Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

On crisis in scholarly book publishing

Jennifer L. Holberg and Marcy Taylor, Getting the Profession We Want, or A Few Thoughts on the Crisis in Scholarly Publishing, Pedagogy 4(1), 1-7 (2004). (Access restricted to subscribers.) The editors of Pedagogy explore the economics of the scholarly monograph, a condition of tenure for many academic departments. As library book budgets are increasingly constrained by the rising costs of books and especially journals, university presses and would-be authors have suffered. Holberg and Taylor review much of the discussion around this issue, highlighting suggestions that academics focus on the scholarly article rather than the monograph. One of the problems, they point out, is "it is naive to see the journals market as more secure than the book market....Electronic publication is not, as many seem to believe, free or even cheaper than traditional publication. In fact, it is just as expensive as print publication ...since by far the largest costs in producing a journal are editorial." They remark also that institutions are cancelling journals at a rapid rate, or purchasing them through aggregators who pay less to the university presses. The authors do not mention open access publishing; rather, they speculate on potential solutions such as changing the standards for tenure, more emphasis on teaching and development of educational materials and increased valuation of scholarly editing and reviewing. (Source: Chronicle of Higher Education Daily Update)