Catching up with the crowd

Bestof3 was quick to comment on my post last week about crowds and experts, rightly pointing out that experts and academics are more than welcome to join the crowd.

One of the problems there, however, is the mindset that so many academics must – or at least feel they must – adopt to further their careers. For most, publishing has to occur in peer-reviewed journals if it’s to count toward individual, department, and institution performance and output reviews. And for an academic’s standing there’s not much more important than a book published by a reputable publisher. Those journal publishers in turn, and their book counterparts, exercise all manner of control over how academics can use and re-use their own knowledge.

Sadly it seems that many publishers are proving to be among the slowest when it comes to joining the crowd, and in fact for many the crowd is still viewed as their biggest threat. Will be interesting to see if any of this comes up at the long-overdue NZ digital publishing seminars next week. I’m going and hope to hear some discussion around copyright models, the Google Book Settlement, print-on-demand, which business models NZ publishers think are sustainable, and how they might work with and not against the crowd.

  1. There is one science journal – which I can’t think of right now – that asks academics who have articles accepted for publication to add the content of the article to Wikipedia. It’s a model I really admire.

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