[lbo-talk] A public square

Tim Francis-Wright tim at francis-wright.com
Tue May 22 14:03:19 PDT 2007

robert wood wrote:
> Actually, it gets even better than this. One of my professors in history
> is about to publish his first book. Not only is he not going to get paid
> for it, but he is expected to pay for the production of the index. Now
> this is for a respected press, and my professor has already edited an
> important collection of essay on post-colonial studies for Verso.
> Obviously, this doesn't mark professors as an especially oppressed group,
> but it is kind of amazing..... robert wood
>> How about the racket of high-end academic publishers who solicit
>> articles from professors, pay the authors little or nothing, then sell
>> them back to the same institutions that funded the research for
>> thousands of dollars? The professors have little choice but to go
>> along with it, since their tenure and promotions rely upon publication
>> in prestigious sources. And the institutions need the articles for
>> their ongoing research.

My personal connection with this stems from about 15 years ago, when I helped typeset a computer science text for a professor I knew.

The good news for computer scientists who are publishing books is that TeX and its variants make it possible to do very good mathematical typesetting. And common extensions allow for good indexes and bibliographies. The bad news is that because it is possible for the authors (or the grad students they hire) to do this, the academic publishers will expect camera-ready copy. I cannot imagine that it has gotten better since then.

The awful news is that despite the reduced workload of the publishers themselves, the savings devolve not at all to the students who have to buy the texts.

\documentclass{article} \begin{document} --tim francis-wright \end{document}

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