Academic ‘publishing’

12 January 2009 in Future of Publishing

There are some aspects of academic publishing I find totally baffling.  First off, they don’t seem to pay anyone for anything, secondly, they demand you give up your copyright for whatever you write for them, and thirdly, the books they produce are insanely expensive.

For example, I contributed an article to the fabulously titled Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies.  The article in question was co-authored by a small research group I’m part of, transliteracy.com.  We weren’t paid for the article, and I scratched out the bit in my contract where they asked me to give up my copyright forever and a day.  The book, which will come out next month, costs $265 US Dollars.  $265!!!  Clearly only university libraries will be able to buy it.  In the world of academic publishing, this is common practice.  What’s this about?!  What does this mean?  Where does this kind of publishing fit in with the Future of Publishing?  More importantly, where’s my free copy?

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