Replacing Academic Journals

Replacing traditional journals with a more modern solution is not a new idea. Here, we propose ways to overcome the social dilemma underlying the decades of inaction. Any solution needs to not only resolve the current problems but also be capable of preventing takeover by corporations: it needs to replace traditional journals with a decentralized, resilient, evolvable network that is interconnected by open standards and open-source norms under the governance of the scholarly community. It needs to replace the monopolies connected to journals with a genuine, functioning and well-regulated market. In this new market, substitutable service providers compete and innovate according to the conditions of the scholarly community, avoiding sustained vendor lock-in. Therefore, a standards body needs to form under the governance of the scholarly community to allow the development of open scholarly infrastructures servicing the entire research workflow. We propose a redirection of money from legacy publishers to the new network by funding bodies broadening their minimal infrastructure requirements at recipient institutions to include modern infrastructure components replacing and complementing journal functionalities. Such updated eligibility criteria by funding agencies would help realign the financial incentives for recipient institutions with public and scholarly interest.

Ownership involves socially recognized economic rights, first and foremost the exclusive control over that property, with the self-efficacy it affords. The inability to exert such control over crucial components of their scholarly infrastructure in the face of a generally recognized need for action for over three decades now, evinces the dramatic erosion of real ownership rights for the scholarly community over said infrastructure. Thus, this proposal is motivated not only by the now very urgent need to restore such ownership to the scholarly community, but also by the understanding that through their funding bodies, scholars may have an effective and proven avenue at their disposal to identify game-changing actions and to design a financial incentive structure for recipient institutions that can help realize the restoration of ownership, with the goal to implement open digital infrastructures that are as effective and as invisible as their non-digital counterparts.

| Research Data Curation and Management Works |
| Digital Curation and Digital Preservation Works |
| Open Access Works |
| Digital Scholarship |

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Author: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Charles W. Bailey, Jr.