Publisher bypass

This piece from the WSJ ("How I Became a Best-Selling Author: Self-publishing is upending the book industry. One woman's unlikely road to a hit novel.") points to a model that academia (except the physics and a few other quantitative science communities) has been slow to embrace. Who will serve the role of Amazon.com to disrupt the current, expensive model? Will it be the open access journals? The current large science publishers? Or a new platform? Or Amazon.com?

Hat tip: Victor Zak

1 comment:

Tim Schlak said...

What publishers and journal vendors fail to appreciate is that the value of a copy has been falling since the first MP3 and AVI appeared and the Web made perfect digital copies available to all. The value content creators and consumers place on works that can be effortlessly copied is now near zero, the same value publishers saw at first in Darcie Chan's book.

But in practically giving it away, she also had to provide value beyond the eBook itself as an entity. There are now mechanisms to vet and promote works like this, processes that circumvent the publisher. So, to respond to your question, it would seem that what is needed in academia is a way of circumventing peer-review. Not that it's not needed, but peer-review and reputation are tied closely to price point (ACS, for example), just as publisher review and press prestige are/were to price point.

There appears to be real value in open access, which does precisely this, but it has yet to bring about the downfall of expensive journals who sell us our peers' knowledge right back to us with their stamp of approval. Something more disruptive and bold is needed, perhaps something or someone as brave as those who self-publish.

Nice blog by the way. I'll try to follow more often.
Tim Schlak