[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

re: Monopolies in publishing: defining quality

Can quality be defined as what people are willing to pay for and what
people are likely to cite?

In some cases this is undoubtedly true, but I would suggest that this is
not a universal principle.

Some areas of research receive much more funding than others.  In some
cases, this is an accurate indication of the importance of the research
(e.g. HIV/AIDS attracts lots of research dollars, as it should), whereas
in other cases factors other than the real importance of the research are
at play.  For example, scientific areas that appear likely to yield
economic benefits for a geographic area are more likely nowadays to
attract funding than basic research.  Opportunities to receive research
funding can be an incentive to cite articles in these particular areas.

The differences are much greater when comparing different academic
disciplines.  STM commands much more research money than areas like
education or child care studies; but are they really less important?

Another reason to hesitate on associating citations and willingness to pay
with quality:  in traditional scientific disciplines, is it not the case
that those who are following the latest paradigm are more likely to
succeed on these measures?  If it becomes even more difficult for the
pioneers to share their ideas, does this stifle innovation?

a personal opinion by,
Heather Grace Morrison


liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu writes:
>Dean Anderson's view that consolidiation represents a decline is
>fortunately not necessarily the case. To a considerable extent, as
>jmcdonald@library.caltech.edu wrote:
>> The cessation of low quality journals produced by commercial publishers
>> a good thing.  Authors still publishing in those journals were poorly
>> served by the publishers in the first place and will seek other avenues
>> where they can publish their research.
>it represents the solution. These journals cannot be making significant
>positive contributions to the cash flow of their publishers, as is obvious
>to anyone who will take a realistic guess of their true subscription
>figures. When there was no practical alternative, it was perhaps
>justifiable for them to be subsidized by the other titles, and by the few
>hundred research libraries then able to obtain a complete collection.
>Now publishers can return to their proper function. That function is not
>to disseminate all academically-produced material regardless of low demand
>or high cost, but to publish the material which is worth publishing. This
>can be roughly defined as the material that people wish to read enough to
>pay for. Those publishers who have such goals will do very well.
>(Let me parenthetically add that anyone who is convinced that all
>published material is worth publishing should find some expensive but low
>ranking journals in a subject they understand, and look at the articles
>themselves, and add some objective analysis by counting the citations to
>those articles.)
>However, Dean's approach to maintaining the journals that are worth
>maintaining is surely the right approach, in my opinion:
>> ... They know that price increases fuel further drops in
>> subscriptions and that unless this cycle is stopped, they'll be out of
>> business.... Publishers with a long-term view therefore have a strong 
>> incentive to keep subscription prices stable. On the other hand, 
>> publishers with a shorter term view may choose to simply milk the
>> for all they can get before the market runs dry.
>> Dean H. Anderson
>> COR Health
>> http://www.corhealth.com