Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The evil empire of scientific publishing

The RePEc blog recently had a post describing some of the roadblocks it faces in exctracting references for its citations analysis. I found the following quote intriguing:

We are working with some publishers that kindly provide us with metadata about references. We try to get on board as many publishers as possible but unfortunately not all of them are willing to collaborate with us at this time.

Publishers typically references in articles on their website, so I found it somewhat puzzling that they would not provide those references to RePEc, especially as their articles would then be listed on the pages of those they cite. Do not publishers want links to their material? So I investigated to determine which publishers are those that do not want to collaborate with RePEc. While coverage seems to be slim, but existent with some publishers, one that seems to provide nothing is the major one that shares an initial with Evil and Empire.

Already revilled for its pricing practices with libraries, for its aggressive buying of rival presses and for its dangerous market power, the Evil Empire now wants also to corner the commercial citation business, having launched its own product. And of course, boycotting RePEc is part of the strategy. It still participates in the other activities of RePEc, because it is unavoidable, but helping this worthy cause and the exposure of its journals, no.

I wonder why people still submit to its journals.


Caring Democrat said...

Doesn't this attitude hurt the impact factors of the other publishers' journals? The Evil Empire is fine with getting cited, but does not cite others. This lack of reciprocity is apalling.

Anonymous said...

Edgar Elgar is to be considered an evil empire? While its book prices are truly astronomical, especially as they are geared towards poor libraries in developping or transition economies, and EE thus qualifies for the evil label, I would not qualify it as an empire.

Vilfredo said...

People continue submitting to Evil Empire journals, to continue with this terminology, because many still have high academic regard in the profession. Several have been on the decline in recent years, which may be correlated with boycott appeals. But inertia is tremendous.