the smajda solution to print journals

No more journals? Academic writing out in the public? With comments and discussions in real time?
Who is this Smajda guy, and where does he come up with these radical ideas?

11 thoughts on “the smajda solution to print journals”

  1. About once every other year at some academic meeting, i get to hear my adviser and another of our collaborators debate some variant of smadja’s proposal. i see the merits, but given inertia and some other detractions, don’t see it happening any time soon. But that’s not what motivated me to comment. Over break i made a small dentin the lingering reading pile. And it so happened that one of the books i read in that time made basically the same suggestion (let’s do away with journals). In 1972. i knew it wasn’t a new idea, but had no idea how not new.


  2. Radical? Smajda’s solution is already here!

    In the world of mathematics, print journals are already irrelvant. New results are reported in arXiv, a openly accesible archive of math papers.

    The last field medalist (considered more elite than a nobel prize) complete circumvented regular journals and just announced his papers. They were discussed by experts and recognized to be a correct solution to a major problem.

    It’s only a matter of “when” this model will hit other fields. For example, for quantitative research, you could have open source publishing – people just announce what you can prove with various data sets.


    1. Cool. I was not aware of arXiv. My only comment from a quick glance is that it’s basically a website for just uploading a PDF file others can download. What I think would be better is something that behaves more like the modern web: authors publish papers to HTML web pages, and they do so to a special purpose CMS that allows journals (or something similar) to certify the quality of the paper, authors to share drafts with other collaborators, to track revisions, and so on. Ideally this would be run by some free open source software on both the server and client side, so any institution could run an instance of the software, academics could publish directly from their text editor, and the whole system would integrate nicely with how academics write and collaborate.


  3. I think ASA is keenly aware that the writing is on the virtual wall about the limited future of print journals. What is next and how it will be paid for is the key thing; the actual physical printing of a journal is not nearly as large a fraction of its total operating cost as many think.


    1. How will it be paid for? Why on-line ad content. How else? Instead of being required to purchase a subscription to a journal we will all be required to “click through” at least 10 ads a month.


    2. It’s true that regular journals that just go online still have lots of expenses beyond just the printing: editing, typesetting & layout, coordinating each issue, etc. But what if we moved away entirely from journals and had a model where individual scholars just self-published on the web, the journals, or whatever replaced them, would just be responsible for verifying and certifying the work, not publishing or editing in any way?


  4. Fabio, yes, but quite a bit of what i read from arXiv still is subsequently published in journals (whether print or online only). Am i reading abnormal papers there, or is it pretty common?


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