An argument against academic e-/self-publishing
An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education arguing about the dangers of humanities academics self-publishing their research (or maybe it’s just about e-publishing: it’s not really clear):
Argues that pre-publication peer-review through publishers’ stables of experts is the only way to assess quality; and that we shouldn’t water down dissertations (not sure exactly how this is related); and that the sciences won’t take the humanities seriously if we e-publish. Actually he conflates the process of e-publishing with revising the dissertation process, arguing that a watered-down dissertation won’t be taken seriously by the sciences – I suppose these are arguments being made by the same people, but they are hardly dependent on one another. He starts by saying that e-publishing isn’t as rigorous, but then turns to the sciences as authority for whether to reform the humanities dissertation or not. But if the sciences should be our model for academic research (wait, why should they again?), maybe we should worry about not e-publishing, given the extent to which scientific research is published online these days. Confused.
Needless to say, there are already a few comments. Old Guard vs. Young Turks, or Defenders of Academic Standards vs. Lazy Young ‘uns who don’t understand how the world works? The debate continues!
Still working on my own take, which becomes more ambivalent the more I think about it. So my eventual post will probably be framed in terms of “The things that would be required for digital self-publishing to work for an academic historian today.”