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Re: [xmca] FW: New PhD comic for 08/05/09!

I wish Peter had used another word, rather than "comic". I didn't realise this was serious!

My take on this. Much as I get angry and frustrated by the peer reviews I get, it really is the heart of the system. It is a very important mode of *collaboration*. When a reviewer completely misunderstands me ("human need" = "biological drive"), or dismisses me ("Marx never appropriated from Hegel"), I admit to getting angry and frustrated. But hey! That's what it's all about. If I can't explain myself to my peers I don't deserve to be published. It can still go on my home page.

I think the whole business of distributing hard copy journals is a waste of time ("Outlines" is now entirely an on-line journal for example. Good for them), and the more prestigious journals go on-line-only, the less kudos is attached to being a print-only journal. The need to pay for reading learned journals is entirely presaged on the need to pay people to produce it. The author doesn't get paid; the reviewers (usually) don't get paid; if hard copies are not distributed to luddites who can't use their computer, then the only person that needs to get paid is that person who tells you to put "(Marx 1973)" for the Grundrisse instead of "(Marx 1857)", something I could well do without.

Of course, many people need learned journals to earn points for their academic career. Don't they get paid enough already?? Anyway, I see that as their problem. Find a journal willing to print you and people willing to pay for it (other than the other authors).

So if I had a choice I would opt for a peer-reviewed on line journal with free access, to be hosted by a publicly funded university.

That's my tuppence worth,

Mike Cole wrote:
What message do you take away from the cartoon, Peter?
Publishers for sure should not be the gatekeepers.
And peer review is often flawed.
But then what?

For many years,what is now MCA was a newsletter. A print discussion forum
before the internet evolved as it has.
Then, at Yrjo's urging, it became a print journal, now with online version
if you pay for the print (ask Andy about the
joys of this arrangement) and many people, at present the most burdened of
whom is Wolf-Michael and staff at LCHC,
plus lots of xmca-ites and other reviewers produce MCA. The argument Yrjo
used to get the newsletter to journal status
was that the field and the careers of individuals working in it required
institutionalized recognition. The most recent
version of his is the struggle for ISI status to satisfy the current
generation of bean counters.

It would be easy as pie to chuck all this and have xmca be re-organized so
that people could publish long papers with open
access and no reviewing, so that members of xmca would simply have a long
list of "papers for discussion" and quality would
equal what was discussed a lot.

No ISI, no blind peer commentary. Just agor uber alles. A lot less work for
editors, managing editors, and reviewers.


On Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 2:09 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:

This cartoon seems pertinent to some discussions here about academic review
processes and publication impact. p

From: PhD Comics [mailto:new_comic@phdcomics.com]
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 2:49 PM
To: mailinglist2@phdcomics.com
Subject: New PhD comic for 08/05/09!


A new 'Piled Higher & Deeper' comic strip has been posted at:



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Andy Blunden (Erythrós Press and Media) http://www.erythrospress.com/
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