Hey! Scholarly Publishing is a Business #NACBS17

I’ve been asked to contribute to a panel on scholarly publishing for an audience of graduate students at the 2017 North American Conference of British Studies in Denver.

I can’t show slides (my fault, I asked about the AV too late), but I think this may be a much better idea.  Instead of talking through the slides at the session, I’m going to post them here, and tweet a digest version.  Probably the key is the links!   Many of these links are to posts by my colleagues/ fellow chefs in the Scholarly Kitchen, though a bunch are links to pieces they have written elsewhere.

Sara Damiano’s piece from the October 2017 WMQ. On my iPad.  Multi-platform publishing!

The basic premise of my contribution to the panel is this:  scholarly publishing is business.  That’s not exactly news, but is important to understand.  I don’t mean here to invoke the bogeyman of rapacious capitalism feasting on humanities scholarship.  Publishing, even the non-profit publishing that dominates the humanities, needs to be sustainable.  That has to be achieved one way or another, through revenues that are subscriptions (which for humanities journals are extraordinarily modest), book sales, or–and this is a big factor–subventions from endowments or other benefactor support.  Often it’s a small but vital helping of the former and a big portion of the latter.

For individual authors, especially those just beginning a career, some essential aspects of scholarly publishing–the ones I’ll address are Open Access, metrics, and social media and online publication–are importantly connected to that basic fact.  You can’t understand how OA is functioning, for example, without understanding that it, too, is tied to the business of publishing.  You can’t understand how metrics work, for another, without understanding the economy of attention.

Yes, I’m well aware that what graduate students might most want to hear at a session like this is “how do I get published?!”  And that’s an important part of this panel, too.  Developing your best work, engaging with as many colleagues as possible as you frame and refine your analysis, managing peer review, and collaborating with an experienced editor are all significant aspects of the publication process.  But you’ll be publishing within a broader context, and understanding just a bit about it will make you a more informed author, better able to manage your career and the lifecycle of your scholarship.

Looking forward to the Q&A at the session, and to my remarks from my fellow panelists!

KW for NACBS on publishing

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