Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
Arizona State University
University of South Florida
Place of Publication:
Tempe, Ariz
Tampa, Fla
Arizona State University
University of South Florida.
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Education -- Research -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
E11-00206 ( USFLDC DOI )
e11.206 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Academic journal : has it a future? / Gaby Weiner.
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1 of 19 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 9 Number 9March 21, 2001ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Gene V Glass, College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2001, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES. Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education .The Academic Journal: Has it a Future? Gaby Weiner Ume University, SwedenAbstractThis article examines the current state of the acad emic journal. It does so for a number of reasons: the increasing expense of paper journals; the advent of electronic publishing; the use of publica tion in journals as an indicator of research quality (in addition to disse minating knowledge within a discipline) and consequent criticisms of s ystems of peer review and evaluation of scholarship; emergent issues of e quity and access; and evidence of malpractice. These issues taken togethe r constitute a critique of, and challenge to, the process whereby research papers become journal articles, which has in the past been viewed as unpr oblematic and straightforward. This paper brings together a wide range of literature in order to inform discussion about the future of the academic journal. It briefly examines the origins of the academic journa l and then provides a comprehensive overview of current debates concernin g how academic journals work today. In so doing, it raises questio ns about decisions that will need to be taken regarding the continuity or o therwise of the conventional academic journal, and how publishing p ractices may


2 of 19change in the future. This journal, Education Policy Archives Analysis available online, free of charge, and produced with minimal maintenance costs, is ind icative of why scholarly publishing is in crisis. The future of paper journals has been put in doubt by the emergence of the electronic journal, of which there were 1,465 in 19 97 (Association of Research Libraries, 1998). The "Communication of Research" S pecial Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association maintains a directory of freely accessible, peer-reviewed scholarly journals in education, of w hich there were 93 available as of February, 2001: Paper j ournals are also threatened by other forces, for example, the proliferation of paper and electronic journals as a result of the "publish or perish" academic cultures of many weste rn countries, and the increased use of the academic journal as a means of evaluating th e quality of one's scholarship. The widespread introduction of research reviews and ass essment exercises based largely on publication in learned journals has led to percepti ons that the practices of academic journals are more important to individual academics and their institutions than ever before. Thus, criticisms have been raised regarding the use of published work as an academic "performance indicator" and about the need for standard, equitable and open journal procedures and practices. Assurance has bee n asked, for example, that papers are dealt with fairly and that different journals use s imilar procedures and criteria for submitted manuscripts. Eisenstein (1979) tells us that two potenti ally incompatible processes of change ushered in the first print revolution in the 1450s: one "gradual and evolutionary" and the other, "abrupt and revolutionary": Thus the invention and utilization of movable type may be viewed as one by-product of previous developments, such as the sp read of lay literacy, and as a factor, which, in turn, helped to pave the way for later developments, such as modern mass literacy. (p. 33) A similarly significant challenge to movabl e print is now with us, this time from electronics and telecommunications. This brings wit h it clear signals that the dominance of the paper journal, the main form of academic kno wledge communication for the five centuries since Gutenberg, may be coming to an end. Whether the conventional form of paper academic journal is viable, necessary, effect ive or affordable in the present economic context is in some doubt. Yet, even though some academics (and librar ians) have become critical of today's system of academic publishing, others show few sign s of dissatisfaction, and, indeed, seem ever more interested in strengthening their ti es with publishers, both as producers and consumers. As a recent review of the state of a cademic publishing notes: What gives this enterprise its peculiar cast is the fact that the producers of knowledge are also its primary consumers. In most f ields the market for scholarly publications is driven largely by the int ernal mechanics of a culture, in which further specialisation increases greatly the volume of published work at the same time as individuals come to read more narrowly within their field. (PHER, 1998:3). Here I seek to clarify some of these issues by providing an overview of debates and


3 of 19studies concerning the role and impact of the acade mic journal. First, I explore the origins of the academic journal and how early tradi tions continue to influence academic journals today. Then I will attempt to map the rang e of debates in recent years among researchers and writers interested in academic publ ishing and its changing role. This article ends with a discussion on the future of the academic journal, and what changes are needed if it is to continue to be the main vehi cle for academic communication. The impact of Gutenberg was not immediately evident and in fact printers and scribes continued to copy texts manually for more t han fifty years after the first moveable-type printing press was established: "one must wait until a full century after Gutenberg," Eisenstein notes,"before the outlines o f the new world pictures began to emerge into view." (Eisenstein, 1979, p. 33) Writin g in the middle, as it were, of another kind of revolution, this paper explores the various pulls for and against change in the context of academic publishing, but of course, can only but speculate about the eventual and extent of the outcomes.The Origins of the Academic Journal: two traditions There is some disagreement about the origin s of the academic article depending on discipline. Reports. The first two scientific journ als appeared in 1655: Journal des savans in France, and The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in England (Swales, 1990; Vrasides, 2000). The genre of the sc ientific article followed on from letters that scientists wrote to each other and thu s many of the earliest contributions used the first person, as in the case of letter-writing. The aim of Transactions and other similar publications was to provide a general forum for discussion which eventually became transformed into a new genre of scholarly wr iting. An additional, and powerful influence came from the convention of publishing scientific treatises in order to establish a sound foundation for scientific knowledge. To establish the factual nature of experimentation, mi d-seventeenth century scientists such as Robert Boyle, developed "a largely self-consciou s and highly complex set of strategies" (Swales, 1990, p. 111). This involved m aking public the form of the apparatus used (actual or by detailed drawings) and if possible carrying out the experiment in front of an audience—so that agreemen t of the relevant community could be gained. Replication of experiments was also beli eved to strengthen any scientific claims, though clearly experiments had to be succes sful to do so. Written accounts of experiments were lengthy and detailed so that reade rs could feel they were gaining a true account, whether or not the experiment succeeded. C laims were deliberately cautious and philosophical speculation was avoided. Bazerman 's (1983) study of the development of the Transactions during the period 1665-1800, however, shows that t he articles were neither uniform nor were they mainly experimental. In the early days of the journal, the majority of reports were of "natural" phenomena suc h as earthquakes, or anatomical observations and dissections. Later, understanding of the complex nature of phenomena led to a more uniform approach. In this process of evolution, the scientist's relat ionship with nature gradually changed from a view that the nature of things would be easily revealed by direct or manipulated observation to a view that na ture was complex, obscure and difficult to get at. Inevitably enough, this changing view also meant that more care began to be taken in describin g how experiments were done, in explaining why particular methods were cho sen, and in detailing precisely what results were found (Swales, 1990, p. 113).


