E-publish or perish

John Mcreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Mon, 13 Jun 1994 17:16:48 JST

Read writes,

"Mizrach writes:

"Precisely, D. Read, which is why the antiquated notion that, as far as
journals go, ELECTRONIC = NOT PRESTIGIOUS must be counteracted, by
spreading the contrary meme, that electronic journals are BETTER than their
hard copy counterparts..."

The point I was making is being missed: regardless of how much you and I
might extoll and praise electronic publishing (speedier, less cost, fast
distribution, etc.) as a way around the problem of long publishing times in
journals, there is another side of the hiring/promotion game; namely, those
making the decisions can simply discount however much you have published
merely by deeming it as being published in non-prestigious and/or
non-refereed journals."

Isn't the key point here the value which accrues to a scarce resource in a
market economy? From this perspective speedier, less cost, fast distribution,
etc. all add up to cheap, i.e., of lower value. To combat this "antiquated
notion," we need a new standard of value. As an advertising man I think
immediately of reach and frequency, where, for this purpose, reach is measured
by the the number of people who read an item AND are willing to add themselves
to a recommender's list (the second condition is necessary to counter
promiscuous broadcasting to all and sundry with no measure of response--a
kind of Nielsen rating scheme) and frequency would be a count of references
in other peoples' messages (the how-often-cited criterion). It would then
be possible (I am not, bearing in mind Mike Salovesh's warnings, saying
"desirable") to establish quantitative standards for hiring and promotion
decisions. A useful byproduct would be a continuously evolving map of where
fields were moving. With the right graphic representations it would point
to opportunities for new ideas where fields are starting to intersect, etc.
For the sociology of knowledge it would be a massive step forward.

*Thanks for inspiration to James Ennis, Sociology Dept. Tufts University who
works on this kind of thing analyzing existing printed media.

John McCreery (TWICS.COM)