The Thesis Whisperer’s thoughts on “The academic writer’s strike” and Elsevier

So I just caught wind of this blog but from the first few posts I glanced through, it seems a gem. This one raises some good questions regarding the academic publishing cycle and whether it is fair or actually achieves the goal of supporting the ideals of the academic endeavor: clear, accurate, and far-reaching dissemination of original ideas for the purpose of helping other people come up with original ideas to disseminate.

I think that in many ways the open publishing movement (BMC, PLoS, and similar) goes a good way to helping the problems that she raises but you cant beat the impact factors of many of the “old school” publication companies. I am interested to continue reading Mewburn’s material and suggest that you check her out as well.

The Thesis Whisperer

I have spent years exhorting students to publish as much as possible before they finish and straight after. But lately I am beginning to wonder about my place in the academic publishing system, both as a researcher and a teacher.

I don’t think I can keep handing out this advice with a clear conscience.

Academic publishing is presented as a universal good, without regard to how the publishing system operates. While publications are an essential addition to the CV in today’s competitive job market, the ethics of publishing need to be considered too. Some big publishers are making boatloads of money – in the order of millions of dollars – out of labour we academics willingly give them.

This profit largely goes into the pockets of shareholders, not the researchers or universities.

Essentially this is public money which becomes ‘privatized’. It works a bit like this. Australian citizens are…

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