News: Academic Publishing Weekly

The future of peer reviews, trans studies advancements, and updates on Spotify's move towards audiobooks

Journals Struggling with Peer Review Process

With submission numbers rising, journals are finding it harder to track down scholars willing to peer review—a practice that has historically depended on volunteers. Since COVID-19, researchers are less likely to accept review requests and, when they do, submissions are often late. Inside Higher Ed‘s Colleen Flaherty digs into the circumstances around this “peer review crisis” and possible solutions. In particular, Flaherty highlights the benefits and drawbacks of paying reviewers, and raises the question of whether or not revise-and-resubmits—“in which journal editors offer extensive feedback on papers but don’t accept them”—have met their end. [Inside Higher Ed]

We need to make sure we are building websites and user experiences that are attractive both to these increasingly influential Millennials, and also to their Gen Z colleagues (the oldest of whom are already, at 24, old enough to be beginning their post-graduate studies).

Charlie Rapple, Scholarly Kitchen

The Age of Academic Influencers

At last week’s Society for Scholarly Publishing conference, panelists came together to discuss the impact of the growing number of Millennials and Generation Z in academia. Scholarly Kitchen‘s Charlie Rapple hones in on the importance of marketing to these younger generations, hailing mobile-centered interfaces and video-based content. In addition, Rapple remarks on the role of YouTube as a popular search engine and the benefits of pillar pages as publishers tackle the ever-changing academic market. [Scholarly Kitchen]

Copyright Court Cases Continue

After months of legal efforts, Maryland’s library e-book law is no more. Passed in March 2021, the law required publishers licensing electronic products “to also offer to license the content to public libraries ‘on reasonable terms’”—essentially barring the possibility of publisher embargos. Deeming the law a violation of the Copyright Act, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a suit in December 2021 and, after this week’s court order, the e-book law is now “unconstitutional and unenforceable.” In other court case news, summary judgement motions were ordered regarding a lawsuit against the Internet Archive’s practice of “controlled digital lending,” which allows libraries to lend digital copies of print titles. Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House filed a copyright lawsuit in June 2020, following the IA’s temporary suspension of lending restrictions in March 2020 due to COVID-19.

Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies (BATS) Vol I cover. Black background with purple lettering.

New Advancements for Trans Scholarship

Northwestern University Libraries and the Center for Applied Transgender Studies have launched the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies (BATS), one of only three journals centered on trans studies. BATS is the “first journal with an entirely trans editorial board,” and published its first open access double issue this week. The ultimate goal of the journal is to bolster trans representation in both publishing and academia as a whole. As editor of BATS TJ Billard notes, “We have an important opportunity to change what the trans studies landscape looks like and set the publishing standard for other universities.” [Northwestern Now]

The Future of Audiobooks

First announced in late 2021, Spotify has finally closed its acquisition of the audiobook platform Findaway. Not only could this impact current stakeholders (Amazon’s Audible, for example), but audiobook production on the whole. Findaway utilizes “technology tools that independent authors can use to publish and distribute their stories to new audiences,” and Spotify plans to expand these functions to further democratize audiobooks. How will Spotify’s new acquisition influence listenership? [Spotify Newsroom]