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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  1.  
    identicon
    Cixelsid, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 1:21pm

    We've become full circle

    From exposing as many people to information as possible to keeping as much of it as we can to ourselves. This is a step backwards for civilization.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Greg J. Smith, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 1:25pm

    not peer reviewed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

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Cixelsid, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 1:36pm

    Re: not peer reviewed

    Please take a loot at our project!

    Greg J. Smith


    Sure...I'll loot you're project...hehe

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Cixelsid, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: not peer reviewed

    Please take a loot at our project!

    Greg J. Smith

    Sure...I'll loot you're project...hehe


    Your project even!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 1:59pm

    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.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 3:26pm

    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.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 4:15pm

    Negative results

    Journals tend to publish research that succeeds. What we need are online journals of experiments and lines of research that failed so that other researchers do not waste time going down dead ends - or so they can look at what was tried and come up with a way to improve on it.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Greg J. Smith, Jul 9th, 2007 @ 4:50pm

    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.

    ,g

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Dimitris, Jul 10th, 2007 @ 12:46am

    I recently wrote the first of two posts giving my take on things from my personal perspective as an academic. Note it's to do with the field of astronomy and is not limited to the question of journals vs blogs. stay tuned for part 2.

     

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  10.  
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    Jeremy, Jul 10th, 2007 @ 4:50am

    It's been done.

    This isn't new a new concept. See http://www.plos.org/

     

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  11.  
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    fat-edgar, Jul 10th, 2007 @ 9:06am

    academic discussions behind closed doors

    One reason why discussions are kept private is to avoid being interrupted by retards who have no useful information to contribute.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Mical, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 2:08am

    Good

    It is very blancing and wonderfully.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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