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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Re: Academic Publishing (Was Standard Work)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0556  Thursday, 20 March 2003

[1]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 12:29:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0527 Re: Standard Work On Early English Book
Publishing

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 12:36:45 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 14.0536 Re: Standard Work On Early English Book Publishing

[3]     From:   James Conlan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 18:49:50 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0536 Re: Standard Work On Early English Book
Publishing


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 12:29:22 -0500
Subject: 14.0527 Re: Standard Work On Early English Book
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0527 Re: Standard Work On Early English Book
Publishing

>Professor Magary asks a pertinent and frightening question: What is
>happening to academic publishing? In looking for a publisher of a book
>of interviews of American Shakespearean actors, I have discovered that
>Univ. of California Press no longer publishes scholarly books on drama
>or literary topics. I guess such books don't sell well enough to be
>worthwhile for that erstwhile prestigious academic press. The UCP's web
>site no longer lists such topics, not is there a contact person listed
>for them.  Such developments bode ill, I fear, for our and related
>professions.
>
>Regards,
>Michael Shurgot

I share Michael Shurgot's concern, and was a little surprised not to see
a session at the SAA devoted to the issue.  (I stopped going to MLA
years ago--was it taken up there?)  I'm no longer in the thick of the
fight for tenure and merit raises, but if I were an assistant professor
in our field at a school that expected at least one book as a criterion
for promotion and tenure I would be scared silly.

David Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 12:36:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Standard Work On Early English Book Publishing
Comment:        SHK 14.0536 Re: Standard Work On Early English Book Publishing

Al Magary suggests that

'Maybe "Perfesser" would fit...'

Really? In fact, the title originates in New Orleans where it referred
to the man who played the piano in a 'sporting-house'. How about 'I did
it my way'? B flat OK?

T. Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Conlan <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 18:49:50 +0000
Subject: 14.0536 Re: Standard Work On Early English Book
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0536 Re: Standard Work On Early English Book
Publishing

I appreciate the perspective of Kristine Batey.  However, from the
perspective of US research libraries, the origins of the crisis in
academic publishing in the humanities look somewhat different.
According to the Association of Research Libraries, the price of
scholarly journals has more than tripled since 1986.  This rise in price
has meant increased dollars invested in the health and natural sciences
research fields relative to the humanities because answering lucrative
NIH RFAs allows only 3-4 months of lead time and therefore requires
materials on site. Encouragement by accrediting bodies and faculties to
purchase online access to journal subscriptions already held in print
has put additional pressure on acquisitions budgets -- but without
providing more intellectual capital. As acquisitions funds at research
institutions have not risen in proportion to these increased demands,
the pool of funds available for purchasing scholarly monographs and
specialized reference works in the humanities has shrunk.  Fewer copies
sold by a press means less profit and increased warehousing costs;
increases in price in response (c. 60% since 1986) drain the pool
further.  In recent years, the bad economy, by shrinking endowments and
alumni support for private universities) and placing greater demands on
the state tax base for public universities, have contributed to a
macroeconomic trend already at work that appears to have been initiated
at university presses themselves.  One wonders how profitable this
policy has been.  Certainly Yale houses a number of prestigious academic
journals that it wants to make a profit.  But the disparity between
Yale's $16 million acquisitions budget, the NYPL's $12 million
acquisitions budget, and the $7.35 million average ARL member budget
means that Yale is paying considerably more every year for the material
they have than they might if the pool of purchasers was larger.

Best,
JP Conlan

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