structural impediments to real impact
from TITLE FIGHT, article in Times Higher Education by Mathew Reisz.
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From another point of view, of course, it is the publishers themselves that are the problem. Ricardo Blaug, reader in democracy and political theory at the University of Westminster, believes that "you'd get much more interesting work" if academics "could self-publish or be published by small presses and it was still seen as legitimate by the research excellence framework".
Like many people working in disciplines such as politics, Blaug has no problem with the canons of academic rigour ("You need to justify that something is worth taking seriously, you can't just stamp your feet"), it's just that he would also like to make an impact on public opinion and debate. Yet he believes that "there are structural impediments to real impact" - notably that publishers' pricing policies mean that "no one can read your work".
Blaug's solution has been to publish a monograph with Palgrave Macmillan, How Power Corrupts: Cognition and Democracy in Organisations (2010), while finding other ways to ensure that his arguments become a "vibrant hub for discussion and engagement". Although the book ends with a fairly quiet call to arms, he has distilled its central themes into a punchy seven-page pamphlet that was at the heart of a four-day event, How Power Corrupts, organised by if:book, the Institute for the Future of the Book, and the Roundhouse Group in May. This included a discussion with Lord Owen, a film, drama workshops and, significantly, a panel on "The future of academic publishing".