4 of 19 The humanities took a different later pathw ay to the scholarly article. Today's scholarly journals are modelled on those developed for the new "professional history" of nineteenthcentury Germany (McDermott, 1994). One of the first historical periodicals, still in existence, is the Historische Zeitschrift which appeared in 1859, some two centuries after the first scientific journals (Stei g, 1986). Based in universities which were regarded as central and unifying institutions of ac ademic professionalism, scholarly journals in the humanities were used in Germany to bring coherence to a discipline, and as a means of communicating knowledge among like-mi nded scholars. Ideological commitment was considered congruent with scholarshi p; and political discussions were included alongside more recognisable academic contr ibutions. The conviction that politics is incompatible with scholarship became wi despread only after the Nazis took control of German universities in the 1930s: hence the post-war emphasis in Historische Zeitschrift on "the maintenance of rigorous scholarly striving towards true unbiased knowledge" (Steig, 1986, pp. 134-5). The legacy of the two traditions for today' s academic writing remains evident, causing much debate among those who have sought to unify and generalise across disciplines. This has often confused students and b eginning researchers who have questioned whether it is "more scholarly" to use th e first or third person in academic writing or whether all research articles need to fo llow a standard "scientific" form. Or indeed whether it is so necessary to take up a stan ce of neutrality and objectivity. And, of course, there are as many responses as questions all highly dependent on specific disciplinary and research cultures.Today's Academic Journals Despite academic publishing's distant and r elatively modest origins as described above, it has enlarged and diversified, conventiona lly embracing a wide number of forms: for example, books of varying lengths writte n by one or more authors; collections of articles edited by one or more academics; resear ch monographs or reports; undergraduate and postgraduate texts; vanity (i.e., self-financed) monographs or books; articles in regular or special issues of journals, and so on. The academic journal however, is distinctive from other forms of publish ing in certain key ways. It is likely to be university-based; it involves academics editors and consultants; it uses standard forms and styles of binding, type-setting and publi shing; and it is published at regular intervals (McDermott, 1994). Furthermore, academic journals usually employ referees, that is, experts in specific fields, who are asked to comment and make recommendations as to whether submitted manuscripts merit publicati on. Academic journals are used in three main wa ys: first and still most importantly, to produce, disseminate and exchange academic knowledg e; second to rank research and scholarly work in order to aid the distribution of research funds; and third, to inform decisions concerning appointment and promotion. The second and third factors, in particular, have meant that journals and the proced ures they use have become more important to individual writers and academics, and their institutions. This is most acute where research activity is highly prioritised and w here it constitutes a significant source of institutional income. However, to understand how academic journal s work, it is also important to understand that they have at their core a set of so cial, economic and academic relationships which involve a complex variety of ro les and people. At different times, individuals may hold positions and responsibilities for different journals at the same time. They may, for example, be editor, editorial b oard member or referee for one or


5 of 19more journals at the same time as trying to get a p aper published in these or other journals. A useful way of looking at academic writing is as a social game, the rules of which need to be understood before individuals are able t o successfully engage with it. For example, Clark and Ivanic use the term "literacy pr actices" to include both the social conventions and "the physical, mental and interpers onal practices that constitute and surround the act of writing" (Clark and Ivanic, 199 7, p. 12). Hence we may refer to the "literacy practices" of academic journals (meaning both the practices employed in researching and writing papers, and the social rule s and regulatory frameworks surrounding them) when we explore similarities or d ifferences between academic journals within the same discipline or between disc iplines. "Practices" are largely determined by dominant individuals or groups at any historical moment, although writers have the option, in principle, not to confo rm to given practices if they so wish. Thus power is important in writing since the need f or acceptance shapes practices of both form and content. But power can also be used i n another way —as in "the power of writing." The writing act itself is associated with great power —it can provide access to influence over others through the communication of ideas and the use of rhetoric, which, in the case of the great philosophers, playwrights and novelists, can endure for hundreds of years. Another useful concept is "discourse commun ity" which if applied to academic disciplines and sub-disciplines helps explain why, until now, there has been relatively little disagreement about how academic journals wor k. In order to enter and be part of a particular discourse community, individuals need to share certain characteristics. These include: a broadly conceived set of public goals; m echanisms for communication between members and circulation of information and feedback; utilisation of specific language practices; and membership requiring a leve l of specific expertise and knowledge-base. Such a concept of "discourse commun ity" shows what binds specific groups of academics together, how others come to be excluded, the relative conservatism of such communities, and the potential difficulty of introducing changed practices (Swales, 1990). However such communities are also sites of contestation which may lead to break-away sub-disciplines genera ting new discourse communities (and new journals). The power of' certain groups ("experts") to shape and confirm the production of certain kinds of knowledge determines the ethos and membership of each discourse community. As a consequence, "outsider" or unoffici al knowledge may be disqualified and dismissed as non-rigorous, undisciplined, and u nprofessional. In his conceptualisation of power/knowledge configurations Foucault (1980) focused on the power of research to control as well as to generate knowledge. This does not mean that oppositional viewpoints are eradicated: rather the inclusion of different (but tolerated) viewpoints not only confirms academics' espoused co mmitment to freedom of speech and respect for diversity of opinion, but indicates the boundaries and limitations of what may be said and written. Thus, as Apple states, "re production and contestation go hand in hand." (Apple, 1982, p. 8).Challenges to Academic Journals A number of developments have taken place i n recent years that challenge the foundational paradigm of the conventional academic journal. Considered in this section are the economy of journals, the impact of electron ic journals like Education Policy Archives Analysis ; peer review and the assessment of research produc tivity and quality;


