[Lingtyp] papercopy LT

Wu Jianming wu.jianming2011 at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 5 05:19:59 UTC 2017

     Thanks Frans, Martin, Randy and all ,

    An humble as I am, I may not be in a good position to comment on any journal practice.  And  of course, I think we need good journals,just  like LT.

     But nowadays, the function of journals is not merely about spreading good ideas (if so, that would be lucky) ,  but is also involved with  the rankings of individuals , institutions, even the journals themselves. Ultimately, this has to do with fundings we need.   This is one of the  reasons why journals are so important and nobody can afford to resist them(even though a few copies of them may look heavy and not portable).

     But  journals, with comparative advantages, have already ruled out many academic alternatives and makes  "writing good words in your blog" sounds cheap and unprofessional . This would  be quite unthinkable for  Confusius or  Aristole in their times, who didn't have to have their  ideas agreed upon by peers before publishing.

     I think we probably need a mechanism, as Martin propsesd ,  which  is  at least 1) freely available for scholars (in respsonsible way),  2) equally recognized by the institutions,   3) qualitatively evaluated  by the community when they read and think, and not just cite.   Such a mechanism will actually divert  respsonsiblity  from" a few good people" and from "a few good journals" to the community and to the public at large.

      The above is what i was discussing with my colleagues. It may be too ideal to be true, but isnt' it a healthy environments for us to live in and work towards as a goal .



From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Frans Plank <frans.plank at ling-phil.ox.ac.uk>
Sent: 05 July 2017 04:52
Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] papercopy LT

I'm not sure whether the recent Editorial Report in LT 20(3) (my last;  "un-published", but here is a quote) helps Martin at least with diagnosing our predicament.

[...]  Scholarship does not perforce
NEED journals. You can have an idea, make a discovery, defend an analysis,
develop an argument and discuss it with friends and colleagues, correspond
about it, privately or in your blog, report it at scholarly meetings, write it up and
put it on your own internet platform. The hearing you thus get in your discipline
may be of a magnitude most journal publications cannot hope to rival: only
think of the audiences conference presentations sometimes attract even in our
own modest typological circles. You may get acknowledged and even receive
formal recognition – except, unless you are published, the record you are on is
that of individual or collective memory. The way we scholars are, creatures of
yesterday’s habit, we would much rather see our precious words preserved in
black and white. But the last word on whether circulation in cold print, or
eternal storage in one or another repository, is called for is really the reader’s.

(I quote out of context;  the context is that in debates about publishing models it would be good to know more about readers.)

The GUARDIAN article Martin refers to offers another (though perhaps related) diagnosis, implying that it was not so much our "lack of organization", but, ulitmately, our vanity that enabled Robert Maxwell and his copycats at Elsevier to fundamentally change the ways of scholarly publishing.

Diagnosis first, therapy second.  (If vanity is involved, there are many who have considered it a therapy-resistant folly.)


On 04 Jul 2017, at 21:35, Martin Haspelmath <haspelmath at shh.mpg.de<mailto:haspelmath at shh.mpg.de>> wrote:

On 04.07.17 19:36, Wu Jianming wrote:
Dear colleagues,
      I am wondering whether there is another way to spread good  ideas freely and efficiently, which, nontheless, is equally recognized by the authority, just like journals.

Good ideas (or bad ideas) can be published easily these days (e.g. you can easily upload your paper to Academia or Zenodo<https://www.frank-m-richter.de/freescienceblog/2017/02/24/what-should-what-do-i-do-with-my-draft-paper-hide-it-upload-to-academia-or-upload-to-zenodo/>, at no cost), but for professional recognition, one needs a well-organized social mechanism.

Scholars have not been well-organized in the past: As Stephen Buranyi explains in a fascinating recent Guardian article<https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/27/profitable-business-scientific-publishing-bad-for-science>, over decades they left the initiative to commercial companies, who own the titles and who make huge profits (or waste our money because of inefficient organization). If standard business criteria were employed, then publishing a scholarly article would cost between $100 and $500<http://bjoern.brembs.net/2016/12/should-public-institutions-not-be-choosing-the-lowest-responsible-bidder/>, not $5000 as is currently the case.

So how do we get out of the current predicament? I don't know, but we first need to recognize that we are in a disastrous situation.

Maybe we could have a typology journal that is published with a model similar to that of Glossa (with optional fees, supported by OLH<https://www.openlibhums.org/journals/>). Maybe we could find a university that gives "tenure<https://www.frank-m-richter.de/freescienceblog/2017/02/21/we-dont-need-open-access-but-scholar-owned-publication-brands/>" to a typology journal, the way most universities give tenure to researchers. Any ALT members out there with connections to librarians who want to secure their future by moving into publishing?

In any event, using ALT's money for "publication" (in fact, un-publication) behind a paywall is not sustainable in the longer run, so we desperately need new good ideas.


Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de<mailto:haspelmath at shh.mpg.de>)
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10
D-07745 Jena
Leipzig University
IPF 141199
Nikolaistrasse 6-10
D-04109 Leipzig

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