[INDOLOGY] Researchgate under attack

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Wed Oct 18 16:00:47 UTC 2017

Dear Mr Jain,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter.  As one of the most
important indological publishers, the community of indological scholars
owes it to your company, and others like yours, to work with you to find
new, appropriate models for the distribution of scholarly knowledge.

I believe that the models of publishing and distribution that have been in
place during my career are now dead.  With the Internet, Open Access,
Creative Commons and the wide availability of free journal and monograph
publishing platforms like OJS <https://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs/> and CreateSpace
<https://www.createspace.com/>, everything has changed.  Many people will
not realize this for a while, and there are Luddites who will take the
rearguard.  But the leading edge of academic publishing is now at a
different place.

To put it bluntly, authors do not need traditional publishers any more,
either for text production or for distribution.  I can make a beautiful PDF
on my computer, I can create a physical book easily, and I can distribute
it without lifting a finger (I now buy all my books from Amazon and other
online services).

I agree with you completely that predatory journals (and conferences) are a
serious problem.  But there are also thousands of excellent, high-quality
Open Access journals that are responsibly edited.  The Directory of Open
Access Journals <http://doaj.org> (DOAJ) provides a listing that includes
many good journals.  To be listed in the DOAJ requires meeting some
moderately stringent requirements.  Open Access is not synonymous with
predatory publishing.  And on the other hand, we can all think of books and
articles published in the old traditional manner that do not deserve to be
in print.  Most notoriously, perhaps, last month's scandal
of Gilley's peer-reviewed paper in *Third World Quarterly.*

I think you are absolutely right to draw attention to the prime importance
of peer-review and editorial integrity.  If scholars don't need traditional
publishing services then what can a publisher offer that authors will
value?  My view is that there are two things that, in future, a publisher
will succeed with.  First, true editorial excellence.  That means full
service at the referee, copy-editing and typographical stages.  Second,
true production excellence.  That means outstanding book and journal design
and typography, acid-free paper, etc., and parallel excellence with online
offerings (one example, jTEI <http://jtei.revues.org>).

There is a story that the typesetters at Oxford University Press sometimes
returned pages of the Rig Veda to Max Muller, saying that they had found an
error.  "How?  You don't know Sanskrit"  Muller asked.  "We know that
certain combinations of letters never occur, so that alerts us."
 Tomorrow's publishers will need to take on some of the functions that are
now performed by professors, including especially hight-quality copy
editing.  If a publisher offered that, people would come.

This is a big subject, and we are all involved in inventing a new future.
It will take time and sophistication.  But a cartel of publishers fighting
a war to preserve a dinosaur is not the way to go.  The past is already
dead.  This cartel is trying to revive a corpse, and it will not succeed.

Dominik Wujastyk

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:


On 18 October 2017 at 03:54, R. P. Jain <rpjain1903 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Dr. Dominik
> I really commend Prof. Dominik Wujastyk for his concerns over some
> Publishers against open research platform, the Researchgate. I’d also like
> to share my thoughts in this regard. My main question is that how one can
> ensure the quality of research on such platforms, without being peer
> reviewed? With free contribution how the papers can be refereed? Again,
> will the scholars themselves review such projects free of prejudice as
> there will be no pecuniary benefit involved? You see, the like the
> commercial considerations of any Publisher, the same work for or against
> any emerging or reputed scholars.  Today, already we’ve plethora of
> online International Journals, whose credibility are being questioned
> increasingly day by day. They are more in the nature of predatory Journals,
> rather than giving any assistance to any emerging scholar. If still there
> is still any worthiness left in this sector then that is because of those
> Journals, who already have established their reputation through their hard
> copy publications.
> After facing the onslaught of online publications for a decade, I can
> confidently say that online stream of any kind can only work as assistance,
> but they can never take place of hard copy publications either in ensuring
> creditworthiness or ease in reading. Still, being the Publisher myself, I’m
> in support of fellow Publishers’ cartel of ACS Publications
> Sincerely
> Rajeev Jain
> Motilal Banarsidass
> On Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 9:14 PM, Dominik Wujastyk via INDOLOGY <
> indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
>> A cartel of publishers, amongst whom I am very sorry to see Brill, has
>> come together to shut down Researchgate.  The cartel consists of ACS
>> Publications, Brill, Elsevier, Wiley and Wolters Kluwer.  These are
>> companies that control quite a section of indological publishing.
>> Springer is not part of the cartel, and is holding separate talks with
>> Researchgate.  There is hope that they may come to some agreement.
>> I am not surprised to see the industry moving against open research in
>> this way.  The free circulation of the creative work of academics is
>> obviously a direct threat to their revenues.  They depend entirely upon us
>> to create research output, and then give them all our rights so they can
>> profit from from our work.  I know there are other points of view on this
>> issue, but I have thought about this as much as many people, and I take the
>> position I take.
>> Best,
>> Dominik Wujastyk
>> References:
>>    - the new cartel's website: http://www.responsiblesharing.org/
>>    - Springer Nature: http://group.springernature.com/gp/group/media/
>>    press-releases/researchgate-and-springer-nature-plan-
>>    cooperation-/15118294
>>    <http://group.springernature.com/gp/group/media/press-releases/researchgate-and-springer-nature-plan-cooperation-/15118294>
>>>> --
>> 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:
>> ​sas.ualberta.ca​
>> ​​
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