If Harry Potter Was An Academic Work

from the alternative-universes dept

From the files of J. K. Rowling.

Dear Ms. Rowling,

Thank you for submitting your manuscript Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. We will be happy to consider it for publication. However we have some concerns about the excessive length of this manuscript. We usually handle works of 5-20 pages, sometimes as much as 30 pages. Your 1337-page manuscript exceeds these limits, and requires some trimming.

We suggest that this rather wide-ranging work could usefully be split into a number of smaller, more tightly focussed, papers. In particular, we feel that the “magic” theme is not appropriate for our venue, and should be excised from the current submission.

Assuming you are happy to make these changes, we will be pleased to work with you on this project.

Correspondence ends.

Esteemed Joenne Kay Rowling,

We are delightful to recieve your manuscript Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and we look forword to publish it in our highly prestigious International Journal of Story Peer Reviewed which in 2013 is awarded an impact factor of 0.024.

Before we can progression this mutually benefit work, we require you to send a cheque for $5,000 US Dollars to the above address.

Correspondence ends.

Dear J.R.R. Rowling,

We are in receipt of your manuscript Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Unfortunately, after a discussion with the editorial board, we concluded that it is insufficiently novel to warrant publication in our journal, which is one of the leading venues in its field. Although your work is well executed, it does not represent a significant advance in scholarship.

That is not to say that minor studies such as yours are of no value, however! Have you considered one of the smaller society journals?

Correspondence ends.

Dear Dr. Rowling

Your submission Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has passed initial editorial checks and will now be sent to two peer-reviewers. We will contact you when we have their reports and are able to make a decision.

Dear Dr. Rowling

Re: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

We agree that eighteen months is too long for a manuscript to spend in review. On making inquiries, we find that we are unfortunately no longer able to contact the editor who was handling your submission.

We have appointed a new handling editor, who will send your submission to two new reviewers. We will contact you as soon as the new editor has made a decision.

Dear Dr. Rowling

Re: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Your complaint is quite justified. We will chase the reviewers.

Dear Dr. Rowling

I am pleased to say that the reviewers have returned their reports on your submission Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and we are able to make an editiorial decision, which is ACCEPT WITH MAJOR REVISION.

Reviewer 1 felt that the core point of your contribution could be made much more succinctly, and recommended that you remove the characters of Ron, Hermione, Draco, Hagrid and Snape. I concur with his assessment that the final version will be tighter and stronger for these cuts, and am confident that you can make them in a way that does not compromise the plot.

Reviewer 2 was positive over all, but did not like being surprised by the ending, and felt that it should have been outlined in the abstract. She also felt that citation of earlier works including Lewis (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956) and Pullman (1995, 1997, 2000) would be appropriate, and noted an over-use of constructions such as “… said Hermione, warningly”.

Dear Dr. Rowling

Thank you for your revised manuscript of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which it is our pleasure to accept. We now ask you to sign the attached copyright transfer form, so we can proceed with publication.

Dear Dr. Rowling

I am sorry that you are unhappy about this, but transfer of copyright is our standard procedure, and we must insist on it as a prerequisite for publication. None of our other authors have complained.

Dear Dr. Rowling

Thank you for the signed copyright transfer form.

In answer to your query, no, we do not pay royalties.

Dear Dr. Rowling

Sadly, no, we are unable to make an exception in the matter of royalties.

Dear Dr. Rowling

Your book has now been formatted. We attach a proof PDF. Please read this very carefully as this is the last chance to spot errors.

You will readily appreciate that publishing is an expensive business. In order to remain competitive we have had to reduce costs, and as a result we are no longer able to offer proof-reading or copy-editing. Therefore you are responsible for ensuring the copy is clean.

At this stage, changes should be kept as small as possible, otherwise a charge may be incurred for re-typesetting.

Dear Dr. Rowling

Many thanks for returning the corrected proofs of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. We will proceed with publication.

Now that the final length of your contribution is known, we are able to assess page charges. At 607 pages, this work exceeds our standard twenty free pages by 587. At $140 US per page, this comes to $82,180. We would be grateful if you would forward us a cheque for this amount at your convenience.

