[INDOLOGY] Starting a new academic journal

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Tue Aug 22 20:23:09 UTC 2017

Dear colleagues,

New academic journals spring up with surprising frequency.  Indeed, I
launched one <http://hssa-journal.org> myself.  I am surprised, however, to
see how many of the journals relevant to Indology still function on what I
think of as the "old model," and are run as for-profit enterprises by
commercial companies like Springer, Elsevier, Brill and others, whose first
duty is not to the growth of knowledge, but to their shareholders.

This problem of forked loyalty was starkly demonstrated this last week,
when Cambridge University Press bowed to pressure from the Chinese
Government, and voluntarily censored the content of its journal *China
Quarterly,* withdrawing 300 articles that touched on topics sensitive to
the PRC's communist government including the Tienanmen Square massacre and
Tibet.  The reason given by the press was (in my words) that it was willing
to sacrifice intellectual integrity for the purpose of continuing to sell
the broad range of its products in the Chinese market.  The press has
since changed
its mind
as a result of widespread incredulity and outrage from the academic
establishment.  It might be uncharitable to view it this way, but one can't
help thinking that CUP continues make decisions based on the bottom line,
and has simply decided that it stands to lose more by alienating its
domestic academic market than the Chinese one.

There are now robust alternatives to the old model.  For many years, the Public
Knowledge Project <https://pkp.sfu.ca/> at Canada's Simon Fraser University
has been distributing excellent free software for running academic
journals.  From the technical point of view, it is really quite easy to set
up and run an online, Open Access journal.  If one needs technical help,
the PKP can provide advice.

There are also important initiatives such as the Open Library of the
Humanities <https://www.openlibhums.org/> that provide support
for new or existing Open Access journals.  The OLH is important for two
reasons.  First, it has a robust business model.  Second, it is alive to
new and emerging forms of academic publishing, including the very
interesting systems like archivX, PLOS, PeerJ, and JSTOR that have
developed in scientific publishing. OLH is particularly inspired by PLOS
<https://www.plos.org/>, and can partly be seen as a project to give
humanistic scholars the kinds of benefit already enjoyed by scientists.

If you are thinking of  launching a new journal, please look at projects
like OLH.  They might provide everything you need, including adherence to
the OA principles and the business models of the future.

If you want to publish an article, think first of the Open Access journals
might give you the peer-review, impact and quality that you are looking
for.  The DOAJ <http://doaj.org> is an index of OA journals, and offers a
lot of discussion and documentation about all the issues I raise here.

Best wishes,

Professor Dominik Wujastyk <http://ualberta.academia.edu/DominikWujastyk>

Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity

Department of History and Classics <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>
University of Alberta, Canada

South Asia at the U of A:


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