How Do We Address the Continuing Problem of Inadequate and Deceptive Publishing Practices?
May 13, 2014

For 20 years, scholarly publishing has been responding to what some term "the digital revolution." Promising an end to scarcity and delays, the technocrats - and I count myself as among these to a point - believed all the benefits of abundance and speed would only help science advance. Rapid publication practices were established, online-only journals and journal sections were pioneered, and online manuscript submission and editing became commonplace. In addition, movements like open access (OA) came into being.

The Exploitative Economics of Academic Publishing
May 7, 2014

The vast majority of academic papers are published by corporations like Elsevier, and these corporations are thriving: In 2011, Elsevier made $1.1 billion in profit, at a profit margin of 36% (by comparison, Apple’s 2012 profit margin was 35%). This impressive profitability is due in large part to the fact that the content sold by Elsevier is produced, reviewed, and edited on a volunteer basis by academics like me. We consent to this system because our careers depend on publishing in prestigious journals, almost all of which are owned

Press Release: Elsevier Embraces EPUB3 Format
April 22, 2014

EPUB3, the most advanced eBook format, will provide readers with a more immersive, multi-media eBook experience Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, will move its new eBooks to EPUB3, becoming the first major STM publisher to commit to the latest, most advanced eBook format available.

Elsevier Opens Its Papers to Text-Mining
February 6, 2014

Academics: prepare your computers for text-mining. Publishing giant Elsevier says that it has now made it easy for scientists to extract facts and data computationally from its more than 11 million online research papers. Other publishers are likely to follow suit this year, lowering barriers to the computer-based research technique. But some scientists object that even as publishers roll out improved technical infrastructure and allow greater access, they are exerting tight legal controls over the way text-mining is done.

Who Can Rival Amazon?
January 22, 2014

Recently my friend Mike Shatzkin asked me to participate in a panel on Amazon at Digital Book World. Mike asked all the panelists a question that I want to attempt to answer at greater length than I was able to at the conference. The question was in two parts:  first, how much more market share can Amazon amass before it slows down or is stopped? Second, who can put together a meaningful merchandising service that could take share from Amazon?

Taking Stock In the Kitchen: A Look Back at 2013
December 24, 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, it's time for a quick look at the state of The Scholarly Kitchen. Pardon us this indulgent navel-gazing, it's in the nature of blogs and social media in general to spend a certain amount of time staring admirably at oneself in the mirror.

What's Fair Use When Algorithms Are the Content Creators?
August 9, 2013

When the news hit that a photographer was suing BuzzFeed for $3.6 million for reusing one of his images, some on the internet reacted with fear and horror. Because many of those people - and websites - are notoriously loose with reusing images, and they like to hide behind the blithe view that it's all "fair use."

These debates about the bounds of fair use will always be important, but they obscure a very unfair dynamic that is squeezing artists - and turning the web into a battleground between humans and machines