Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.


Publishers: Who Needs Them?

Interesting article by David J.A. Clines on academic publishing – both self-publishing on the web and publishing through journals and like.

Publishers: Who Needs Them?


  1. It’s an interesting article. Odd (though fun) the way he values everything in dollars. I would have thought that the main value of a publisher to an academic was the kudos of having had your article accepted by a reputable journal. That gives you the CV value you need to get your next job, regardless of whether anyone ever reads the damn thing…

  2. Yes, the dollar thing was a unique twist – actually putting monetary value per hour to academic work.

    I came across the article when following up some reading on Tim’s blog ( where there is a discussion on academic publishing (in Biblical Studies) and the barriers it puts in from on some from entering and engaging with scholarship.

    Pragmatically I see the need to publish in “established” journals. But the loss of copyright, having my employer then pay to access work I did for them, and having others then excluded by price or format from accessing it and interacting with it makes it hard to work with sometime.

  3. Tim

    Interestingly (at least in Science) you are MORE likely to be cited more if you publish online. See “Online or Invisible?” ( by Steve Lawrence also in an edited version Nature, Volume 411, Number 6837, p. 521, 2001.

    Which perhaps is a plus for online journals, and for the habit of post-printing.

  4. Yes, quite a different mentality in science. I’ve found that moving from computer science to theology has required a change in the way I read. In computer science articles are the key – by the time a book is published the field has moved on. The pressure was to write conference and journal papers asap. In theology books seem to carry more weight.

    So my skills at quickly consuming papers (in this order read: abstract, introduction, conclusion, graphs/diagrams, main body) have needed updating to being able to read whole books quickly – still something I struggle with. I feel frustrated if I take “too long” to read a book.

  5. Tim

    I agree that the cultures are different. Reading styles too, therefore. However, I suspact that an article in a journal that is available through one of the commonly used electronic repositories will soon be more likely to be cited in theology too – ease of access…

    Monographs are another matter, with their own complex dynamics, and even more their own similar but different economics!

  6. I run a self publishing service in the UK and the US. What we’re finding is that we’re getting more and more authors who have been traditionally published coming to us, purely because they keep control over their work.

    This appears to be especially true for mid list authors who are expected to do a lot of their own publicity themselves and who feel that the rewards aren’t adequate.

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