6 of 19and social justice and ethical issues.The Economy of Journals The conventional academic journal has been highly profitable for publishers, because copy is consistently produced (with copyrig ht assigned to the publisher) while academics generally give their labour free—as write rs, reviewers, editors and members of editorial boards. The paradox is that on the one hand, academic institutions make the initial outlay in the form of salaries and infrastr ucture to support the research which provides the raw material for articles and to provi de editorial labour for the journals: on the other, universities, colleges and individual ac ademics are made to pay heavily (through subscriptions) for the publication and dis tribution of that research. The act of publishing has been referred to as "a gift exchange" within a community of like-minded people —where the gift, freely given generates esteem and professional advancement (PHER, 1998:3). However the producers a re not held responsible for market failure, neither are they beneficiaries of m arket success. Rather their role is to keep the system fuelled by submitting papers, by pr oviding academic editorial services, and as purchasers. In their original conception, journals belonged to those who wrote for them and read them, being in the main published by universit y presses. This remained the case until the postwar period when, in the US in parti cular, the university sector expanded with an accompanying rise in level of publications from the increased number of academics in the system. Commercial publishers ente red the scene at this point and were welcomed as one way to diffuse the bottleneck of pa pers waiting to be published. However publishers were quick to exploit the opport unities presented to them. Recognising the bottleneck, commercial pub lishers came to absorb an increasing share of the market, with broad support of higher e ducation institutions, scholarly societies, and faculty who served as editors, revie wers, and members of editorial boards. Consigning the production and distribution function s to the commercial sector purchased an immediate increase in capacity: existing journal s expanded, and new journals were formed to accommodate a growing quantity of researc h in increasingly specialised domains (PHER, 1998:3). Initially these arrangements seemed to work well, providing benefits for all concerned. Academics were able to get their work pu blished, publishers took responsibility for the organisation and distributio n of the journals, and profit margins seemed acceptably balanced against the cost of the journals. However problems began to emerge as the requirements of the market clashed wi th the academic milieu. For example, publishers required authors to turn over t heir copyrights and were thus free to buy and sell academic knowledge as a commodity. The burgeoning costs of print and distribution were passed directly over to the purch asers of the journals, enabling publishing houses to accumulate substantial profits Thus, the British entrepreneur Robert Maxwell made his fortune in the 1970s and 19 80s through the journals associated with his publishing house Pergamon. Acad emics, conventionally unworldly about financial matters, were slow to realise what was happening and the pressure to publish meant that they were willing collaborators in a system which exploited them. Thus it comes as no surprise that the volum e and price of academic information dissemination increased nearly three-fold in a deca de with the "cost of scholarly journals increased [by] a whopping 148% in the US between 19 86 and 1996 (PHER, 1998, p. 1 2). Concerns were raised about whether the creation of more and more knowledge outlets (through the creation of new journals) is i ndeed a solution. Indeed, the


7 of 19proliferation of new journal titles attracted criti cism in the UK, both about the quality of much of the output of academic research and writing and the problems quantity presents to the academic reader (Hillage et al., 1998). The system we have now was designed, and se emed to work best in, the academic world of the 1960s when academic and market interes ts coincided. It produced, for a time, a form of academic scholarly discourse in pri nted form serving higher education institutions and their staff in a fair and cost eff ective manner. However the fit seems less perfect in the much changed academic climate, four or more decades later. Increased necessity to publish in academic journals in an exp anded university sector has generated further pressure, both to increase the number of jo urnals available and on library budgets, in particular. Predictably perhaps, whilst both the numbers and prices of academic journals have increased as have individual subscriptions to journals, the number of articles that an individual academic read s on average each year has remained much the same (about 150 to 190 articles). Again, i t is libraries that have most felt the burden of journal proliferation. Publishers report that as the number of jo urnals have increased, academics have not increased their personal subscriptions, but hav e instead relied upon the library, with most academics continuing to subscribe to between t hree and four journals. Publishers also report that scholars are purchasing fewer pers onal copies of scholarly monographs, which has helped contribute to smaller press runs a nd the current tenuous economic situation of the scholarly monograph (University of Austin, 1998, p. 1) The system we have now is clearly at a cruc ial point—some might say in a state of collapse—with librarians in the forefront of calls for urgent change. Those librarians who help you decode Dewey's decima ls are becoming unlikely warriors at the end of this decade. They h ave to. With large publishing conglomerates driving the prices of scho larly journals higher and higher, librarians find themselves spending more an d more money to purchase fewer and fewer books. Their constituencie s are concerned. Scanning the stacks, professors moan; brooding thei r budgets, the financial officers grumble. It's no wonder that many libraria ns are asking: Is there a better way? If you don't like the way journals are being published, why not do it your self? (Rambler, 1999, p. 1) Librarians have had the fullest picture of a crisis-in-the-making; because of academics' greater reliance on libraries for the jo urnals and books they cannot afford, because of libraries' diminishing resources and red uced budgets, and also because of their need to develop paper and electronic systems simultaneously. Electronic Publishing An important challenge to the conventional paper journal has come from electronic publishing, as has already been noted that is, th e "full-blown usage of networked computers" (Waaijers, 1997, p. 77). The so-called e lectronic revolution emerged because of two main technological changes: First the evolved computer, now cheap, robust and p owerful, and second, our recent ability to store and send huge quantitie s of data from computer to computer hither and thither across the globe by con nections such as the internet. (Young, 1996, p. 290)


