journal publication (Antipassives)

Daniel Everett dlevere at ILSTU.EDU
Mon Mar 29 19:09:07 UTC 2010

It is true that self-evaluation is deceptive. On the other hand, getting at least an initial version out can provide more comments, most useful, faster than the glacially slow journal process. Also, senior scholars are often invited to submit to specific collections, so that their work is committed before they write it in many cases. It is only natural that the number of journal submissions might go down as the number of edited volume chapters goes up during the course of one's career. Unless you constantly turn down invitations and shoot only for journal publications. 

For the first-ever international conference on recursion, which I organized at Illinois State University (with funding from ISU and the Max Planck Linguistics Department in Leipzig), the conference presenters voted that they'd prefer to put all the papers in a special issue of a journal rather than an edited volume, even though we had an invitation to publish the proceedings with a major publisher in the UK. So that is what we went for. Harry van der Hulst kindly came in to edit the volume when I realized I didn't have the time (congenital lack of organization no doubt). The referee reports were thorough and required a lot of revising for some. The overall quality of the volume is very high. But it wound up as a separate stand-alone volume, rather than the special journal issue it was originally intended to be. So it was a journal that became a book.

Given this, I am still not fully understanding Martin H's contrast between journals and edited volumes. I think that there is no reason in principle, and very little in practice in my experience, to believe that the best edited volumes are markedly inferior to any journal. 

I do believe that one of the reasons that linguistics continues to evaluate journal articles (at least in the US) as more important on a cv than either chapters or even entire books, regardless of publishers, is that it is probably harder to get a paper into a premier journal, e.g Language or NLLT or LingTyp (though I am less familar with the rejection rates of Linguistic Typology) than to get a book published by even the most prestigious academic publishers. I think Martin may be getting at this. We know that the page limits are so severe in journals that the best journals have a 90% + rejection rate. Journals accept articles almost exclusively based on quality, whereas publishers also include marketing concerns  (e.g. will anyone buy this?).

On the other hand, some of the research in journals with much lower rejection rates, such as IJAL, is often of equal or superior quality and even more often, more useful to a particular group of researchers, e.g. Americanists.  I can't see much reason, therefore, for always  preferring journals to edited volumes or entire monographs or even less selective journals. Peer review is very important. But ultimately the publications will be designed to reach a particular readership and so the price of admission will vary. And with the internet, self-publishing is always a place to start looking for comments.


On 29 Mar 2010, at 14:50, Dan I. Slobin wrote:

