Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Follow up on InTech Book

Last year, I blogged about being invited to contribute a chapter to an open access book published by InTech. I declined the invite, not wanting to pay Euro 590 to publish a book chapter with an unknown publisher - book chapters, even in books published by well-known academic presses usually aren't cited much. Furthermore, I have recently concluded that publishing book chapters is detrimental to our university's ranking in the ERA research assessment exercise.* So I don't need any extra book chapters anyway.

The book has now been published and it is interesting to see the finished product. It turns out that the mystery editor was Shariar Khan of Independent University in Dhaka, Bangladesh who is also the author of Chapter 9. The chapters are an odd combination of physical science and social science articles on the theme of fossil fuels and the environment with authors from all around the world.

InTech claim that 2011 was a huge success for the company. They published 60,000 authors in over 1,280 books. The number of downloaded chapters topped 1.7 million in 2011, while the number of unique users exceeded 154,000 each month.

* This is the case in economics at least where book chapters are considered equivalent to C-ranked journal articles on the whole. ERA assesses publications on the basis of both the overall profile of journal publications and a peer review of a 30% sample selected by the submitting university. The 30% covers all journal, book, book chapter etc. items. If you publish a lot of book chapters your 30% sample will have to dig down deeper in your quality profile. So large numbers of publications in low quality outlets hurt more than a few publications in high quality outlets help I think. This is in contrast to the UK REF where each academic only submits their best 4 publications. Total numbers of publications are still useful for funding purposes in Australia. But increasingly the ERA ratings of the university will be used to weight performance on numbers of publications, grants etc...

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