發文作者:Albert Tzeng | 2009/12/18

The Changing Nature of the Journals

Hayes asked me if I ever thought of launching a journal. In my reply posted below I briefly discussed the impacts of citation index on the landscape of journals and the changing role of journals when people are gradually moving from journal-subscribers to database-subscriber.

Hayes:

I am not so sure at this moment if I would find initiating a new journal a necessary move for certain reason. I think joining an established one might be easier unless we couldn’t find any journal that meet our needs. Sometimes people find it necessary to initiate a new journal when he is trying to open a new field less studied before, but i doubt the viability of this strategy nowadays as many journals were dying out for the simple reason of not being included in some citation index.

The increased power of these citation indexs are like asking journals to line up and compete with each other of the same category… and leave only those winning ones in the market. Actually that was the stated purpose when the TSSCI was formed. The trouble of new journals nowadays is that you don’t easily get submission as journal now became a grading tool instead of a communication channel.

Honestly i did thought of the changing nature of the journal. In the past the journal is a communication channel for a group of people with common interest. But nowadays we are gradually moving from journal subscriber to database subscribers, the function of journal gradually move from ‘platform’ to ‘information label.’ It became a tag that is used for grading the nature and quality of the content (the article retrieved from databsse). What remains unchanged is the function as a ‘attention filter’ … but just moving from a strong version to a weaker version.

YET … as the ‘attention shift’ across different journals became easier… so are the flow of symbolic capital tagged to different journals. The market-like mechanism (esp the transparent ‘impact factor’) just introduce a stronger inequality of the symbolic capital distribution across a wider spectrum of journals… forcing those qualitatively diverse platforms to be weighted against a single dimension ..

I think one aspect worth further elaboration is… how has the changing mode of journal reading CHANGED the mode of journal submission. This is a question I haven’t gave sufficient thought to for the simple fact that I haven’t start journal submission.

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