> I agree--thinking of the revisions that I've had to think through in my own submissions, and the revisions
> I've suggested to authors of submitted papers that I've reviewed.  Peer review sometimes distinguishes
> science from pseudoscience, as Johanna says, but much more often simply improves the intellectual
> and scientific quality of papers.  As much as we may like to think we've perfected a position and presented
> it with excellent data and argumentation, self-evaluation can often be deceptive.
> Dan Slobin
> At 08:57 AM 3/29/2010, Johanna Nichols wrote:
>> Self-publishing bypasses peer review, and peer review is a much more
>> important function of journal publication than boosting careers is.  Peer
>> review is so essential to distinguishing science from pseudoscience that I
>> don't think it should be bypassed, at least not very often.
>> Johanna Nichols
>> dlevere at ILSTU.EDU wrote:
>> > I agree with most of what Martin says. However, I don't think that if
>> > senior scholars self-publish this puts junior scholars at a
>> > disadvantage. In fact, I would think the opposite. It frees up journal
>> > space for them. I think that selective journals are crucial for the
>> > careers of junior scholars. And if senior scholars need the 'credit'
>> > in some sort of evaluative process, e.g. the UK's RAE or some such,
>> > then publication in a selective journal is always preferred. But for
>> > well-established scholars who want to make interesting work available
>> > but aren't worried about impressing review committees, I think
>> > self-publishing is a useful option.
>> >
>> > I certainly do not understand what the hesitation would be to use and
>> > cite such materials. (In fact, you can publish any monograph on
>> > and charge for downloads if you'd prefer. I don't recall
>> > seeing a linguistic monograph published in this way, but other
>> > disciplines, most notably philosophy, seem to do this from time to
>> > time.)
>> >
>> > Dan
>> >
>> >
>> > Quoting Martin Haspelmath <haspelmath at EVA.MPG.DE>:
>> >
>> >> Since increasingly, even papers from "print journals" are printed out
>> >> rather than retrieved from a library in paper form, the difference is
>> >> now mainly between journals with page number restrictions and journals
>> >> without page number restrictions. The latter are obviously preferable
>> >> (in typology, we have one so far:
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> It seems to me that the future of linguistics lies in abandoning
>> >> monograph publication, and shifting to journal-only publication.
>> >> Increasingly, as linguists compete for resources with other
>> >> disciplines, journal publication is seen as counting more. (In fact, it
>> >> may make sense to go as far as relabeling entire book series as
>> >> journals, to help evaluators and funding agencies see linguistics as
>> >> what it is, a respectable science.)
>> >>
>> >> Martin
>> >>
>> >> P.S. I wouldn't recommend the "self-publishing" strategy suggested by
>> >> Dan Everett as an option. As he notes, this is not available to junior
>> >> scholars, so if it became acceptable, it would put them at a
>> >> disadvantage. I think we should not cite unpublished work that isn't
>> >> evidently intended for regular publication.
>> >>
>> >> dlevere at ILSTU.EDU wrote:
>> >>> Dear Wolfgang,
>> >>>
>> >>> It seems to me that work that doesn't quite fit an established
>> >>> print journal or monograph series ought either to be submitted to
>> >>> an electronic journal or simply posted on one's webpage with a
>> >>> notice to the relevant list, at least for senior scholars such as
>> >>> yourself.
>> >>>
>> >>> Most of the people who would read and benefit from your research
>> >>> report are readers of this list and Funknet, and some on
>> >>> LinguistList who don't read these two lists. In fact, by making
>> >>> your work available to your colleagues by this announcement and
>> >>> your webpage, you have probably already ensured that your paper
>> >>> will be read by more people than most print outlets.
>> >>>
>> >>> I look forward to reading the work from your website.
>> >>>
>> >>> Others might have different opinions about publication, of course.
>> >>> But that is my view.
>> >>>
>> >>> Dan
>> >>>
>> >>> Quoting Wolfgang Schulze <W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE>:
>> >>>
>> >>>> Dear friends and colleagues
>> >>>> please allow me making a perhaps somewhat unusual post. But maybe you
>> >>>> can help me or give me some advise. I have produced an admittedly
>> >>>> lengthy paper on the *grammaticalization of antipassives* in terms of
>> >>>> split aspects systems, dealing mainly with Sumerian, Kartvelian, and
>> >>>> Proto-Indo-European, but including data from other languages, too. You
>> >>>> can download the first draft (attention: not yet proof-read by an
>> >>>> native speaker of English!) from
>> >>>> . My problem is that
>> >>>> I really don't know what to do with this paper. It is too long for
>> >>>> submission to a journal (79 pages), and too short for producing a
>> >>>> (slender) monography. Any suggestions (if ever you can imagine that
>> >>>> the
>> >>>> contents are of relevance for our community)? In addition, I would be
>> >>>> happy to receive critics and other comments all of which would
>> >>>> undoubtedly help to improve the quality of the analyses.
>> >>>> Many thanks in advance and best wishes,
>> >>>> Wolfgang
>> >>>> --
>> >>>>
>> >>>> --
>> >>>>
>> >>>> *Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze *
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> --
>> >> Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at
>> >> Max-Planck-Institut fuer evolutionaere Anthropologie, Deutscher Platz 6
>> >> D-04103 Leipzig      Tel. (MPI) +49-341-3550 307, (priv.) +49-341-980
>> >> 1616
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > --------------------------------------------------------------
>> > This message was sent using Illinois State University Webmail.
>> >
> ******************************************************************************************************************************
> Dan I. Slobin, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley
> address:                                                        email: slobin at
> 2323 Rose St.                             phone (home): 1-510-848-1769                    
> Berkeley, CA 94708, USA                
> ******************************************************************************************************************************

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