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Academic Publishing Is All About Status

As a young professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1940s and 1950s, Paul Samuelson made a habit of visiting the offices of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, then based at MIT, to look through the other economics journals that arrived in the mail. ā€œIā€™d read every journal, every article,ā€ he told me a decade ago. Nowadays, no economist would do this. For one thing, there are too…

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Academic Publishing Can’t Remain Such a Great Business

Publishers of academic journals have a great thing going. They generally don’t pay for the articles they publish, or for the primary editing and peer reviewing essential to preparing them for publication (they do fork over some money for copy editing). Most of this gratis labor is performed by employees of academic institutions. Those institutions, along with government agencies and foundations, also fund all the research that these journal articles…

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