8 of 19 As electronic journals pioneered new forms of text production designed to reach a wider and more diverse readership, conventional aca demic journals continued as before. But demands for change came not only from the imper atives of technology. Pressures to incorporate electronic journals in current systems of academic publishing, and even to substitute them for paper journals, arose from a nu mber of sources. For example, certain problems in the production of the paper journal are perceived as resolvable by electronic versions: in particular, the slowness of the proces s, proliferation of journals and high costs to university and college libraries. Electron ic publishing makes possible faster turnarounds of papers from submission to publicatio n and its potential to lower the production and distribution costs —by 30% or more – could lead to cheaper journals for libraries and individuals, although initial capital costs may be higher (Burbules & Bruce, 1995). Electronic publishing, moreover, creates pos sibilities for flexibility in the writer-reader relationship; with enhanced opportuni ties for interactivity, multiple-modes of data presentation, publication in more than one language and fewer restrictions on word-length and format (Vrasidas, 2000). Moreover, Glass (1999) claimed that online education journals also widen readership, to includ e groups such as teachers, administrators, school board members, and those liv ing in countries, all previously unlikely to have access to scholarly literature A less positive projection is that the prom ise of quick turnarounds may encourage hasty and under-developed submissions, and that lac k of access to fast changing technologies of text communication is likely to inc rease exclusivity rather than wider access. Also if, as Glass (1999) suggested, "a read er in the year 2000 browsing a scientific journal from the year 1910 will find the environs thoroughly familiar," arrangements of storage and information retrieval i n the new electronic era cannot promise such familiarity. The term archiving denotes not only the storage of materials but the systematic organisation and exhaustive provision of access to these materials. In the case of electronic publications one of the major problems t o be addressed in access provision has been the wide variety of formats in use. This w as illustrated by the statement "I can read a printed book published 300 years ago but it is impossible for me to read a Microsoft Word II document written in 1988." (ICSU, 1998, p. 2). Vrasidas (2000) neatly summarizes the range of reasons given against the broader acceptance of electronic journals. Among the most prevalent ones are the politics of c ontrolling scholarly communication, the economic benefits of publishers, copyright issues, bandwidth issues, access to the Internet, the lack of skills to write for the web, the technology phobia among scholars, the pres tige for publishing an online article versus an article in paper, and resi stance to changing the old traditions of scholarly publishing that legitimizes the academic disciplines (Vrasidas, 2000, p. 4) Notwithstanding, the advent of electronic publication has stimulated an extensive debate about conventional forms of journal publishi ng and whether the paper journal is now the most effective means of disseminating resea rch and scholarship. It has provided a challenge to how the dissemination of scientific knowledge through journals is structured, and simultaneously, to existing systems of peer review. Peer Review


9 of 19 The employment of peer review lies at the c enter of academic journals' procedures and practices. Each journal relies on the input of a panel of academics, each of whom has made a significant scholarly contribution to a particular field, and who is therefore assumed to be able to pass judgement on the quality of papers of colleagues and scholars working in the same or related fields. Ostensibly f air and non-hierarchical—what could be more non-hierarchical than being judged by one's equals?—nevertheless, the system is fraught with tensions, particularly where challe nges are made to the reviewer's own work or academic stance. Peer review has been chosen as the most jus t and appropriate means of coming to a decision about the quality of research, despite the recognised fallibility of some peer review systems and the consequent need to constantl y review and reconsider their practices (ABRC, 1990). However, it has also drawn criticism for being inherently conservative, and a means by which powerful academi cs in a field (or within a particular discourse community) retain their grip on who contr ibutes and what knowledge is generated. Because peer reviewers (known also as re ferees) are generally recruited through informal professional contacts, the system has also been condemned as an "old boy" network which is unfair to outsiders and newco mers (Furnham, 1990). Another challenge to peer review has come f rom evidence both of substantial disagreement between referees when evaluating manus cripts and of lack of objectivity. This suggests, according to Berardo (1989): a differential application of established criteria and reflecting the biases of individual reviewers. There is little doubt that a reviewer's proclivities toward certain theoretical perspectives, methods of data collection and analysis, or substantive foci play a role in the ev aluation process (Berardo, 1989, p. 133). If evidence is available to support the vie w that the peer review process differs within a field or discipline as above, there is also evid ence that differences can be found between disciplines. Harnad & Hamus (1997) suggest, for exa mple, that variation in rejection rates does not necessarily indicate varia tions in scholarship. In some disciplines, the mark of excellenc e is their rejection rate, which can be as high as 90% (and probably higher in a journal like Science ); in other disciplines, it is the acceptance rate that is 90% or more—and this need n ot mean that the journal is of lower quality. Sometimes it is the very prestige of the j ournal that keeps contributors from submitting anything but their very best work to it for refereeing (Harnad & Hamus, 1997, p. 19). Thus, we can see that while peer review is widely used by journals, it is more problematic than its widespread use suggests. As a system of accepting and rejecting papers within a discipline, peer review seems a rea sonably robust strategy. However when the selection of papers is invested with diffe rent purposes, the discourse changes and becomes more complex as we shall see with reg ard to the use of journals to evaluate research quality and productivity. Productivity and Citation Numerous and diverse methods have been dev eloped to assess the quality of scholarship and rate of productivity of academics. However these are frequently complex and superficial as Hanish et al. suggest be low.


