Blog Demonstrates Alternative To Closed Academic Journals

from the open-knowledge dept

Academic journals have never been particularly big moneymakers, but they can offer successful contributors a certain amount of prestige. Still, it’s never made much sense that these journals are so reluctant to open up their content to the public, potentially exposing contributing authors to a much wider audience. As it is, many interesting academic articles are locked behind prohibitively expensive paywalls. Any follow-on conversation is locked up as well, further reducing the value of the paper. The world of academic blogs isn’t exactly a substitute for academic journals, although it does help bring some of these conversations out into the open, as well as offer professors an avenue to promote their research. Over at the popular law blog The Conglomerate, they’re doing an interesting experiment, whereby several academics are discussing a paper that’s been made open to the public. While you might not be interested in the subject itself — Privatization and the Law and Economics of Political Advocacy — the experiment offers a good opportunity to glimpse the kind of discussion that would occur among academics, usually behind closed doors. It would seem to behoove the world of academia to encourage more of these open discussions. Not only would it raise the profile of more professors, but it would continue to level the playing field, by eroding the dominance of a handful of elite universities and journals.

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Comments on “Blog Demonstrates Alternative To Closed Academic Journals”

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not peer reviewed

Ha! I love this.. I run a digital arts quarterly called Vague Terrain and a lot of our contributors are PhD students, they love the ability to talk a little more informally and expose their work to a wider audience. The whole project is a double edged sword though in that a lot of academics don’t take us seriously (because we don’t peer review) and then we have also received feedback that we are far too formal for web 2.0 culture. Also, we release our publication quarterly which is in lines with an academic journal, but today’s RSS readers seem hungry for 5 updates a week. In many ways the slow, steady pace of the academic journal.. unaffected by the news of the moment is just what the world needs right now.

The debate is quite similar to citizen journalism vs. more traditional models.

Please take a loot at our project!

Greg J. Smith


It’s more like ‘corporate knowledge’ than ‘academia’ now.

I think the days of true ‘Universities’ are gone – it’s just a corporation that specializes in political agendas and revenue.

Nothing wrong with a business being a business – but the need is once again here – for public places where knowledge can truly be shared.


I am not passing judgement on Vague Terrain’s peer review (or not) decision because I know nothing about digital arts.

That said, for scientific and medical purposes, peer review is needed to protect – as much as possible – against poorly done research.

Once a peer reviewed scientific/medical paper is published, greater benefit is achieved by granting wide access, than restricting it. That would change the business model of the journals.

They can adjust – maybe by selling very low cost access via the web. Lots of cheap subscriptions vs. a few expensive ones.

Re: loot at me

loot? Geez. Sorry.

Well, I guess there is a sliding scale as per the necessity of peer review. In arts writing, if an author wants to engage in bad scholarship their piece may be rejected by us, and they may be exposed as fools for propagating shoddy work. There aren’t repercussions, I guess in more science or practice leaning periodicals I can understand the need for peer review. I don’t necessarily think it is needed in arts and ideas writing. 2/3 or our content is music/audio art and visual art so there isn’t even a precedent of peer review for them (aside from critique).. it is just the written content we are “lax” about compared to academic journals.


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