Signs of epistemic disruption: Transformations in the knowledge system of the academic journal

William W. Cope, Mary Kalantzis: Signs of epistemic disruption: Transformations in the knowledge system of the academic journal (First Monday, Volume 14, Number 4 – 6 April 2009) starten mit einer beeindrucken Aufzählung des Status Quo:

‘In 2004 … academic publishing in the Western world was dominated by twelve publishing corporations with combined annual sales of approximately $65 billion and employing in the order of 250,000 employees’ (Peters, 2009). ‘In 2006 the top ten STM [Scientific, Technical and Medical] publishers took in 53% of the revenue in the $16.1 billion [U.S.] periodicals market’ (Shreeves, 2009). Universities spend between 05. percent and 1.00 percent of their budgets on journals subscriptions (Phillips, 2009). Morgan Stanley reports that academic journals have been the fastest growing media sub–sector of the past 15 years (Morgan Stanley, 2002). An analysis of Ulrich’s periodicals list shows that the number of scholarly journals increased from 39,565 in 2003 to 61,620 in 2008; of these, the number of refereed journals has risen from 17,649 in 2002 to 23,973 in 2008. The number of articles per journal is up from 72 per annum in 1972 to 123 in 1995 and average length of an article increased by 80 percent between 1975 and 2007 (Tenopir and King, 2009). Approximately 5.7 million people work in research and development worldwide, publishing on average one article per year, and reading 97 articles per year. This average publication rate per R&D worker per annum has stayed steady, and the dramatic increase in articles published in recent decades is attributable to increases in the number of R&D workers (Mabe and Amin, 2002).

Aber dann wird es erst richtig spannend: (aus einer Besprechung von Mary Joan Crowley im Nature network):

The article goes on to examine three specific breaking points: business models—the unsustainable costs and inefficiencies of traditional commercial publishing, the rise of open access and the challenge of developing sustainable publishing models; the credibility of the peer review system; and post-publication evaluation.

The article ends with suggestions towards the transformation of the academic journal and the creation of new knowledge systems: sustainable publishing models, frameworks for guardianship of intellectual property, criterion-referenced peer review, greater reflexivity in the review process, incremental knowledge refinement, more widely distributed sites of knowledge production and inclusive knowledge cultures, new types of scholarly text and more reliable use metrics.