10 of 19Productivity refers to the quantity of publications attributable to a given scholar, expressed in a lifetime total or a yearly rate when divided by the scholar's professional age. Impact generally means how frequently that an individual's work is cited by other authors, which likewise can be expressed as a lifetime total or a yearly rate. Quality is al most never assessed directly; productivity and impact, though, frequently pose in its place (Hanish et al., 1998, p. 1) One of the most direct and straightforward measures of quality of work and research productivity is "the simple publication co unt" that is the number of publications an individual scholar has accumulated over a given period (Colman et al., 1992, p. 98). However, in the competitive climate of academia at the turn of the twenty-first century, merely to succeed in getting into print is not cons idered a sufficient guarantee of scholarship. Sometimes all publications are weighte d equally. But how are co-authors to be accredited? Some assume an equivalent contributi on from each author listed while others employ a weighting system based on authorshi p order (Hanish et al., 1998). There is also the issue of how to compare single-authored and coauthored work. Moreover, some journals "count" for more, for example, those included in citation indexes. This brings us to an alternative method of evaluati ng scholarship—to count not publications but citations. The use of citation is premised on the assumption that the quality of a scholarly article can be gauged by the number of times it is cited in subsequent journal articles, books etc. Thus, a com monly used method of judging whether a particular academic journal or an individ ual scholar has made a significant impact on a field is to see how many times they hav e been cited by other scholars in the field. This has developed into a complex technology of measurement delivering "citation data" as "quantitative indicators" (Garfield, 1990) which can be used to evaluate existing journals and individuals against other journals and individuals, on a yearly or other chronological basis, and according to impact factor i.e., whether citation occurred in a newspaper, article, research review and so on. It is assumed that the higher the number of citations of an academic's work, the greater the peer esteem and therefore the higher th e quality of scholarship (e.g., Field et al., 1991). In practice, the use of citations invol ves counting the number of citations over a specific period in journals covered by one or mor e of the established citation indexes —which raises a number of further problems. First, a large number of journals including the newest and most innovative, are absent from sta ndard citation indexes. As Garfield (1990, p. 6) points out "no matter how many journal s are on the market, only a small proportion account for most of the articles that ar e published and cited in any given year." Second, citation indexes are generally unabl e to distinguish between positive and approving citations, critical and dismissive citati ons, and self-citations. Third, citations too may be seen as merely reflecting the status quo because of the frequency of self-citation and citation of friends (Field et al. 1991). Whatever performance or quality indicator i s used regarding publication, whether publication count or citation, a key factor for eac h institution in the present competitive climate is how the performance of its researchers m easures up to others. Institutions which are able to prioritize investment in the buyi ng in of productive researchers or in creation of a research milieu, are those most likel y to see a positive outcome in terms of commercial or charity grants, or government funding Put another way, there is a strong relationship between investment in research and its "quality" outcomes. The most obvious output measures relevant to departmental research performance


11 of 19are simple publication counts and more elaborate pu blication-based measures designed to take quality into account. The most important in put variables are the number of departmental staff members, the number of research assistants, the size of equipment and recurrent grants, and the amount of research in come (Colman et al., 1992, p. 97). When these performance indicators, however arrived at, are used as surrogates for the distribution of "quality" and "excellence," a c risis emerges not about selection but about social justice.Equity and Access At the annual meeting of the American Educa tional Research Association (AERA) in New York in 1996, the AERA Publications Committe e noted that some inequalities relating to getting published lay outside its contr ol and that perfect representation of authorship and content was impossible to achieve, d espite strategies to increase diversity of authorship. In particular, the "struggle over hi ring" in the US (such that proportionally few female or minority ethnic academic staff are ap pointed) has created preconditions which militate against greater inclusiveness in jou rnals. The response of mainly young, graduate students on this occasion, however, was to be highly critical of existing publishing practices, in particular, what were seen as the lack of openness in the appointment of journal editors, lack of encourageme nt to new authors, and predominance of white/male networks of power. AERA's response to these, and other similar points raised by its membership, was the development of a "list" of minority scholars, p roduced each year "for the purpose of increasing the availability, visibility, and repres entation of minority scholars within AERA's visible structure" to AERA division and comm ittee chairs, journal editors etc. (AERA, undated). This has encouraged those in the m ost senior echelons of the US educational academic community to widen their conve ntional notions of whom to appoint to what —though it is difficult at the pres ent time to estimate, with what success. Thus we can see that the discourses of exce llence, competitiveness and, to some extent, exclusivity which have suffused academic jo urnals since their inception, have not necessarily provided a fruitful ground for discussi on of social justice or equity issues. The exclusive nature of academia, indeed, is seen t o underscore its claim to excellence. However, following developments of equity policies in other areas of academia (Weiner, 1998), who writes in academic journals has become a topic of considerable importance. Questions arise as to whether there is evidence of sexism, racism or other unjust practices in academic publishing and whether new fo rms of publication are likely to promote a change in publishing's ethos of elitism. Does electronic publishing favour the favoured, or does it enhance equality of access and usage? Sociologists of science have suggested that certain characteristics of writers, for example, where they were educated and are presently employed, influence reviewers' recommendations and editors' decisions about whethe r or not to publish (Bakanic et al., 1987). Thus a "big" name may well gain the advantag e in the competition for journal space in various ways: Judgement ....may be systematically skewed by defer ence, by less careful appraisals involving exacting criteria, by self-dou bts of one's own sufficient competence to criticise a great [scholar] or by fea r of affronting influential persons in the field (Zuckermann and Merton, 1971, p. 82)


