En masse resignation of journal editorial board

by Eszter Hargittai on February 10, 2004

Ed Felten reports that the entire editorial board of a journal has quit to protest the high price of the journal. I agree with Ed that it is somewhat surprising this does not happen more often given the increasing price of many academic journals (a topic we’ve discussed here on CT several times). It looks like these computer scientists were able to take this action at least in part because they found a good alternative for publishing a similar journal. Such alternatives may not be quite as obvious in other fields, unfortunately. After all, the ACM is a very established organization with numerous high-quality publications already so it seems like a good candidate for publishing a new journal. The major associations in some other disciplines do not seem to have this kind of infrastructure in place to support such a cause, which may explain why we do not see such en masse editorial-board resignation more often.

A copy of the letter [pdf] that seemed to initiate much of the above is available online. It contains lots of interesting information – including a summary of this informative piece [pdf] – about academic journal publishing especially with respect to cs/math fields.

{ 1 comment }


Timothy Burke 02.10.04 at 6:00 pm

I don’t think this is because ACM already has high-quality journals, though undoubtedly that helps (as does familiarity with the basic possibilities of online media). I actually don’t see any real reason why such an en masse resignation is impossible or unlikely in other contexts. That’s the whole point about the peer review aspect of journals, the thing that makes them prestigious: it’s almost entirely done on a volunteer basis, and so is (in theory) completely mobile to open-access models of publication. There really is nothing that keeps other fields from making the leap except inertia.

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