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Learned Publishing, October 2010 Issue, now available

>From the Editor:

Be a publishing cheat and go to jail. Issue 4, Learned Publishing 
now out.

For all the talk around legal issues, scams, and naughty people 
who seem to disappear with our money, how often, in your 
experience, has anyone gone to prison?

Well, it's happened in China. Anyone who thought they didn't take 
copyright seriously should read Zhigang Wang's article in the 
latest issue of Learned Publishing, where he describes the 
vicious infighting taking place there, particularly amongst 
Chinese aggregators and academics. Fines are common, and two 
perpetrators actually did get carted off.

Of course lawyers are also people who disappear with our money, 
but totally correctly, of course. Continuing my preoccupation 
with the dark side of publishing, we this time have an excellent 
piece by a publishing lawyer on 'Plagiarism and the Law'. Despite 
your prejudices, he's actually an interesting chap, and if you 
wanted to know when plagiarism might be illegal, when it's not, 
read a clear explanation of its relationship to copyright, and 
even advice that can be very useful to publishers, check it out - 
and when did you last get free useful advice from a lawyer?

Actually, this latest issue is a stonking (to use the technical 
term) one - packed with relevant, useful and even interesting 
articles - my thanks to ALPSP for giving me some extra pages. 
Want to know what to do if considering using an aggregator? We 
have an article giving you almost a step-by-step guide. Want to 
know why your journal was or was not accepted for inclusion by 
SCOPUS? We have an article, from the horse's mouth (i.e. Ove 
Kahler at Elsevier), explaining how they make their evaluation, 
in detail. This one is Open Access, so you don't even need a 
subscription - but I'd prefer it if you had one.

Perhaps you're interested in e-books. Two articles for you. One 
summarising the recent ALPSP survey, and showing up all the 
different approaches, and when and how the commercial publishers 
differ from societies in their approach (and they often do). 
Another is a very timely research article trying to see, using a 
sample of hundreds of books, whether making them OA makes any 
difference to sales - I'm not going to tell you the answer, 
you'll have to have a look.

Then for a bit more argy-bargy, we have an author's eye view 
based on a bit of research in a developing country, on the types 
of author conflict that arise over authorship itself, and 
ordering of named authors, and things like that - plenty of 
claims of victimisation, and not only from the juniors re the 
seniors - now would that happen in the developed systems of 
Europe and North America? - I think it would.

We're also not short of opinionated people - John Wilbanks thinks 
it's about time we had a 'Web' for data, backed up by something 
like creative commons licences; William Park, of DeepDyve fame, 
gives the arguments that underpin not only his 99cents per 
article approach, but in general of approaching different markets 
differently; in a way, that's also the approach of a major 
established RRO. The CCC, in an article by the CEO Tracey 
Armstrong it makes the case for 'context-based' licensing i.e. 
matching the product to the market need.

Then we do have a fascinating article on the development of 
medical journals in China - it's fascinating to me because it 
basically tells the story of medicine in China (and how that 
correlates with journal development), and the influence of the 
Western missionaries, as well as some more offbeat asides - e.g. 
I hadn't realised that one of the reasons 'western medicine' 
originally gained ascendancy was that it did, apparently, 
actually work better than the traditional forms- but then the 
traditional forms made a comeback. And there's a very mature and 
open conclusion of a sort it would have been difficult to imagine 
a few decades ago.

The last article to mention is another practical one - about EASE 
guidelines for authors and translators, intended to help improve 
the standards of written English (I'd better read it again for 
these commentaries).

The issue is 'topped' by an editorial (from my North American 
co-editor, Janet Fisher), and 'tailed' by some book reviews - 
including one glowing one of a rights book. These 'bookends' to 
the journal issue, as it were, are always Open Access. Janet 
tackles the topic of 'what do you know about your users' habits', 
and how important it is - a nice antidote to my 6-pager last time 
which could have been read (especially if you only read the 
title) as totally against knowing anything about them or what 
they do.

At the time of writing, I have a couple of very good items for 
next year, but like most editors, anxious that we can retain the 
standard. We'll try.

Alan Singleton
Editor, Learned Publishing

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