Information Economics

Information Economics Brought to you by CSUSB’s John M. Pfau Library In this video, we’ll peek behind the scenes
at the economic nature of scholarly information. You’ll find that academic publishing
models play a very important role in how information is disseminated and which
resources you can access. Let’s start at the very beginning of what
is sometimes referred to as scholarly communication, or the system in which information
is created, evaluated, disseminated, and preserved. It all starts
when someone creates a book, chapter, or article based on his or her research. This
someone – say, your professor – not only does this to add to existing disciplinary
knowledge, but also because if they are employed at a university, they likely have
to. You might have heard the phrase “publish or perish,” which illustrates
that creating knowledge, often referred to as publishing, is something that is typically
required for tenure and promotion. Your professor’s areas of expertise, available
funding, and disciplinary trends influence what is researched and published. At this point, let’s say your professor
wrote up her research findings in an article. Articles are typically published in journals
or magazines, and since your professor is expected to produce scholarly information,
she will likely submit it to a peer- reviewed journal. This is a very important
step, as the journal that she chooses to publish her work in will determine how it
will be viewed by her peers. If, for example, her article is published in the top
peer-reviewed journal in her field, others will expect that it is of high quality, and
they will be more likely to cite it in their own work. Publication quality and the amount
of attention her work gets matters quite a bit if she wants to be considered
an expert in her field. When your professor agrees to publish her
article in a specific journal, this is when she engages in what is called rights management.
What this means is that often, the publisher of the journal will assume copyright
of your professor’s work. Even though she created it, it now belongs to the
publisher, and it is essentially theirs to sell to others. When the publisher makes articles available
for purchase, they are selling access to information – just like when a magazine
sells you a subscription to what they publish. This is where the library comes in.
Because libraries purchase access for more than one person, including students,
faculty, and staff, they spend large amounts of money to get the content you need
for academic research. The library will choose to either purchase
a subscription to an individual journal, to a package of journals owned by the same publisher,
or to a database that contains many different journal articles. If you think
about it, the library, a representative of the campus, is in the position of having to
purchase research that was created by professors on the same campus. As you might
have guessed, there are a lot of people who are fighting against these types of publishing
models, and open access publications and institutional repositories
play an important role in providing The exciting thing is that change is in the
air. Self-publishing, the participatory web, social media, alt metrics, open access – all
of this is shaking up traditional models of scholarly communication. We’ve certainly
got a lot to look forward to.

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