(Policy Perspectives 1998) To publish and perish

To publish and perish. Policy Perspectives. 1998 Mar; 7(4):1–12. Co-sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Pew Higher Education Roundtable. Available from: http://www.thelearningalliance.info/Docs/Jun2003/DOC-2003Jun13.1055537929.pdf. Accessed 2012 May 14. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/67finUwZi.

This joint statement traces the ballooning costs of scholarly journals to the involvement of the commercial publishing industry in the 1960s and 1970s, when academic funding was abundant and research output began to exceed what could be handled by the existing scholarly publishing apparatus. Academics understood labor-intensive services like editing and peer review as a gift-exchange economy governed by the informal owing of mutual favors; commercial publishers saw them as a source of privatizable intellectual property that could be exploited for profit. Collective action by academia is needed to regain control over intellectual property and to minimize the need for commercial publishing. Faculty evaluation for promotion and tenure needs to emphasize quality rather than quantity of publications. Publication of research must be decoupled from its certification through peer review, and from faculty evaluation. The joint statement advocates the creation of a three-tiered system for scholarly online publishing:

  1. Unreviewed postings of preliminary results.
  2. Peer-reviewed online publications.
  3. Publications selected as having special significance for the field.

When evaluating faculty for promotion and tenure, efforts must be made to give the second and third tiers equal recognition with publications in recognized journals.


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Last revision: April 5, 2013