Gary Hall on Wed, 27 Jul 2011 14:39:14 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> some more nuanced thoughts on publishing, editing, reading, using


Keith was asking for references to research on academic journals. In 
addition to those already mentioned, one piece I've found helpful is Ted 
Striphas's (2010) 'Acknowledged Goods: Cultural Studies and the Politics 
of Academic Journal Publishing',  Communication and Cultural/Critical 
Studies, 7 (1), 3-25

There's an 'open' pre-print version here:

I'm singling this piece out in this context because it's particularly 
interesting with regard to some Taylor & Francis/Informa's geo-political 
connections. For instance, writing in 2008, Striphas details how:

'One of Informa's subsidiaries, Adam Smith Conferences, which is indeed 
named for the patron saint of economic liberalism, specializes in 
organizing events designed to open the former Soviet republics to 
private investment. Other divisions of the company provide information, 
consulting, training, and strategic planning services to major 
international agricultural, banking, insurance, investment, 
pharmaceutical, and telecommunications corporations, in addition to 
government agencies. Take Robbins-Gioia, for instance. The United States 
Army recently tapped this Informa subsidiary during an overhaul of its 
command and control infrastructure. The firm was brought in to assess 
how well the Army had achieved its goal of "battlefield digitization." 
The United States Air Force, meanwhile, tapped Robbins-Gioia when it 
needed help improving its fleet management systems for U-2 spy planes. 
Other aspects of Informa, such as the Monaco Yacht Show, are perhaps 
more benign.^Nonetheless, Informa is a significant global player whose 
business ventures extend into some of the most important geo-political 
and economic realignments of our time.' (Ted Striphas (2008), 
'Acknowledged Goods' Worksite, Differences and Repetitions: The Wiki 
Site for Rhizomatic Writing. Available at

I think there are alternatives to either publishing a closed journal or 
not publishing in a particular field at all. One would be to start an 
open journal in the field, one that is international in scope. An open 
journal can be set up and disseminated internationally pretty easily and 
quickly nowadays, using Open Journal Systems ( or 
something similar (although generating an 'international' level of 
prestige for a new journal can of course take a while).

I'm not mentioning this as way of criticizing anyone's 
strategic/tactical, political or ethical decisions - I merely want to 
point out that these *are* decisions that we all make. For example, I 
know some academics have taken the decision to stop giving their free 
labour in the form of editorial work, peer-reviewing etc., to 
non-public, non-open access, for-profit journals; or to  journals and 
publishers who don't allow authors, as a bare minimum, to self-archive 
the refereed and accepted final drafts of their publications in 
institutional open access repositories; or who are owned by 
multinational corporations involved, say, with the military or arms 
trade; or who operate high annual library subscription charges.


Gary Hall
Research Professor of Media and Performing Arts
School of Art and Design, Coventry University
Co-editor of Culture Machine
Co-founder of the Open Humanities Press

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