ElectraPress 12.12.2005, 2:36 AM
posted by bob stein
Kathleen Fitzpatrick has put forth a very exciting proposal calling for the formation of an electronic academic press. Recognizing the crisis in academic publishing, particularly with the humanities, Fitzpatrick argues that:
The choice that we in the humanities are left with is to remain tethered to a dying system or to move forward into a mode of publishing and distribution that will remain economically and intellectually supportable into the future.
i've got my fingers crossed that Kathleen and her future colleagues have the courage to go way beyond PDF and print-on-demand; the more Electrapress embraces new forms of born-digital documents especially in an open-access pubishing environment, the more interesting the new enterprise will be.
ray cha on December 15, 2005 3:45 PM:
Another point to consider in the advancement of electronic academic publishing is the determination of the length of a text. Other blogs have looked into the discussion of why texts gravitate towards certain lengths. I recently heard about an instance where a PhD candidate presented his dissertation and every committee member requested copies of the final version. They all wanted copies, because when this work is published, it will certainly not be presented in its original form, which was overwhelmingly well received. In that, the typical dissertation is too long for an academic journal article and too short for a book. The idea that he has to retrofit his work to fit these traditional publishing conventions seems dated in the digital era.
If the length of an idea is controlled by mechanical factors rather than the idea itself, an essay may be too cursory and a book may feel as if the author added a handful of chapters in order to hit that 300 page mark. The digital era of academic publishing offers the opportunity to challenge the constraints of printing costs and market factors on the form of a text.