Dear Dr. Rowling

Thank you for you prompt payment of the page charges. We agree that these are regrettable, but sadly they are part of the reality of the publishing business.

We are delighted to inform you that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is now published online, and has been assigned the DOI 10.123.45678.

We thank you for working on this fine contribution with us, and hope you will consider us for your future publications.

Dear Dr. Rowling

You are correct, your book is not freely downloadable. As we explained earlier in this correspondence, publishing is an expensive business. We recover our substantial costs by means of subscriptions and paid downloads.

In our experience, those with the most need to read your book will probably have institutional access. As for those who do not: if your readers are as keen as you say, they will no doubt find the customary download fee of $37.95 more than reasonable. Alternatively, readers can rent online access at the convenient price of $9.95 per 24 hours.

Dear Dr. Rowling

I am sorry that you feel the need to take that tone. I must reiterate, as already stated, that the revenues from download charges are not sufficient for us to be able to pay royalties. The $37.95 goes to cover our own costs.

If you wish for your book to be available as “open access”, then you may take advantage of our Freedom Through Slavery option. This will attract a further charge of $3,000, which can be paid by cheque as previously.

Dr. Rowling

Your attitude is really quite difficult to understand. All of this was quite clearly set out on our web-site, and should have been understood by you before you made your submission.

As stated in the copyright transfer form that you signed, you do not retain the right to post freely downloadable copies of your work, since you are no longer the copyright holder.

Dr. Rowling

We must ask you not to contact your handling editor directly. He was quite shaken by your latest outburst. If you feel you must write to us again, we must ask you to moderate your language, which is quite unsuitable for a lady. Meanwhile, we remind you that our publishing agreement follows industry best practice. It’s too late to complain about it now.

Correspondence ends.

Dear Pyramid Web-Hosting,

Copyright claim

We write on behalf of our client, Ancient Monolith Scholarly Publishing, who we assert are the copyright holders of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It has come to our attention that a copy of this copyrighted work has been posted on a site hosted by you at the URL below.

This letter is official notification under the provisions of Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to effect removal of the above-reported infringement. We request that you immediately issue a cancellation message as specified in RFC 1036 for the specified posting and prevent the infringer, Ms. J. K. Rowling, from posting the infringing material to your servers in the future. Please be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to “expeditiously remove or disable access to” the infringing material upon receiving this notice. Noncompliance may result in a loss of immunity for liability under the DMCA.

Please send us at the address above a prompt response indicating the actions you have taken to resolve this matter.

Correspondence ends.

Historical Note

Examination of Ms. Rowling’s personal effects established that she had written most of a seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. However, Rowling never sought to publish this final book in the series.

Reposted from svpow.com



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Vel, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 8:02pm

    Uh, what?

    This has me a bit confused. It's a rather unusual post.

     

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

  2.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 8:31pm

    Ok.. this is just mean!!!

    If you wanted OOTB's head to explode there are other more subtle ways to achieve it..

    ;)

     

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

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_poo, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 8:34pm

    yeah same here, all i got from it was that going through publishing middle men is a fucking waste of time better to just publish it yourself

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 8:36pm

    Re: Uh, what?

    Its a parody and interpretation of what is wrong both logically, ethically and holistically with Academic publishing as it now stands.

    Anyone who has actually attempted to publish papers using the convoluted and extremely one sided way most institutions and peer review is done by so called unbiased, niche, and scientific journals (and don't get me started on there mostly narcissistic peer review structures) would have either gotten correspondence extremely similar if not exactly like this at some time dealing with it all.

    JKR is actually quite apt being here since her original manuscripts were actually rejected by a LOT of major publishers.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 8:44pm

    academic publishing

    1) It's humor.
    2) It's just about *exactly* the way academic publishing works. Your tax dollars at work!

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Aaron (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 8:57pm

    Subjunctive

    The title should properly be, If Harry Potter Were an Academic Work.

