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Clinging To Scarcity Tactics in A World of Information Abundance

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Florin Draghici

That title may mislead you that I know something. It just sounds good. But as much as we seem to be in a world of digital information abundance, there is plenty of strategies in publishing of creating scarcity that does not truly exist.

I know a number of colleagues do thing like pledge support for open access (I thought Martin weller had a post with his stand on this, and he did stick to an open access route to publishing of his book).

This is a long end around to talk about how I feel getting, in the postal mail, notification of an agreement for a paper of mine that was published recently in a museum education journal.

Now my rate of publishing is maybe one paper every 2 to 12 years, so its not much of a big deal .but going forward, I wont be part of any publishing that restricts access to the content. There has to eb a better way.

This paper was done as a favor to a friend doing the editorship for a small journal. The letter today states:

In compensation for the right to publish and license your article, we shall send you two complimentary copies of the Journal issue in which the article appears. In the event that there are two or more authors of an article, each co-author shall receive at least one complimentary issue. Authors of book reviews, research notes, and other ephemera shall each receive one (1) complimentary copy of the Journal issue in which their contribution appears. The Xxxxx xxxx shall provide no offprints but shall allow you to photocopy up to fifty (50) copies of your article, or provide fifty (50) electronic copies ““ with further reproduction by the recipients forbidden – without fee for non- commercial professional distribution. No electronic posting of your article is allowed without our written permission.

I wonder what is scared or magical about the allowed number of reproductions, 50. Maybe I ought to hum a song. And they pretty much have full copyright of the work.

This in no way means I am upset or irate, and frankly, the restrictions mean little to me. I share more directly on a daily basis bere on this blog, which is where my ideas roma free. It just seems a bit outlandish, like some vestige of an earlier mechanical age.

As such, I can offer no link to the article. And as such, I wont mention its title, topic, or where it was published.

And no, I have not come up with a better model for academic publishing, but then again, neither has the publishing business, and they have more to bring to the table than the same olf models of restriction to create value.

It just does not work.

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by roujo

Again, academic publishing is not really all that important to me, but should it happen, it will be in a place where there is no restrictions to access the content.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. It’s a nice title Alan. Yes, the rights agreements are so _obviously_ stuck in a paper mindset you wonder how they survive at all. It’s like asking for payment in chickens or something.
    BTW – the post where I pledged to not only publish, but to only peer-review in OA is here:
    I still say this back to requests to do a peer review and one publisher replied to me saying ‘I’m not going to rehash all the tired open access arguments’. And I’m not going to provide you with free labour.

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