SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION AND PEER REVIEW Moving towards Utopia by C. Judson King CSHE 4.19 (July 2019)


Movement to fully open-access electronic scholarly publication has been hampered by the conflicting interests of universities, private publishers, researchers themselves, and those who fund research.  The situation interacts strongly with traditions regarding peer review and the ways in which researchers establish stature within their fields.  Progress to date has led to seemingly awkward and probably transient systems of dual publication or dual publication status, including green, gold, and hybrid open access. There are also efforts to establish pay-to-publish as the standard model to replace pay-to-read.  The ultimate situation should be immediate open-access electronic posting of results of all research, with pre-posting peer reviews solicited by the author rather than a journal editor, following any institutional policies regarding the type and amount of pre-publication peer review.  There could then also be publications and/or web sites that harvest among posted articles selectively for further attention and may be fee-based, but open-access would be the primary and recognized form of publication. There are several things that research universities can do to encourage this transition.  One is to provide or arrange for services to facilitate preparation and posting of articles and books in open-access repositories.  Another is to make the contents of repositories readily discoverable in searches.  The provost should be a central actor toward these ends, since faculty matters, the library, institutional publishing services, and often computing typically report to the provost.  A provost can encourage policies for reviews of faculty members that do not consider pre-publication peer reviews and measures of journal quality and which instead give more attention to cumulative and integrated accomplishments than to individual papers.  Shared governance provides useful ways of working with the faculty to promote recognition of the value of online, open-access publication.  Engaging the interests and support of the most intellectually respected and senior faculty members can be particularly helpful.

C. Judson King
Publication date: 
July 1, 2019
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)