Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Where is My Manuscript? Part 2

Last month I detailed the saga of a manuscript I submitted to a traditional publication. In summary, the post detailed the long strange trip taken by a manuscript I submitted on December 21, 2005. Yesterday, much to my surprise, I received a package from the publisher containing reprints. Yes, my manuscript has been published!

The saga deepens.

When I compared the print version to my copy of the manuscript there were several noticeable and significant typographical errors. The special issue editor indicated that neither her or the journal editor had received galley proofs. Any changes we likely made by an editor at the publishing house or their 'typesetter.' Unfortunately, readers will likely question my writing skills - not the publisher's editing skills. Such errors pose a bit of a problem for tenure track librarians going up for a promotion since publications are often critiqued by 'external' reviewers. The reviewers could comment about such errors which in turn could be intepreted by a local review committee as a weakness.

While I respect the role that traditional publication plays in archiving our professional communications, I still can't help but to feel that they can no longer be the trusted source for the dialog and communication going on in our profession today. Libraries are largely dependent on and are competing with technologies that change every nine months. How are we supposed to progress as a profession in such a changing environment when it still takes a year and a half for an article to move from submission to publication? Waiting until 2009 to read about the wiki approach that Kathryn Greenhill is using to write two conference papers just won't do.

The fact that you are reading this blog means you 'get it.' Perhaps the only way that I will reach those that don't 'get it' is to write a peer reviewed paper about the impact of blogging that may be published near the end of the decade. If I am really lucky, that manuscript may actually be published while blogging is still the valuable communication tool that we view it as today. At the very least, I guess, it would make an interesting historical piece. Sphere: Related Content


T Scott said...

Of course, many "traditional" publishers are making use of many of the new technologies to greatly enhance and speed up the publication process. I'm assuming, from your description, that the publisher you're referring to is Haworth (why the hesitancy to refer to them by name, I wonder). Although I think a couple of their journals have made a worthwhile contribution, in general I've never thought very much of them and I think it is a mistake to use them as representative of "traditional publication." As the major biomedical publishers have proven (and I include both the for profits and the society publishers) it is quite possible to get manuscripts through the peer review process and published electronically in a matter of weeks.

Eric Schnell said...

Thanks for the comment, t scott.

Agreed. The technology is there to shorten the publication cycle if the publisher/editor chooses to use it. You are also correct that one should not assume that all publishers are the same.

The library profession is in a unique position to utilize new scholarly communication models. Much like with our services, I wonder if libraries not evolving as fast as we could be (need to) by continuing to put our resources into those traditional models.