[Lingtyp] papercopy LT -- from a "pre-war" country

Hedvig Skirgård hedvig.skirgard at gmail.com
Wed Jul 5 08:14:43 UTC 2017

Just as a sidenote to Heiko's thoughtful and insightful message, I can
really recommend following Language Science Press blog on heir business
model and the blog on OA in linguistics for more concrete details on how
these journals and publishing houses work practically.

   - http://userblogs.fu-berlin.de/langsci-press/category/business-model/
   - https://oaling.wordpress.com/

To my knowledge, no-one is suggesting switching to small institutional
journals but rather to scholarly controlled journals with support from
large funding bodies and university libraries and with the same prestige
and reviewer standard as the fully-commercial alternatives. This is why its
so important that senior people who are not in the rat race for tenure etc
lend their support to OA alternatives, and that we push our libraries and
funding organizations to support OA.

I have no doubt that there are nice people working for commercial
publishing houses, and that they've done much good in the past for which
I'm grateful. This does not mean I want to continue supporting a future
where I as a researcher will work for free reviewing for them and writing
for them and have my university library pay expensive fees. There are more
clever ways of doing this, and we're a clever profession. We can do better.



*Tōfā soifua,*

*Hedvig Skirgård*

PhD Candidate
The Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity

ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

School of Culture, History and Language
College of Asia and the Pacific

Rm 4203, H.C. Coombs Building (#9)
The Australian National University

Acton ACT 2601


Co-chair of Public Relations

Board of the International Olympiad of Linguistics


Blogger at Humans Who Read Grammars

On 5 July 2017 at 10:05, Heiko Narrog <heiko.narrog at outlook.com> wrote:

> Dear everyone,
> It looks like the issue has shifted from paper vs. online to commercial
> publisher vs. self-published.
> I would like to give my two cents’ worth for anyone who’s interested, from
> a different corner of the world, from a different perspective, and with a
> slightly different conclusion.
> In the country where I am based, Japan, the publishers never took over.
> There have been only a tiny number of linguistic journals for the general
> public by commercial publishers. Otherwise, there is a somewhat bigger, but
> still limited number of peer-reviewed journals produced by linguistic
> societies, and then a huge number of institution-based publications.
> Practically every humanities faculty in Japan has its own publication
> (usually labeled as *kiyoo*). That’s kind of pre-war Europe multiplied,
> if I understand it correctly. (Indeed, the number of universities and
> faculties in Japan multiplied after the war, with the pre-war publication
> system in place.) I don’t know the statistics, but I surmise that 95%~ of
> academic journals in the humanities are self-published by faculties, less
> than 1% published by publishers, and perhaps 1 or 2% as genuinely
> peer-reviewed academic journals. The result has been that (a) people can
> publish very easily, the hurdle is very low, and (b) the vast majority of
> research gets published in a raw state, not reaching the level of quality
> that it might have reached under a different system.
> So, when I look at how it went in the West, and how it went in Japan, I
> can only think how much better the average journal article would be in
> Japan, and how different the academic culture would be in general, if the
> publishers had taken over here as they did in the West. But this is my
> personal opinion, and not every Japanese person might agree with that,
> because they might favor the convenience of the institution publications.
> Anyways, in this sense, I think one should acknowledge the role that
> linguistic publishers have had in promoting sciences, and especially the
> humanities in Europe and North America, even if it was at worst only the
> side product of greed, as described in the excellent Guardian article on
> Elsevier/Springer.
> Publishers take over a lot of the tedious administrative and technical
> work that most academics would not like to do, or feel they really don’t
> have the time for. Now, due to the internet, part of that that work, namely
> the printing and distribution of the printed product, has become obsolete,
> making it easier for the academic community to take publication back into
> their own hands. But astonishingly, although this possibility has already
> existed for 20+ years, the advance is very slow, most of the existent
> online journals have not managed to build a reputation like the
> publisher-based ones, and the question is why. From a practical perspective
> I think it’s mainly two things, namely (1) even if the printing and
> distribution process is removed, there is still a lot of tedious work left
> that most folks would probably not like to spend their time on, and (2)
> sustainability. A journal, in order to build a reputation, should be
> reliably around for 10 or 20 years at least. This is difficult if its
> publication is not institutionalized but tied to the good will of
> individuals.
> So, I believe the bottom line is if who is going to invest his or her time
> and energy and commit to the often tedious work of publication and how can
> it be institutionalized? It’s not easy to find people for that because
> nowadays even people with a secure position may have an immense work load
> or be under pressure to produce.
> Lastly, Elsevier/Springer may indeed be the ultimate “bad boy” in this
> business. They made headlines in Japan last year when it was found out that
> Elsevier/Springer charged outrageously higher fees to Japanese universities
> for their package than European universities. (I think it was at least 50%
> more.) Probably they didn’t reckon that Japanese universities have more
> money, which is not the case, but rightly surmised that their Japanese
> counterparts at least initially would not be able to obtain the relevant
> information and would be more subservient than European counterparts. On
> the other hand, I think it’s not right to vilify linguistic publishers in
> general. I don’t know much about the philosophy and the mechanisms at
> Mouton and Benjamins, the two publishers probably closest to linguistics.
> It may not be so much different from Elsevier/Springer, or it actually may
> be. Those in charge of linguistics at these publishers, whose livelihood
> basically depends on these publications, are often very decent people.
> Think of John Davey, about whom we could read a lot recently. So, no matter
> in what direction the community decides to move from here, I think an
> entirely negative view of the publishers and the people working there is
> not warranted. On the contrary, there are quite some things in the past for
> which we can be grateful.
> Cheers,
> Heiko
> *From:* Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org] *On
> Behalf Of *Martin Haspelmath
> *Sent:* Wednesday, July 05, 2017 4:36 AM
> *To:* lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> *Subject:* Re: [Lingtyp] papercopy LT
> 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.
> Best,
> Martin
> --
> Martin Haspelmath (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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> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
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