Fwd: Do academic journals pose a threat to the advancement of science?

jzus jzus at ZJU.EDU.CN
Sat Aug 22 22:36:54 EDT 2009

against science associations for control of academia. Attacking 
journals is meant to undermine the financial power of the 
associations. Some university managers would like to eliminate 
journals as a too-costly interface between authors and readers. 
At times, both sides scapegoat commercial publishers that 
compete with the associations' journals. At other times, it is the 
associations that suffer. A variety of editors and librarians, as 
quoted by Ms. Corbyn, shill for university budgetistas. Twenty 
years ago, major news organizations in the US were embarrassed 
to learn how they were used as they failed to check out an unsigned 
report on the economics of scientific journals.

The threat to scientific communication is far more profound than 
Corbyn's naive complaints about twits, copyrights, and metrics. 
The economic underpinning of science publishing -- i.e. the research 
libraries that buy journals -- has stagnated far behind the robust 
growth of academic R&D (which generates journal papers). These
metrics are easily available for anyone interested. This inequity leaves 
some editors to reject perfectly good papers while the PHYSICAL 
REVIEW, for example, accepts whatever research papers meet its 
editorial standards. It leaves librarians looking for metrics to guide 
their cancellation programs and publishers treading water in their wake.

Science publishers are responsible for the integrity of the scientific record. 
Operating with scant resources, the first publishers took great risks in 
search of a personal profit. There is nothing to stop anyone from getting 
into the business. If anyone believes they can make a better journal, I say, 
Go for it.

However, the obvious solution to the threat to scientific communication is to 
raise library spending to keep pace with production of journal articles. 
University managers like their profits too much (and care about their integrity 
too little) to do it without government insistence. 

Albert Henderson, former Editor PUBLISHING RESEARCH QUARTERLY


-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen J Bensman <notsjb at LSU.EDU>
Sent: Wed, Aug 19, 2009 9:45 am
Subject: [SIGMETRICS] Do academic journals pose a threat to the advancement of science?

Some anti-metric, anti-evaluative screeds making the rounds.  Their 
authors may be members of this listserv.  I myself am not so hot on
metric evaluations, but the ultimate argument in their favor is that
evaluations will be made consciously or unconsciously, and you might as
well attempt to quantify the biases as a the first step in obtaining a
somewhat more accurate picture.   

Stephen J. Bensman
LSU Libraries
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA   70803
notsjb at lsu.edu

From: owner-liblicense-l at lists.yale.edu
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l at lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Colin Steele
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2009 3:33 PM
To: liblicense-l at lists.yale.edu
Subject: Do academic journals pose a threat to the advancement of

A long article from Zoe Corbyn, in the British Times Higher 
Education Supplement for August 13th with the above title has 
some extremely cogent comments regarding the present situation in 
academic publishing and the impact of the increasing trends to 
measure research both individually and institutionally through 
bibliometric and other numeric processes.

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