April 2009 Index
Home Page

Publish or Perish!!!!!!!.

Donald G. Perrin

As a tenured professor, I learned both sides of the academic ladder recruitment, appointment, retention, tenure, and promotion (RTP) as a faculty member, Department Chair, Personnel Committee Chair, and Dean. I was tenured in several universities during my 50-year career. Only one of these organizations did not require publication in a refereed journal for RTP. Instead, it required research, and research was defined as publication!

There are a large number of refereed academic journals, but very few in each specific discipline. With the global explosion of higher education and doctoral programs, there is intense competition for publication, with less and less opportunity for professional exposure unless the research is innovative and makes a significant contribution to the discipline it represents. Most refereed journals are backlogged for over a year and turn away more articles than they publish.

Over the last decade, most printed journals have been replaced by online journals. Others were initiated online. Online journals are relatively lower in cost, fast to produce, inexpensive to distribute, and globally accessible from the moment of publication. Many are open and free, like this journal (IJITDL) and TOJDE. Some, as with Innovate, require registration of an email address.  Others are subscription based, as with the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) and the American Journal of Distance Education (AJDE). Compared to printed journals, their Internet counterparts have a very large readership, often exceeding 100,000 page-views per month.

The Internet has made information more accessible and instant electronic communication replaces mailing of physical documents. The Internet facilitates rapid transmission of documents between authors, editors and peer reviewers; computer databases provide logistical support for acknowledgement, tracking, and preparing the web-pages. However, substantial amounts of time are required for review, editing, copywriting, and publication. Most refereed Journals are located in a University that provides IT Services (servers, web pages, databases, etc.) and release time for the editor-in-chief. Local faculty and students volunteer support along with scores of reviewers and editors from many nations.

There is a major disconnect between publication schedules and recruiting/appointment and RTP decisions in universities. For this reason, publications need to be submitted more than a year in advance of submission to the personnel committee. Many journals require exclusivity - they only consider papers that are not submitted elsewhere. They may also demand copyright as a condition of publication. Many months are lost if, at the end of the review process, the paper is not considered right for that publication.

In the northern hemisphere, academic personnel procedures (recruiting, appointment, retention, tenure and promotion) are completed in the Spring Semester in readiness for the next academic year. Timely acceptance by a refereed journal may be an important to the future career of the author(s) and may even determine whether or not they get or are continued in a job!

IJITDL is attempting to give better service to authors and readers by increasing the number of reviewers, editors, copywriters, and technical personnel to accelerate publication, and to increase the number of papers published from four to six each month (from about 50 to 70 each year). If you are an author, reviewer or associate that has worked with the editorial team of IJITDL, or if you have worked with us between 1995-2003 for Ed at a Distance and USDLA Journal, expect an invitation to participate with us in this important volunteer enterprise. And other who would like to volunteer, write to editor@itdl.org for an invitiation.


go top
April 2009 Index
Home Page