self-publishing at inside higher ed

A recent Inside Higher Ed article describes the world of academic self-publishing. My own view of the issue:

Fabio Rojas, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University, said he’s “still a believer in regular publishing.” (His next book is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.)

“The reason that academia has value is that we’re people who engage in self-criticism,” Rojas said. “We have peer review. It’s not perfect, it doesn’t always work, and a lot of garbage gets published anyway. But that’s why most of the energy in academia may be on traditionally peer-reviewed materials — because that’s what the value added is.”

But self-publishing, the sociologist said, “is now a new tool in the tool box.”

“If I want to get something out there that doesn’t quite fit the mold, then I have this new option,” he said. “What if Mark Zuckerberg had to go to the Myspace people and ask permission to start Facebook? That would be absurd. Same thing with academia: after a certain point you have to say, if this is a truly good idea, you have to take the initiative and get it out there.”

In other words, be an adult. Peer review is very important and it’s usually quite helpful. But sometimes you need to stand up for your ideas and get them out there. I was also happy to see that Sociological Science got attention for its innovative model:

Other scholars, however, aim for a middle ground. They want to avoid the hassles of academic publishing, but they don’t want to abandon the long-cherished forms that scholarship tends to take: the review, the article, the monograph. And they hesitate to publish through Amazon or through similar websites like Smashwords or Lulu, which publish all manuscripts without any screening process.

The online, open-access journal Sociological Science is one example of how scholars have tried to develop alternative publishing models. The journal is peer-reviewed: well-regarded sociologists select which papers to publish. But the journal does not offer editorial suggestions, and it publishes all accepted papers within 30 days of receiving them.

Check out the whole article.

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Written by fabiorojas

August 6, 2014 at 12:01 am

Posted in academia, fabio

3 Responses

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  1. Just to clarify, we do not promise to publish within 30 days of acceptance; we promise to make a decision on your manuscript within 30 days. (We only make promises about things we can control, and the acceptance–>publication timing is subject to vagaries such as authors going on vacation, etc. That said we publish papers as soon as they are ready.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think its fitting that Rojas compares traditional academic publishing to MySpace.



    August 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm

  3. “While this ‘The Facebook’ project has much merit, they didn’t adequately incorporate Orkut, MySpace and Friendster into the web site design. Unfortunately, I must reject this paper.”



    August 6, 2014 at 3:57 pm

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