“Privashing” vs. publishing — in search of an accurate term for a problematic academic tradition

Gregory Crane
Comments to gcrane2008@gmail.com

[Draft as of July 28, 2015]

Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Digital Humanities
Leipzig University

Professor of Classics
Winnick Family Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship
Tufts University

This is a short piece reflecting on the need to distinguish publication that actually maximizes the degree to which we make academic work public from the traditional practice of handing control over to commercial, often for-profit, companies that make money by restricting publication. Of course, publishing under an open license has no necessary relation to any particular editorial workflow — researchers can, of course, carry out peer review or any other mechanism they choose. Certainly professors have wide latitude in deciding what does and does not count in a field and we can reward editorial work if we so choose. (I don’t know many academic administrators or members of the public who feel that we don’t produce enough publication and that we could not divert some of that labor to editorial work.) The point is that publishing should (in my view) mean that we have chosen that instrument that will help us advance the intellectual life of society as broadly and as deeply as possible.

I suggest, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, using the term “privashing”, instead of publishing for this traditional habit. Of course, it is an ugly term but that certainly suits the traditional practice in a digital age. The full (not very long) text is here.

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