Tag: publishing

Journals, academia and the ivory tower.

This post will make more sense if you read this one first: You need us more than we need you. Further to the results of my reader survey, it will probably resonate more with you if you’re in Higher Education…

Academic journals on a shelf

So how did academic journals come about?

Until the late seventeenth century, communication between scholars depended heavily on personal contact and attending meetings arranged by the early learned societies (e.g. the Royal Society). As the membership of these societies increased, more people could not attend the meetings and so the Proceedings, usually circulated as a record of the last meeting became a place to publish papers that had not been presented at the meetings at all and moved towards what we now recognise as scholarly journals. (Wells, 1999)

So journals are a replacement for personal contact.

Are they good for anything else? Brown (1997) cites the following:

  1. distributed (many copies are stored in many places)
  2. scholars trust and understand the system
  3. journals have prestige built up over many years
  4. portable and easy to read

Which of the above benefits either (a) cannot, or (b) are not currently able to be replicated by another system?

Some would argue that an important difference between (for example) a blog post and a journal article is that the latter has been formally peer reviewed.

However, as even the editor of The Lancet points out:

The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong. (Horton, 2000)

Just how big do the cracks in the ivory tower have to get before the whole edifice tumbles?

Odlyzko (September 1997) points out that there was an “extensive resistance to print by scholars” in Gutenberg’s time which included calls to ban the new technology because only trash was getting into print and books were not as durable as parchment. The reaction to the Web of today’s scholars has largely echoed the reaction of scholars to the printing press in the 15th century. (Well, 1999)

Is the only reason we persist with journals and their articles is because they provide a convenient means to weigh the pig?

Image CC BY-NC-SA Lal Beral

References:

Brown, S.A. (1997). Scholarly publishing using electronic means : a short guide. Newcastle: Northumbria University

Horton, R. (2000). “Genetically modified food: consternation, confusion, and crack-up”. MJA 172(4), p.148–9

Wells, A. (1999) ‘Exploring the development of the independent, electronic scholarly journal.‘ Sheffield: University of Sheffield

#uppingyourgame v0.5 now available!

The penultimate version of #uppingyourgame: an educator’s guide to productivity, v0.5, is complete! Those who have participated in the OpenBeta publishing model so far have already received their free update. Four of the five chapters are now complete:

  1. The Philosophy of Productivity
  2. Productivity & Motivation
  3. Productivity as ‘getting on & doing’
  4. Productivity 2.0

The final chapter is provisionally titled Making others more productive and will be coming out before the end of the 2009/10 academic year.

Version 0.2 is available as a preview here

Buying into the ideas that this book contains (and will contain) NOW costs £6. You will receive a free version of the version 1.0 ebook and be able to access a special page where you can purchase a physical version of #uppingyourgame at cost price. If you decide not to purchase now be aware that the price will increase for the final version.

Once you’ve completed the payment process clicking on the orange button to ‘Return to DAJ Belshaw’ will take you to the download page. 🙂

Permanent link to the book’s page at http://bit.ly/uppingyourgame

#uppingyourgame v0.4 now available!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finished working on version 0.4 of #uppingyourgame: an educator’s guide to productivity. Three of the five chapters are now complete:

  1. The Philosophy of Productivity
  2. Productivity & Motivation
  3. Productivity as ‘getting on & doing’

#uppingyourgame is the first book to be published using the OpenBeta publishing model and will be completed over the course of 2010. The chapters yet to be written are provisionally titled Productivity 2.0 and Making others more productive.

Version 0.2 is available as a preview here

Buying into the ideas that this book contains (and will contain) NOW costs £5. You will receive free updates and notifications as each version is published. Buying into the contents means you have access to each subsequent version up to 1.0. If you decide not to purchase now the price will increase as I complete each chapter (and release each version) – up to a maximum of £10.

Once you’ve completed the payment process clicking on the orange button to ‘Return to DAJ Belshaw’ will take you to the download page. 🙂

Permanent link to the book’s page at http://bit.ly/uppingyourgame

#uppingyourgame v0.3 now available!

I’m delighted to announce that v0.3 of #uppingyourgame: an educator’s guide to productivity is now ready! Two chapters are now complete – The Philosophy of Productivity as well as Productivity & Motivation#uppingyourgame is the first book to be published using the OpenBeta publishing model and will be completed over the course of 2010.

Buying into the ideas that this book contains (and will contain) NOW costs £4. You will receive free updates and notifications as each version is published. Buying into the contents means you have access to each subsequent version up to 1.0. If you decide not to purchase now the price will increase as I complete each chapter (and release each version) – up to a maximum of £10.

Once you’ve completed the payment process clicking on the orange button to ‘Return to DAJ Belshaw’ will take you to the download page. 🙂Permanent link to the book’s page at http://bit.ly/uppingyourgame

#uppingyourgame (v0.2) now ready!

