"Academic publishing is broken"

http://www.digitalvictorianist.com/2013/06/open-access-book-revie

“A few months ago I reviewed Leah Price’s latest monograph for the European Review of History. How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain explores nineteenth-century representations and perceptions of books and other printed objects such as newspapers and religious pamphlets. It’s an interesting study and well worth a look for anybody who works on Victorian print culture. A hardback copy with 350 pages will set you back £15.56 on Amazon – not dirt cheap, but more reasonable than a lot of academic monographs. Still, if you’d prefer to read my review before handing over your hard earned cash then you’ll soon be able to find it on the Taylor and Francis website. If your institution already has a subscription to the European Review of History then you’ll be able to digest my wise words for free, but if not then please don’t despair – you’ll have the option to buy a copy of my review for the perfectly reasonable price of £23.50. It’s 1,114 words long – that’s about four sides of A4 paper – and will be sent to you in the form of a handsomely presented PDF. How could you resist?

It’s moments like this – when a 4 page pdf of a book review costs more than the 350 page hard-back book that it’s reviewing – that should remind us that academic publishing is broken. The numbers just don’t add up. Open access initially seemed to provide a solution to this problem, but the ‘Gold’ model currently supported by the UK government replaces one set of skewed numbers with another. If you haven’t been following this debate – or, like me, you keep forgetting which colour of open access is which – then all you need to know is that the ‘Gold’ model requires authors (or their institutions) to pay for the costs of publication. At first glance, this seems like it could be viable, until you realise that the ‘costs’ of publishing are massively inflated. This week I received an email from Taylor and Francis informing me that I had the option to publish my book review as Open Access for the modest fee of $2,950. ”


Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

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