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[Xmca-l] Fwd: [Air-L] Elsevier and academia.edu

Seems like a relevant set of issues for xmcaophiles, especially those for
whom publishing is a major source for accruing capital-- cultural, social
and other.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jonathan Sterne, Dr. <jonathan.sterne@mcgill.ca>
Date: Sun, Dec 8, 2013 at 6:47 AM
Subject: [Air-L] Elsevier and academia.edu
To: "<air-l@listserv.aoir.org>" <air-l@listserv.aoir.org>

Hi All,

I've been following these developments with interest.  A few comments.

1.  It is not true that there are no open access journals that are good to
publish in, even for conservative hiring and tenure committees.  Though I
guess it depends on your discipline and subfield which they might be.  I am
on the editorial board of International Journal of Communication and joined
precisely because I believe in the project.

2.  Publishing requires time, skill and money.  But it doesn't have to be
done for profit.  There is a big difference between university presses, who
are mostly money-losing operations, small independent publishers who are
guided by an intellectual or political vision, and big conglomerates like
elsevier who are in the business of maximizing profits.  Why we should be
supporting the conglomerates is beyond me, but we should definitely be
supporting university presses or a robust library-driven alternative unless
you like the idea of laying out your own page proofs in the future and
handling all your own copyediting, promotion, reviewing and distribution,
on top of all the other duties being offloaded to faculty these days.
 (this is especially important for book authors)

3.  Everything people have been saying about publishers like Elsevier being
parasitic on academics' free labour is also applicable to academia.edu<
http://academia.edu>.  As far as I can tell, academia.edu<
http://academia.edu> is itself a for-profit operation, working on the same
suspect business model as other social media sites.  They provide a "free"
site that is actually very expensive to host and maintain. The site is
"free" to users because user fees are actually less valuable than the data
generated by users of "free" accounts, over which users have no control.  I
only know of one group of potential customers for such data
sets--marketers.  So once again we have advertising creeping into new media
business models, except it's scholarship, a space where advertising hasn't
really taken over.  Unless there's something I'm missing, the fact that
they were granted a .edu address is an impressive con job, since they
appear to be a .com like all the others.   If academia.edu<h
 ttp://academia.edu> has another business model that doesn't involve
selling its users' data to third parties over whom we have no control, or
marketers as their real clients, I would like to hear about it.

4.  I have joined academia.edu<http://academia.edu> to get prepublication
copies of essays.  I keep my own work on a hosted site that's easy to find
in google.  That site incurs costs of all sorts, but I know what they are
and what the profit-model is for the people providing me the services.  For
now, I am more comfortable with those options (I could, also, host a site
on my own university's servers, but there are reasons not to do that).


Jonathan Sterne, Professor
Department of Art History and Communication Studies
McGill University


MP3: The Meaning of a Format <
http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=47544> (Duke,

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