Politics in Academic Publishing and the Criticism Against Academic Publishers

Politics in Academic Publishing and the Criticism Against Academic Publishers

Academic journals are much sought after because they offer information compiled, analyzed and written by academic researchers or scholars regarded as experts in the related field. Publishers of academic journals make certain that the materials they publish furnish reliable information by having the manuscripts peer-reviewed and edited.

Journals imparting knowledge about science and other academic topics have been made available by academic publishers as far back as 300 years ago. Since then, it is has been widely believed that people of a democratic society, must be encouraged to learn and comprehend science and other academic topics, as supplementary basis for making rational and sound decisions.

However, not many are aware that as the process of academic communication progressed through the years, it came to be that it became necessary for scholars to pay fees in order to have their research work published.

Even more disparaging for academic researchers is that they encountered difficulties in accessing the entire body of researched information available in their field, because research libraries cannot afford the cost of acquiring all scientific journals published.

That is because the politics behind academic publishing had instituted an economic model geared toward limiting access to published academic journals.

Academic Manuscripts: The Road to Publication

The first step taken by a committees of researchers in an academic organization is to secure funds from grant-awarding federal agencies like the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation. After a grant has been awarded, it is only then that a team of scholars and academic researchers proceed on the approved area of study, which usually includes conducting surveys, interviews and experiments.

It usually takes more than a year before a team of scholars arrive at a definitive conclusion, supported by well-researched details and thereafter embodied in a manuscript ready for publication.

When seeking to have their academic work published, the academic team would likely seek publication from publishers that rank high in the world of academic communication. Here, the economic aspect rears its ugly head because the higher the ranking of a journal, the greater the fees required by the academic publisher.

In turn, the publisher provides peer-review and editing services. The academic publisher waits for the recommendations of reviewers before arriving at a decision whether to accept or reject an academic manuscript for publication in their journal. Once a manuscript has been accepted and published in the academic journal, the material now becomes an intellectual property of the publisher.

Although the academic organization basically owns the copyright to their research reports, academic publishers require as a condition for final publication, the waiving of such right either explicitly or impliedly.

The Economic System of Academic Publishers

Inasmuch as scholars and scientists only seek to have their research reports published and disseminated widely, they accept the terms and conditions of the academic publisher that accepts their manuscript for publication. On the part of the academic writers, their rewards come in the form of career enhancement or advancement in the academic field.

Publishers however, reap the bulk of the economic benefits since they acquire and publish journals free of costs. They contend that they add value to a scientific report or scholarly article by providing peer review and editing processes, as well as incur distribution costs. That being the case, it is only logical for them to collect subscription fees from those who wish to access or include an academic journal in their library.

In addition, traditional academic publishers contend that the publication fees they charge academic writers are not as exhorbitant as those quoted by predatory publishers, who do not even provide the critical peer-review process.

The crux of the matter though is that academic publishers, whether traditional or predatory, drive hard bargains when it comes to distributing academically researched papers. So much so that they have attracted criticisms for making huge profits from freely acquired, well-researched scientific or academic materials.

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