Every department needs a publication advisor

Thu Mar 27, 2014

Every academic department anywhere should designate one of their members to be Publication Advisor. This will be someone who, with the help of their local librarians and whoever else can be helpful, informs themselves about the current state of scholarly publishing. They will learn about their institution’s Open Access Policy (if it exists; otherwise, they may initiate discussions about putting such a policy in place). They will learn to read publication agreements and spot potential pitfalls. They will make themselves familiar with the practices of the leading journals in their discipline. They will look for discipline-appropriate ways of publishing that will give readers open access to research results.

When a member of the department has a manuscript to submit, they can consult the Publication Advisor in their search for a good venue. Throughout the submission and publication process, they can ask the Publication Advisor for advice.

Some universities have staff members who try to fill that role for the entire university. I think that a more local, embedded approach is needed to make progress on the ground.

This idea was prompted by the latest skirmish in the war between scholars and mercenary publishers: http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/2014/03/27/attacking-academic-values/ (Nature playing hardball with Duke over Duke’s OA Policy).

Not unrelated: http://news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2014/03/german-university-tells-elsevier-no-deal. More from Spiegel Online: http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/medizin/uni-konstanz-stoppt-verhandlungen-mit-elsevier-zu-teuer-a-961084.html.