12 of 19 Following feminist activity in other areas of academia, gender has recently received attention as a factor in academic scholarship and w riting. An aim of feminist research into higher education generally has been to "genera te a transformation of the academy" by highlighting discrimination and by developing th eories and frameworks for gender difference (Townsend, 1993, p. 22). Gender studies of academic publishing have reported a number of consistent findings: that wome n or feminist issues rarely form the topic of mainstream journals, though there has been a slight increase in recent years (Townsend, 1993); that male authors have generally higher profiles and higher productivity than women, are cited more and are mor e likely to self-cite (Helmreich et al., 1980); and that male authors are more likely t o be cited by men (Ward et al., 1992). However, Over showed nearly two decades ago that ar ticle-for-article, women are as likely as men to be cited, but their proportion of citations is lower because of their lower overall publication levels (Over, 1982). It should also be noted that there is a small, specialist group of publications focusing primarily on gender or women's issues, which draws a mainly female authorship and readership. Other social patterns of authorship, for ex ample, ethnic origin or colour, have attracted less attention although there is some evi dence that minority and black writers are as underrepresented as authors, as they are a s a focus of study. In the latter instance, a study of the proportion of articles on minorities in psychology and education journals in the US between 1952 and 1973, found less than 2% discussing minority issues (Van Scoy & Oakland, 1991). It is likely to be minority and black researchers and academics who are most interested in exploring "minority" iss ues in research, if trends are similar to those of women researching and writing about gen der issues. This suggests that there are relatively few minority and black academics as researchers and authors, although there may have been a slight improvement in numbers more recently. Countering Malpractice Another less visible issue for academic jo urnals but one that has come to prominence for several different reasons in recent years, is ethical considerations regarding journals and intellectual property rights It has been argued that the intense pressure for academics to get into print, and the l inking of tenure and promotion of academics to publication, has led to a variety of a buses of the system. Singer (1989) cited cases of gross malpractice, for example, wher e researchers fraudulently claim to have made a new discovery or fabricate research fin dings. Most ethical violations, however, are less severe but nevertheless significa nt. As Berardo pointed out: Upward mobility (promotion, tenure, recognition, aw ards, etc.) is facilitated by getting one's name on many publications, and esp ecially if one appears as the single or first name author. Sometimes this lea ds to having one's name on an article even though the person hasn't written any of it or whose contribution to its composition has been minimalÂ….A related but more insidious pattern is for a the major professor to i nsist, sometimes subtly and other times bluntly, that graduate students include their names on any publications derived from theses or dissertations c ompleted under their supervision. Such incidents clearly represent viola tions of the moral and ethical norms which represent the ethos of science. (Berardo, 1989, p. 126) The issue of intellectual property rights, that is, who owns the ideas, concepts, theories, experimental data, fact and opinions in r esearch articles and reports, has been


13 of 19raised in two contexts. First, electronic publicati on has been perceived as providing greater possibilities for plagiarism—technically it is relatively simple to cut and paste someone else's text into one's own. The second cont ext involving intellectual property rights of researchers concerns the relationship bet ween government and/or research sponsors (or purchasers), and researchers. A recent concern in the UK has been how to resist pressure on journal editors from government representatives wanting to "pull" papers which are critical of government policy, des pite the fact that the papers have satisfactorily scaled all peer review and editorial hurdles. At a time when many academics are exhorted to seek research funding fro m a range of sources, the UK researcher Nigel Norris (1995, p. 274) draws attent ion to related problems when government departments sponsor research to support "their strategic objectives and continuing responsibilities." The research communit y is caught between a rock and a hard place. It needs both to remain "true" to profe ssional standards yet at the same time, avoid being seen as overly critical of sponsors, go vernments or policies. One solution to this predicament is not to sign up to such contracts, but there may be good reasons why researchers have little choice; for example, because work will be provided for temporary researchers or the universit y demands that they gain external funding for research. A strategy evolved to deal wi th such situations, therefore, has been to develop a code of ethics to be adopted by all pa rtners in a research enterprise which will allow the negotiation of research practice bou ndaries. Ethical guidelines published by the British Educational Research Association (BE RA) which could form the basis of such a code, include the following stipulations reg arding academic writing and publication: Educational researchers should aim to avoid fabrica tion, falsification, or misrepresentation of evidence, data, findings, conc lusions. Educational researchers should aim to report their findings to all relevant stakeholders and so refrain from keeping secret or selectively communicating their findings. Educational researchers should communicate their fi ndings and the practical significance of their research in clear, straightfo rward, and appropriate language to relevant research populations, institutional repres entatives, and other stakeholders. Educational researchers should remain free to inter pret and publish their findings without censorship or approval from individuals or organisations, including sponsors, funding agencies, participants, colleague s, supervisors or administrators… (BERA, 1992, 1&2). Has the academic journal a future? A key question raised in previous sections of this paper is the extent to which current and future academic cultures and publishing practices might be made more equitable and inclusive. Knowledge of the origins a nd current state of academic publishing, and debates concerning publishing as a performance indicator and as a site of struggle over power and knowledge as discussed i n this paper, suggest that getting a paper published in an academic journal is not nearl y as straightforwardly about "good scholarship" as it might at first seem. The impact of technology, literary practices, discourse communities and the power over academic k nowledge of like-minded "experts," are all important to our understanding o f how academic journals work. The heightened tension in recent years between their ut ilisation as disseminators of scientific knowledge and as accreditors of scholarship is anot her factor for consideration.


