Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Publishing: Digital Journals v. Hard Copy Journals

A major survey by the American Historical Society found a strong preference for hard copy journals:

The survey also found that senior faculty members are unlikely to believe that their institutions highly value digital journal articles, even with the question specifying that these were peer-reviewed online articles. Compared to the approximately 70 percent of history professors in the survey who said that print articles were highly valued, only about 10 percent said the same for digital articles. At bachelor's colleges, the figure is about 15 percent. (An Inside Higher Ed poll of faculty members this year found that a majority believe that work published in online-only journals can be equal in quality to work published in print, but only a small minority agreed that online scholarship receives the same respect in tenure decisions as does print scholarship.)

The figures are striking in that the discipline of history has no shortage of highly respected digital scholarship venues.

I’m sure that a similar survey of law profs would make a similar finding. Yet, even the most elite law student-run journals may sell only about 2,000 hard copies. In our law library, those hard copies are at the basement level. That floor is a ghost town.


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