Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Authorial Vanities II

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Authorial Vanities II

Article excerpt

Not discussed in "Authorial Vanities" is why neither editorial nor peer review can possibly save authors from their blind spots, at least not in the long run. Put another way, this piece argues that publishers are an essential feature of the publishing landscape, that someone must invest in an author's work, other than he or his proxies, or the quality of publishing will seriously degrade.

First, with the rise of unaffiliated scholars and itinerant, temporary, and part- time faculty, few of these will be able to afford open- access fees, conference registration fees, and the like. Their only recourse will be usually unedited, and always (at least formally) unrefereed working papers in endless succession published freely on the Web. The open access movement, however well- intentioned, will result in marginalizing the already marginalized still further.

Second, for the privileged few with permanent positions and/or the funds-or the institutional funds-to pay these fees, and other like fees, what I would expect is an eventual degradation of both peer and editorial review as authors strive for quantity, not quality, and produce as much as they possibly can-good, bad, or indifferent-up to the very limits of what their or their proxies' budgets allow. This will not only strain institutional budgets, already overly strained, but will have the predictable effect of utterly distorting editorial and peer review. Why? Especially why "utterly"? Because the more an open- access journal publishes or the more papers a conference and its associated satellite workshops accept, to give just two examples, the bigger the enterprise, and money talks. …

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