Larry M. HYMAN hyman at BERKELEY.EDU
Thu Apr 4 16:17:04 UTC 2013

Am I the only person who in 40 years in academia cannot think of a single
case where someone's tenure, promotion, advancement was jeopardized because
of choosing an unknown or undemanding publisher for one's grammar (vs. not
publishing enough or at all)? Look at all of the expensive, often poorly
reproduced grammars (and other things) by Publisher Y (no names please!),
which seems not to review manuscripts at all. In my experience in the US it
is the department that makes the case, and they do this by what they know
(or think they know) about the quality of the person being reviewed. Add to
this the possibility of referring to published reviews, which admittedly
often take time (or don't materialize--or can even be explained away if not
positive). (I admit that I have never been at a university with an adverse
dean or higher administration.)

I think that if I went to publisher X, it would mostly be out of vanity:
The grammars look great and you are in good company! There are, however,
many other options, including series that are dedicated to specific areas
or language families. I however do not mean to justify the high prices of
grammars--and many other linguistics books in general.

On Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 7:53 AM, William Croft <wcroft at> wrote:

>  But the problem is, a good-quality but open-access or inexpensive
> publication does not have the quality of peer review, the track record of
> quality publication, and the marketing presence that Publisher X has, so it
> is not surprising that a tenure committee takes such a publication less
> seriously even if the author chose that publication outlet precisely to
> make her/his grammar accessible to a wider audience, including the
> language's speakers. I don't think the protestations of professional
> societies would change that. For this reason, Publisher X has no reason to
> reduce its prices; it doesn't have to.
>  Bill Croft
>  On Apr 4, 2013, at 12:20 AM, Johanna NICHOLS <johanna at BERKELEY.EDU>
> wrote:
> Later I'll log in to the LSA Ethics blog and comment there, but quickly:
> Publisher X conducts peer review, has a history of publishing grammars that
> meet the field's standards, prints on archive-quality paper, and has
> advertising, distribution, and a conference presence that make its
> publications known to the world.  When my university judges publications by
> "quality", this is what it means.
> But the issue of price is critical, and no academic should have to
> singlehandedly fight to have a good-quality but open-access or inexpensive
> publication recognized by a tenure committee. This is why we have
> professional societies.
> Johanna Nichols
> On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 1:51 PM, Mark W. Post <markwpost at> wrote:
>> Dear LINGTYP Listmembers,
>> I am sending the following link on behalf of Robbins Burling, who has
>> written a piece on the LSA's Ethics Blog to do with the high costs of many
>> published grammars from an ethics perspective. This relates to an extended
>> discussion on this topic on LINGTYP some months ago, so may be of interest
>> to listmembers. Rob has invited comments on the piece, and especially any
>> proposed solutions.
>> Cheers
>> Mark
>> --
>> Dr. Mark W. Post
>> Universität Bern
>> Institut für Sprachwissenschaft
>> Länggassstrasse 49
>> 3000 Bern 9
>> Switzerland
>> Tel +41 31 631 37 07
>> Eml markwpost at
>> Web
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