Clarity.

“Climbing the ranks” is a really, really weird thing. I feel like I do less and less of my job-y things, and more of professional/service-y things. Like being invited to Edit a Volume on something.*

One hangup I have – despite the chance that I might lose some great opportunities, I’m not willing to bend on some things, like, for example, my commitment to open access and clarity on authors rights. I honestly believe that too often questions are not asked about how and why academic publishing happens the way it does, and so it never changes. I am fortunate to be in the position to not be tenurable (librarians are “specialized faculty” at FSU) and therefore I do what I want in terms of my research and scholarship activities. Like this email I just sent back to that Publisher, who kindly asked me to Edit that Volume.

First let me say I am honored to be considered. I am very interested in being involved, and would need more detail on what work would be expected of me, deadlines, etc. I’ve never had the opportunity to work on such a large scale project before. 

Also, as you might expect, I’d need to have clear commitment and understanding of your stated goals for an open access version of this content. I understand that you have a business to protect, but I have strong feelings about the necessity to make quality scholarly work open and available to the public. I would have serious reservations about contributing to a project that could not live up to my standards of openness, respect for authors rights, and consideration of the limited resources of students and libraries, your primary markets.

Thanks again for this great honor and I hope to hear from you soon on a direction forward. 

I am truly honored to be at a place in my career that these opportunities are coming my way. And I hope they continue to. But it is more important to me that I consider how my actions have effects beyond my own career. Being conscious about the danger of perpetuating a system I hardly have faith in(academic publishing as we currently know it) may hamper my career, but to be honest I probably don’t have time to Edit that Volume anyways. And I’d rather my career be made on a principle/platform for change than acquiescence to “the way things are.”

N.B. I post these correspondence here not to puff myself up but to shed as much light on the system as I can. This is my act of professional disobedience, talking about they who we do not talk about, the publishers who hold our careers in their hands.

* currently in secret planning stages, thus the secrecy.

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