Open Access Coming Into Focus

Everyone from an anonymous emailer to Margaret to most of the people in my Twitter stream has pointed out to me that Seth Godin is through with publishers. This should come as no huge surprise to people who’ve been keeping an eye on Seth, but it’s significant that Seth has come to the point of actually renouncing conventional publishing for his own work.
That significance isn’t lost on many observers, but I don’t expect Seth will trigger a deluge of prominent authors who self-publish (or who organise an authors’ collective that handles the administrative functions of publishing for them). I do expect that Seth has seen and acted on the big wave coming to wash away the familiar structures of publishing, and that once bestselling authors (the ones who actually write work that’ll sell well, not the manufactured nonsense-bestsellers) and authors temporarily constrained by such infrastructural impediments as peer review begin to realise the full benefits of new-media publishing, Seth may be seen as the turning point.

3 thoughts on “Open Access Coming Into Focus

  1. Thanks for this! At least for now, younger scholars like myself are constrained to the peer-review process because we need (or at least feel the need) to have our work recognized as legitimate. I wonder at what point one can “drop” conventional publishing in favor of open source content altogether? After one book, two, or more?

  2. This is relevant, too (Hat tip to Tom).
    First, I have to plead guilty to having been one of the slowpokes. I started out as a very prompt and expansive ms reviewer, but over the years of my term I lost momentum. I could give a self-serving account of factors that deflect responsibility from me, but the fact remains that by the time I rotated off the editorial board in question, I was a major laggard. Mea maxima culpa!
    That being said, in response to your question, I would say that once scholars with established reputations begin self-publishing (or publishing through a cooperative such as I describe above), it will become more viable for younger, less prominent scholars so to do. But for the time being, US scholars will have very, very strong reasons to publish only with university presses and conventionally peer-reviewed journals. Alas.
    Some of us are working on this, and I’m very sure it’ll happen one day or another, but I’m not so great a fool as to make specific predictions about when.

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