An online academic niche 3


The online academic journal I edit, eJournalist has been rated as a “b” grade journal by the Australian Research Council. Does that mean that it is second rate? Not at all.

eJournalist has always aimed to be a “b” grade journal.

We started the eJournal eight years ago when we were working at a regional university which had a limited library and worked out of more than a dozen different campuses. Academic staff needed to be able to read and publish research papers relevant to their teaching. Many of the stuffy, printed journals about communications or journalism, rated their excellence on the number of articles they rejected, not to mention their restricted and expensive publications. Some of these “elite” publications were being bought up by publishers who then deployed copyright to sell academics’ work back to the universities which employed them.

However, I reckon academia should be informed by accessible information and the open exchange of ideas. I thought that the internet provided an easy and cheap opportunity to publish globally. eJournalist is an open access journal, and ownership of its articles resides with its authors. If you look at the site meter at the bottom of the eJournalist main page, you can see hits from the United States, India, the Netherlands, Germany and South Africa…and that was just in one week! Some people stay no time at all, while others linger.

As expected, the response from conventional academics was at best, sniffy. At one stage, one Australian sandstone University rated all online journals, irrespective of quality, at the bottom of the range. It seemed they thought that anything that appeared on paper was intellectually superior.

However, prejudices about the web are eroding, even in academia. The Australian Research Council’s (ARC) rating of eJournalist places in the top half of all journals, everywhere. “b” grade really isn’t all that shabby. According to the ARC “Tier B covers journals with a solid, though not outstanding, reputation. Generally, in a Tier B journal, one would expect only a few papers of very high quality. They are often important outlets for the work of PhD students and early career researchers. Typical examples would be regional journals with high acceptance rates, and editorial boards that have few leading researchers from top international institutions.”

That is exactly what eJournalist is about; accessibility, not exclusivity.

Alan Knight

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3 comments

  1. Bodacious use of sea creatures for the accompanying illustration!The more sea lions out there on the net the better.Hooray for the deserved increase of widespread credibility for online journals too.peace.

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