Friday, October 12, 2007

Academic Publishing - "Uncle Already!"

So, it's official. I'm giving up on academic publishing. I have had a real struggle with this personally because of the fact that I make money writing non-fiction, so why spend time writing academic work (which is way harder) for no obvious financial gain?

Today, I received an email from a group that had conditionally agreed to publish an article of mine as part of a book. For over a year now, they have pretty much sat on it. I made it through the first peer review. Then I was asked to participate in the second peer review, and I was super careful to thoroughly examine each article I was sent (a total of 3). All of the articles had a good deal of grammar problems, and I guess that should have been a sign.

The latest email explained that the book was changing, they had way too many articles for it, and that attached are peer reviews for me to use in revising my article so that it could be reviewed again (3rd review). I looked at the reviews. One says my article is total crap and I could say the same dribble in a table. The other says my article is fabulous and I should include pictures. What the?

This is just a little of the saga that has gone on with this supposed book for over a year now. I won't bore you with any more details.

It's not that this one issue has turned me off. It's been just about every place I've sent something. I send it, and maybe I hear back. When I do hear back, it is sometimes even a little encouraging. Then I get something like "We will get back to you in a few months." The months come and go and nothing. I write them back and, again, zip. It's just amazing to me how unprofessional these people are who are supposed to be "academics." You can't email me a simple canned "thanks but no thanks" email? I know they are all probably very busy, but heck, if you can't do the work, then don't take it on. There really is no excuse for soliciting a call for papers and then not following up on your end of the deal.

I hate to say the cliche "those who can't do teach," but in this case it really seems to fit. I write and get paid for it. They don't.

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