At almost any gathering of academic publishers or librarians, you’ll hear someone float the idea—sometimes phrased as a question—that the model for publishing scholarly monographs is broken.
As InsideHigherEd reports: “Two sets of ideas aired at the Association of American University Presses’ annual meeting, held here this week, don’t say the model is damaged beyond repair. But the proposals, both from groups outside the university-press community, suggest that it needs to be retrofitted, at the least.
“One possible approach came from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the other from a task force on scholarly communications run jointly by the Association of American Universities and the Association of Research Libraries. Both raised the question of how to better subsidize the digital publication of scholarly monographs, and both included the notion that faculty authors’ home institutions might do more to help pay for those books to be published. Such support would help deal with what university-press people often call the “free-rider problem,” in which institutions without presses—most of them, in other words—leave it to those with presses to support the system that gives faculty authors publication credentials.
“The AAU/ARL task force describes its plan as a “prospectus for an institutionally funded first-book subvention” that would shift the burden of payment to authors’ home institutions. That would “address the principal causes and effects of the market failure for monographs,” the prospectus says. It envisions that colleges and universities would agree to pay for an openly available “basic digital edition” of some faculty members’ first books; scholarly publishers could offer those titles for sale in other formats too.
“The plan also envisions that universities with a high level of research activity would offer subventions for three or four books a year, with an “annual subvention exposure” of roughly $68,000 to $73,000. Small colleges would pay for one or two books a year, and offer more modest subventions. Continue reading “On paying for book publication”
The Associated Press (AP) has an obvious interest in maintaining the idea that its images are “true,” even in an era in which the line between reality and fiction is known to blur.
But people still debate the issue, as evidenced last week in the dust up over whether Lena Dunham’s Vogue pictures by Annie Leibowitz had been doctored. Hence, we find the following pious article from AP about its firing of a photographer who photoshopped a tiny corner of an image taken in Syria because he wanted to eliminate a camera laying on the ground:
“The Associated Press has severed ties with a freelance photographer who it says violated its ethical standards by altering a photo he took while covering the war in Syria in 2013. The news service said Wednesday that Narciso Contreras recently told its editors that he manipulated a digital picture of a Syrian rebel fighter taken last September, using software to remove a colleague’s video camera from the lower left corner of the frame. That led AP to review all of the nearly 500 photos Contreras has filed since he began working for the news service in 2012. No other instances of alteration were uncovered, said Santiago Lyon, the news service’s vice president and director of photography. Contreras was one of a team of photographers working for the AP who shared in a Pulitzer last year for images of the Syrian war. None of the images in that package were found to be compromised, according to the AP. AP said it has severed its relationship with Contreras and will remove all of his images from its publicly available photo archive. The alteration breached AP’s requirements for truth and accuracy even though it involved a corner of the image with little news importance, Lyon said. Continue reading “Photographic truth”
The use of the word “illegal” to describe non-citizens who are present in the United States without authorization is finally beginning to die a much-deserved death, at least in the mainstream press, reads a piece in today’s Salon.com ” The announcement by the Associated Press on April 2, 2013, that it would no longer use the word “illegal” to describe a person, only a status or an action, was soon followed by a number of other major newspapers, including the New York Times — which announced on April 23, 2013, that while it would not ban use of the term “illegal immigrant,” it would encourage editors and reporters to consider alternatives — the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post. Other news organizations, including the Miami Herald, had long since replaced the term “illegal immigrant” with “undocumented immigrant.” (Of course, even the word “undocumented” is imprecise. Non-citizens present in the United States without lawful immigration status possess all manner of documents — just not the right ones.) Continue reading “Retiring the term “alien””