    Sorry for this nitpick.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 9:31pm

    Re: Subjunctive

    Just because I think you need to be annoyed ;)

    How to Grammar!
    * Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
    * And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
    * It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
    * Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat)
    * Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
    * Be more or less specific.
    * Remarks in brackets (however relevant) are (usually) (but not always) unnecessary.
    * Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
    * No sentence fragments.
    * Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
    * Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
    * Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
    * One should NEVER generalise.
    * Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
    * Don’t use no double negatives.
    * Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
    * One-word sentences? Eliminate.
    * Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
    * The passive voice is to be ignored.
    * Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
    * Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
    * Kill all exclamation points!!!
    * Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
    * Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
    * Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
    * Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
    * If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
    * Puns are for children, not groan readers.
    * Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
    * Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
    * Who needs rhetorical questions?
    * Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
    [ (Source: misscellania.com ]

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Feb 7th, 2014 @ 9:39pm

    I guess it's suppose to be funny

    ...but it ain't!

    Seriously, Techdirt might want to look at Google's recent comments that "guest posting is dead for SEO". Putting up lame posts like this doesn't add anything, but it certainly makes me NOT want to visit this guys seemingly un-funny site.

    Keep up the good work on blocking too, I gather you have started giving OOTB the same treatment you give me, moderation for 24-72 hours just for fun. At least censorship is alive and well at Techdirt!

     

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

  9.  
    icon
    Sheogorath (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 10:08pm

    Oh, man! All too true, especially the misspellings of Joanne Kathleen Rowling's name!

     

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

  10.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 10:13pm

    Made me wonder what the world would be like if Harry Potter had gotten the Bilbo Baggins account instead of Gandalf.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 11:59pm

    Don't forget the extensive Diana Wynne Jones citations. They should far outnumber those for Pullman or Lewis.

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    madasahatter (profile), Feb 8th, 2014 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Uh, what?

    Most unknown writers are rejected by many publishers before one will accept. However most commercial publishers are relatively fast compared to academic publishers in making a decision about a work.

    I remember the comment by Martin Middlebrook that an author needs to find an editor who shares the author's idea for a book to get published by a traditional publisher. What traditionally happened was an author submitted many publishers and agents to find an editor who liked the author's approach.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    albert, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 8:12am

    Re: Subjunctive

    Don't apologize! There's nothing wrong with trying to uphold some reasonable standards in written English. There is no excuse for grammar errors with information seconds away on the Web.

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Feb 8th, 2014 @ 8:25am

    Re:

    You are not the target audience for this parody - those of us who have direct experience of academic publishing understood it perfectly.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 9:13am

    Book Length.

    If you want to compare works of fiction to scholarly works, I think it is more reasonable to compare them to the kinds of scholarly works which tell stories about people, specifically, History and Anthropology. In history, the normative publication is a book of about three hundred pages, and sometimes considerably more. Historians take longer to produce books than novelists, because they have to check their facts instead of making them up.

    Looking up Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Amazon, I find that it is only 650 _book_ pages long. That is more or less within the range of length for History books.

    Anthropology is a bit different, because it has pretensions to be a science. These pretensions are false, and, thankfully, mostly ignored, and Anthropology is actually the higher travel literature (*). A good deal of work in Anthropology is published in journal form, but a major portion is published in the form of books. There are two kinds of Anthropology books. One is a conventional monograph, of about two hundred pages. An anthropologist is more restricted to a single time and place, and has a narrower field of view than a historian. The other book form is what is called a "Spindler-book," a book of about a hundred pages, one of the Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology series, originally edited by George and Louise Spindler.

    (*) In fact, in a sense, one of the primal works of Anthropology is Oliver Goldsmith's Citizen of the World (1762), in which he used the fiction of a foreign traveler to examine the strange customs of Englishmen in general, and Londoners in particular.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Goldsmith#The_Citizen_of_the_World

    On the other side, the premier form of commercial scientific literature is the advertisement, or "infomercial." So it would be correct to compare scientific journal articles to advertisements.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    A Novel Mafia

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 9:56am

    Re: Uh, what?

    TL;DR

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    Re: Subjunctive

    The title should properly be 'If Harry Potter Were an Academic Work'.

    FTFY. A comma? There? WTF?

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 8th, 2014 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re:

    You are not the target audience for this parody - those of us who have direct experience of academic publishing understood it perfectly.