14 of 19 How can present day academic journals be un derstood by those aiming to boost their publications count or for beginning researche rs or for the wider society which hopes to benefit from its investment in research? I s this the system that we want or need? Does it have to be so unfair? Does electronic publishing offer greater or fewer possibilities for widening academic access and part icipation to hitherto excluded groups? Some countries, for example Sweden, have no t yet succumbed to the academic "publish or perish" ethic so prominent in the US. H owever, sexism in refereeing practices exposed in a recent study of allocation o f research council funding in Sweden (Wenners & Wold A.,1997) suggests that even in mor e equity conscious environments, academics, consciously or unconsciously, discrimina te in what counts as "excellence" and "scholarship." What are the alternatives to cur rent systems of research evaluation and review? Briefly there seem to be three main future scenarios: Stasis —keeping the system as it is, defending existing cu ltures of excellence, seeking to impose conventional publishing practices on web-based journals, resisting change; 1. Deregulation —reduction of publishing controls, access to techno logy paramount, a web publishing free-forall, decline and eventua l elimination of the paper journal (while other means are found for evaluating research); 2. Reform —comprehensive review of the system, fusing of dual systems of paper and electronic journals, preservation of some form of peer review and quality assurance but re-designed to enhance openness and e quity, thinking creatively about how to encourage production, dissemination an d exchange of academic knowledge across a variety of communication media, and so on. The Knowledge Exchange Model (KEM) for scholarly publishing propo sed by Willinsky (2000) is one step in this direction. 3. Most academics (apart from Internet special ists and university librarians) seem stuck in the statis scenario, fearing deregulation but unwilling or unable to attempt reform. Reform, nevertheless seems the most promisi ng option, but will need a certain level of conscious attention and commitment for tho se involved. Editors and referees will need to reflect on the fairness both of their policy regarding acceptance and rejection of papers, and the modes of publication a vailable and appropriate for their present and future readership. University administr ators and appointment panels will need to develop more refined and fairer ways of jud ging research quality, to include, perhaps perusing examples of researchers' work, as in Sweden. Publishers and librarians might work more closely together to see whether a s ystem can be developed which serves both university and market interests. And we b-based journal editors will need to develop practices that encourage genuine access and openness rather than merely favouring the privileged academic "nerd" as in the past.ReferencesAdvisory Board for the Research Councils (ABRC) (19 90), Peer Review: a report to the Advisory Board for the Research Councils from the W orking Group on peer review ABRCAmerican Educational Research Association (AERA), ( undated), List of Minority


15 of 19Scholars to serve as Reviewers, Chairs, Discussants and on Editorial Boards, unpublished paperApple M., (ed.) (1982) Cultural and Economic Reproduction in Education London: RoutledgeAssociation of Research Libraries (1998), Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters and Academic Discussion Lists (7th Edition) [on-line] Available: Bakanic V., Simon R. J., and McPhail C., (1987) 'Th e Manuscript Review and Decision-Making Process,' American Sociological Review 52, 631-642 Bazerman C., (1983), Reporting the Experiment: changing accounts of scie ntific doings in the "Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Soc iety 16651800" mimeo Berardo F. M., (1989), Scientific Norms and Researc h Publication: Issues and Professional Ethics, Sociological Inquiry 59, 3, 119-140 British Educational Research Association (BERA) (19 92), Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research Edinburgh, BERA/SCRE Burbules N. C. & C. Bruce B. C., (1995) "This is no t a paper." Educational Researcher, 24, 8 12-18 Clark R. & Ivanic R. (1997) The Politics of Writing London, Routledge Colman A. M., Garner A. B., and Jolly S., (1992), R esearch Performance of United Kingdom University Psychology Departments, Studies in Higher Education 17, 1, 97103Eisenstein E. L., (1979), The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: volumes 1 & 2 Cambridge, Cambridge University PressField J., Lovell T. and Weller P., (1991), Citation Counts and Research Quality in Continuing Education: a cautionary note, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 15 2, 47-53Foucault, M., (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and other Writ ings 1972-1977 London, Harvester Wheatsheaf. Furnham A. F., (1990), Quantifying Quality: an argu ments in favour of citation counts, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 14 2, 105-110 Garfield E. (1990). How ISI Selects Journals for Co verage: Quantitative and Qualitative Considerations, Current Comments 22, May 28, 5-13 Glass G.V (1999). A new day in how scholars communi cate. Current Issues in Education [on-line] 2, 1. Available: http://cie.ed.asu/volu me2/number2/index.hmtl