Due to having a bit more time on my hands than I anticipated recently, I’ve pressed on with #uppingyourgame: an educator’s guide to productivity. I’m delighted to announce that v0.2 is now ready! This is the first version to contain a chapter, in this case The Philosophy of Productivity. #uppingyourgame is the first book to be published using the OpenBeta publishing model and will be completed over the course of 2010.

If you want to buy into the ideas that this book contains (and will contain) NOW costs £3. You will receive free updates and notifications as each version is published. Buying into the contents means you have access to each subsequent version up to 1.0. If you decide not to purchase now the price will increase as I complete each chapter (and release each version) – up to a maximum of £10.

This version has now been superseded. Permanent link to the book’s page at http://bit.ly/uppingyourgame

Once you’ve completed the payment process clicking on the orange button to ‘Return to DAJ Belshaw’ will take you to the download page. 🙂

#uppingyourgame: an educator’s guide to productivity (v0.1)

I’m delighted to announce version 0.1 of #uppingyourgame: an educator’s guide to productivity is ready! This means it currently comprises of the cover, preface, introduction and contents page. #uppingyourgame is the first book to be published using the OpenBeta publishing model and will be completed over the course of 2010.

If you want to buy into the ideas that this book contains (and will contain) NOW costs £2. You will receive free updates and notifications as each version is published. Buying into the contents means you have access to each subsequent version up to 1.0. If you decide not to purchase now the price will increase as I complete each chapter (and release each version) – up to a maximum of £10.

Please note that this version has been superseded. Permanent link to the book’s page at http://bit.ly/uppingyourgame

Once you complete the payment process, clicking on the orange button to ‘Return to DAJ Belshaw’ will take you to the download page. 🙂

OpenBeta: a publishing model.

Update: I’ve attempted to elaborate on the OpenBeta model here.

Image based on original CC BY-NC-SA imaginaryGirl

I want to write a book, but none of the traditional models really appeal to me. Seth Godin puts neatly the opportunities available in The magic of dynamic pricing:

When you produce a physical good like a book, it’s really hard to change the price over time, especially if there are retail stores involved. But changing the price on an electronic good is trivially easy.

So, for example, you could charge $24 for the Kindle edition for the first two weeks, then $15 for the next two weeks and then $9 for the year after that. Once it’s a backlist classic, it could cost $2…

Technology puts a lot more pressure on your imagination and creativity, even in pricing.

I think Godin has missed a trick here as there’s no reason why dynamic pricing can’t be used for physical media as well. Taking the Software release cycle as inspiration and Lulu.com as a method I’d like to expand on the idea of creating an Unbook as understood by Dave Gray. Dave’s creating a book called Marks and Meaning and releasing it as one would with software. As I write this post it’s up to version 0.5.

Whilst I admire the Unbook model, it’s not what I want to use in 2010. Why?

  • An unbook is never finished (but I want mine to reach version 1.0 and then be ‘complete’)
  • An unbook is a community product (whilst I respect the views of my readers, I want to be the author)

So I’m going to call the model OpenBeta. Here’s how it works:

OpenBeta publishing model

I’ll be releasing v0.1 of my upcoming OpenBeta book early in 2010. Want to give it a go yourself? Feel free to use the logo:

OpenBeta logo

(click through to larger sizes on Flickr)

Design the (e-)book cover for #movemeon!

I’m very pleased to see that other educators have run with the #movemeon idea I floated. There are now literally hundreds of tweets that have been tagged – you can view them in real-time here, or an archive here.

My favourite way of viewing them, is via visibletweets.com using the ‘rotation’ animation:

#movemeon viewed with visibletweets.com

Once we reach a significant number of tweets – I suggested 1,000 – then I’m going to collate them. Using the self-publishing service Lulu.com there will be a freely-downloadable e-book along with a book purchasable at cost price. 😀

I’ve put together a wiki at http://movemeon.wikispaces.com to depersonalise things – it’s about the ideas and the collaboration, not me, after all! You’ll find the same links as I’ve given above over there.

We do, of course, need a cover for the book and so it’s time to crowdsource that. On the wiki is a page with a template to provide your contribution. You know you can do better than my feeble effort, provided to get things started:

#movemeon cover idea

Please do share this with as many people as possible. Not only would I like the book to look as good as it can, but I’d like to make sure that as many educators as possible can tap into the wealth of tips and ideas that have been shared. I’ve certainly learned a lot! 😀

I’m a published author!

It’s a red-letter day in the history of the Belshaw clan. Although our publishers didn’t tell us it was imminent, Nick Dennis* and I have finally had the first of a series published:

Oh, wait, you didn’t think it was a book, did you? Come on… this is 2008 – it’s digital, baby! :-p

*Nick’s finally started his blogging journey. Spur him on by commenting on his first post, please!

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