Failure of Academic Publishing

May 26, 2014

The current academic publishing model has been failing for some time, but it seems things are worse than previously thought. The model is broken: professors have to publish to be tenured, but they have to pay to be published. But the main market for academic publishing is academia, the very employers of these same professors. So the world of education is paying for academic publishing both coming and going. Furthermore, the pressure to publish and achieve tenure can be so overwhelming that everyone starts looking for some relief, or even a shortcut. The National Post has exposed a deeper problem in their article, “It’s the ‘Worst’ Science Paper Ever — Filled with Plagiarism and Garble — and Journals are Clamouring to Publish It.”

The article begins:

“I have just written the world’s worst science research paper: More than incompetent, it’s a mess of plagiarism and meaningless garble. Now science publishers around the world are clamouring to publish it. They will distribute it globally and pretend it is real research, for a fee. Welcome to the world of science scams, a fast-growing business that sucks money out of research, undermines genuine scientific knowledge, and provides fake credentials for the desperate.”

For a long time, academic publishing was protected through the stopgap of the peer review process. But information flows faster now, due to the Internet, and publishers have gotten greedy. In the opinion of this librarian, the importance of evaluating information is now greater than ever. It is no longer enough to trust a certain database, or even a certain journal title, each reader much be a careful critic of the information before them.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 26, 2014

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext


One Response to “Failure of Academic Publishing”

  1. Paul T. Jackson on May 26th, 2014 10:56 am

    I agree that it is worse.
    a. One used to be invited to write…because of one’s expertise; now one is forced to write if one wants to stay were they are. Not making tenure generally invokes the up or out rule, and one moves on regardless of the effect it has on departments and the university at large.
    b. I don’t know when it was that researchers and writers were asked to pay to have their work published, but it’s about greedy publishers who are now forced to make up deficits created through mergers; it’s not about publishing, but about paying off investors.
    c. Emily mentions what seems to be the demise of peer review. Even when there is peer review, those peers often have no idea of the area of expertise of the writer and at least in my case wanted a whole different article, not the one about retrieval of information, but how to write program notes.
    d. Even those journals who accept work by scholars (academic or independent) won’t pay anyone other than perhaps the editor (if that.) So the concept of supporting research and those authors of reports and research is now placed directly on those individuals doing the results, not those using the work who are the likely ones being enhanced in some way by the new information. It is why so many authors are now self-publishing; they have control of their own work and can possibly gain some remuneration for it, when otherwise, they allow others to gain…and there is no future in that. Thus there is no future in academic publishing…I surely won’t do it, and any author worth their salt shouldn’t either.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta