paper on substantial-temperature physics, written in French. And do not even get me started out on peer review.

The very best shit i’ve witnessed this week

Witnessed a particularly great blank web page? Tweet me @AcademiaObscura.

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