    Then it should never have been posted to Techdirt without some explanation.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_poo, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 1:24pm

    this^

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Lurker Keith, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I understood the parody fine, more or less, & have no academic publishing experience what-so-ever.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 5:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Same here. Didn't seem that hard to grasp.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Rich, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 6:39pm

    I Don't get it.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Rich, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, aren't you special.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Rich, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 6:42pm

    Re: academic publishing

    1) Are you sure?
    2) See #1.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: Subjunctive

    A Texan and an Easterner were on a plane together. The Texan says, "So where ya from?". The Easterner replies, "I am from a place where we don't end sentences with prepositions". "Oh, begging your pardon", the Texan says. "Where ya from, a**hole?".

     

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

  27.  
    icon
    Aaron (profile), Feb 8th, 2014 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re: Subjunctive

    I originally had the title in quotes, which meant the comma before it was correct. However, since in American English the punctuation goes inside the quotes, I changed my mind and italicized the correction instead. That's how the comma got there.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Rich, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Subjunctive

    Actually, there is NO rule in English against splitting infinitives. That nonsense was made out-of-the-blue in the early 20th century (or maybe 19th) by two idiots trying to make English more like Latin. They figured since you can't split infinitives in Latin, you shouldn't do it in English. Before that, writers did it all the time. The rule is bullshit.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Rich, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Subjunctive

    You mean "grammatical errors," grammar Nazi?

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Subjunctive

    I agree but C S Lewis often uses was.

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2014 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Book Length.

    'On the other side, the premier form of commercial scientific literature is the advertisement, or "infomercial." '

    What do you mean?

     

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

  32.  
    icon
    Sunhawk (profile), Feb 8th, 2014 @ 8:13pm

    Re:

    * Academic papers are freely submitted.

    * In fact, some journals charge fees for submission.

    * Academic papers are peer-reviewed - by what are effectively volunteers.

    * The fees for access to academic journals are absurd, particularly considering the above.

    * Some journals demand copyrights over the paper.

    * The above has literally led to academics that offer *their own work* freely on a website being hit with takedown notices.

    * It has also led to academics being unable to use the results of studies done in previous work - that *they did* - in future work.

    * The above two actually hinders that which the research is meant to advance. In a very petty manner, to boot.

    Now, this varies from field to field; in Computer Science, there's less of these kinds of problems. Partially because the big boys (ACM, IEEE) don't play that way, and partially because it's a lot more conference-centered than journal article-centered.

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 8th, 2014 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Subjunctive

    They figured since you can't split infinitives in Latin, you shouldn't do it in English. Before that, writers did it all the time. The rule is bullshit.

    Same with ending sentences with prepositions.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Book Length.

    Most science is not terribly pure. It often has a commercial side. Often it tends to result in patents, or it constitutes testing of patented materials (eg. drug testing). The patented processes or substances become the bases of commercial products. Alternatively, the researchers need really a money to build something like a giant particle accelerator. Then there are stock-market promotions. One way or another, scientific research has a "selling" side, either advertising or lobbying, as the case may be. Sometimes this takes the form of regular advertisements, but often it takes other forms, such as interviews with sympathetic and uncritical journalists. When Elon Musk tells a bunch of journalists that electric batteries are going to rapidly become better and cheaper, that is a form of commercial scientific publication tending to enrich Elon Musk.

    If you are going to critique academic science publishing, the way to do so is by reference to its commercial equivalent. In the case of things like drug trials, the question you want to ask about the academic publication process is whether it tends to protect the public safety or not.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Book Length.

    Ah, that should read "the researchers need really a lot of money"

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Only someone with limited intelligence would not have got it

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    better than being 'spechal' like you. Still riding the short bus?

    If you are not intelligent enough to understand the inference of the article, maybe a technology blog is not the place for you

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Nop, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 7:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It says right in the damn headline that it's about academic publishing. Duh.

     

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

  39.  
    icon
    Violynne (profile), Feb 10th, 2014 @ 3:41am

    Re: Re: Subjunctive

    This post made this article worth readings, because most of us won't get the inside joke. :|

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2014 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    All we need to do to get rid of blue is for Mike to post a copyright maximalist article. Since blue can't both criticize Mike and call him a pirate, his brain will melt down, as he would probably fail the Turing test.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 10th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re:

    Since blue can't both criticize Mike and call him a pirate,

    I think you would be surprised. ;-)

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This