Alternatives to mainstream publishing within and beyond academia


Since 2001 the open access model of ephemera has been operating in opposition to corporate academic publishing, and we are not alone in this struggle. While for-profit publishers have been finding new ways to appropriate and capitalise on academic knowledge and the very idea of open access (ephemera collective, this issue), a colourful multiplicity of alternatives has emerged. This contribution aims to make these alternatives visible, showing a whole variety of ways in which they challenge the status quo within and beyond publishing and academia.

Publish and perish

A few years ago, I published a paper on the ‘secrets of excellence’ in the business school (Butler and Spoelstra, 2012). It was written as an ironic guide to publishing in top-ranked management journals. Some of the tricks of the trade we identified – ‘productivity through people’, ‘close to the customer’, ‘bias for action’ – overlap with Peters and Waterman’s 1980s business-yuppie classic In search of excellence.

Handle with care

Handbooks, of organization studies. The main advantage of these collections is said to be the efficiency of fitting a wide raft of pieces in the palms of your hands, and hence the title or subtitle of ‘handbook’.

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