16 of 19Harnad S. & Hemus M. (1997). All or None: No stable Hybrid or Half-Way Solutions to Launching the Learned Periodical Literature into th e PostGutenberg Galaxy, in: (ed.) Butterworth I., The Impact of Electronic Publishing on the Academic Community London, Portland Press, 18-27Hanish C., Horan J. J., Keen B., & Clark G., (1998) A note on the empirical futility of labor-intensive scoring permutations for assessing scholarly productivity: implications for research, promotion/tenure, and mentoring, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 6 15Helmreich R. L., Spence J. T., Beane W. E., Lucker G. W. and Matthews K. A. (1980), Making it in academic psychology: demographic and p ersonality correlates of attainment, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39, 5, 896-908 Hillage J., Pearson R., Anderson A. & Tamkin P., (1 998), Excellence in Research on Schools Research Report RR74, Norwich, HMSO International Council for Science (ICSU), (1998) Economics, real costs and benefits of electronic publishing in science – a technical stud y, proceedings of ICSU press workshop, Keble College, Oxford, 31 March-2 AprilMcDermott P., (1994), Politics and Scholarship: feminist academic journal s and the production of knowledge Urbana & Chicago, University of Illinois Press Norris N., (1995), Contracts, control and evaluatio n, Journal of Education Policy 1, 271-285Over R., (1982), Research productivity and impact o n male and female psychologists, American Psychologist 37, 1, 24-31 Pew Higher Education Roundtable (PHER), (1998), To Publish or Perish, Policy Perspectives 4, 4, 1-12, March Rambler M., (1999), A New Solution to the Journals Crisis, The Journal of Electronic Publishing 4, 3, 1-6 Singer B. D., (1989), The Criterial Crisis of the A cademic World, Sociological Enquiry 39, 2, 127-141Steig M. F., (1986), Origins and Development of Scholarly Historical Per iodicals Alabama, University of Alabama PressSwales J., (1990) Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Se ttings Cambridge, Cambridge University PressTownsend B.K., (1993), Feminist Scholarship in Core Higher Education Journals, The Review of Higher Education 17, 1, 21-41 University of Austin Collection and Information Res ource Division (1998) Scholarly Communications in Libraries, [on-line]. Available:


17 of 19 html Van Scoy H. & Oakland T., (1991), Minority Group Li terature in Psychology and Education Journals 1952-1973), Journal of Black Studies 22, 2, 301-310 Vrasides C., (2000) Promises of Electronic Forms of Data Representation and Scholarly Publication, Teachers College Record, no. 10546 Waaijers L., (1997), Opinion paper: towards a new s ystem of scholarly communication, Interlending & Document Supply 25, 2, 77-8 Ward K. B., Gast J. and Grant L., (1992) Visibility and dissemination of women's and men's sociological scholarship, Social Problems 39, 3, 291-298 Weiner G., (1998), Here a Little, There a Little: e qual opportunities policies in higher education in the UK, Studies in Higher Education 23, 3, 321-333 Wenners C. and Wold A. (1997), Nepotism and sexism in peer review, Nature 387, 341-4Willinsky J, (2000) Proposing a Knowledge Exchange Model for Scholarly Publishing, Current Issues in Education [on-line] 3, 6. Available: A. E., (1996), The future of surgical journal s in the electronic publishing era British Journal of Surgery 83, 289-290 Zuckermann H., and Merton R. K., (1971), Patterns o f Evaluation in Science, Minerva 9, 66-100About the AuthorGaby Weiner Gaby Weiner is professor of teacher education and research at Ume University, Sweden. She moved there from a similar post at South Bank University, London in 1998. She has written and edited a number of books and reports on feminism, equity and social justice in education. She has als o held a number of positions on various academic journals including journal editor, member of editorial board, editor of special issue, reviewer and of course has also contributed as author. Correspondence can be sent to:Gaby WeinerTeacher EducationUme University S 901 87 UmeSwedenTtelephone +46 (0) 90 786 7185 fax: +46 (0) 90 786 6671Email:


18 of 19 2001 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-0211. (602-965-9644). The Commentary Editor is Casey D. C obb: .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Western Interstate Commission for HigherEducation William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers Ann Leavenworth Centerfor Accelerated Learning Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin


19 of 19 Michael Scriven Robert E. Stake University of Illinois—UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education David D. Williams Brigham Young UniversityEPAA Spanish Language Editorial BoardAssociate Editor for Spanish Language Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Adrin Acosta (Mxico) Universidad de J. Flix Angulo Rasco (Spain) Universidad de Teresa Bracho (Mxico) Centro de Investigacin y DocenciaEconmica-CIDEbracho Alejandro Canales (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma Ursula Casanova (U.S.A.) Arizona State Jos Contreras Domingo Universitat de Barcelona Erwin Epstein (U.S.A.) Loyola University of Josu Gonzlez (U.S.A.) Arizona State Rollin Kent (Mxico)Departamento de InvestigacinEducativa-DIE/ Mara Beatriz Luce (Brazil)Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul-UFRGSlucemb@orion.ufrgs.brJavier Mendoza Rojas (Mxico)Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicojaviermr@servidor.unam.mxMarcela Mollis (Argentina)Universidad de Buenos Humberto Muoz Garca (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicohumberto@servidor.unam.mxAngel Ignacio Prez Gmez (Spain)Universidad de Daniel Schugurensky (Argentina-Canad)OISE/UT, Simon Schwartzman (Brazil)Fundao Instituto Brasileiro e Geografiae Estatstica Jurjo Torres Santom (Spain)Universidad de A Carlos Alberto Torres (U.S.A.)University of California, Los


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