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Re: [jox] research threads instead of special issues

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Hi all

In principle, why not (at the same time some journals are better than others; and some special issues are very good (though its true that I rarely if ever feel like reading all the articles in one...))
The only objection would be in terms of social / media impact, something we talked about at length previously i.e. when you announce a special issue with strong contributions on topic x it makes more of a public splash than a trickle of papers coming out... partly solved by an eventual print publication I guess, but does not apply online...

But, like, I said, why not. 
So, grand.

But what about the categories for review?

And the publication process?!

C'mon, gang, we can do this! ;-)


----- Original Message -----
From: Toni Prug <tony>
Date: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 10:39 am
Subject: Re: [jox] research threads instead of special issues
To: journal

I think special issues are a form which is necessary for paper
publications. They are less necessary for digital publications.

With research threads, we don't loose printed issues, but we get 
them in in the different rhythm: one more suitable to academic 
production of articles, and one in which production of quality 
worthy of chopping trees occurs. Why print forcefully after 9-12 
month, if we can get much better material by giving all those 
who would like to submit the time scales which make those extra 
submissions possible? I did a small survey of this yesterday, 
asking three more academic colleagues how they feel about 
CallForPapers current form - they are as unhappy and as bitter 
as every single academic i spoke so far.

[PHONE NUMBER REMOVED] - though I don't see a contradiction here really. A special issue
could be the starting point for a research thread which then

The argument goes like this: most special issues, and most journals
indeed, are not good enough i.e. not as closely as good as they 
could be if we tweaked the processes of production. This is my 
starting position - i buy huge amounts of books that i enjoy 
reading, and very few journals that i rarely find useful or 
enjoy; although i tried, with many subscription over the years 
(i still keep bunch of subscriptions although in reality i only 
currently enjoy and find useful reading a single journal out of 
it all). Hence, in my assessment, journals, and special issues, 
are worthy of buying as printed products only in extremely rare 
cases. This lack of uniform quality (an odd exceptional piece 
can be found often, but why publish and buy a printed item for 
this) is because journals do not fit the rhythm and the time-
logic of research today.

The proposal i'm doing for another academic publishing platform 
project  is that when a research thread produces enough 
texts of good quality, a special issue will be compiled and 
published as a book collection. This way, both the authors and 
the potential readers get a much better deal out of it: authors 
more time to produce, and readers higher quality printed publication.

Of course, those who think there are many academic journals with
consistently high quality of publishing to the extent that they like
buying them as printed products will obviously disagree.

I spoke on this issue with well over a dozen colleagues in academia
during past year/two, many of them with many years of editorial or
advisory board work in various journals, and so far only a single
colleague staunchly defended the quality of any journal [1].

Paradoxically, that person is Juan Grigera, who ended up joining 
me in
my quest to change the way articles are produced, reviewed and 
publishedthrough journals, using web tools and organizational 
techniques - we now
work together on the Journal Commons project that i already mentioned.


[1] In short, editorial board members of various journals i 
spoke to
have low opinion of the pieces published in own journals - 
confirming my
dissatisfaction with journals in general. It's unlikely they 
would say
so publicly, and i wouldn't blame them for it either. But private
discussions tell a depressing story of journals. Still, editors keep
doing it, blind to structural problems, institutionalized into the
existing journal-mindset. I don't blame them for that either, 
it's much easier to propose changes being a newcomer to the 
field, i feel.


Dr Mathieu O'Neil
Adjunct Research Fellow
Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute
College of Arts and Social Science
The Australian National University
email: mathieu.oneil[at]

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