Refracted Input

Clare O’Farrell’s blog on books, TV, films, Michel Foucault, universities etc. etc.

My rating: ***

Continuing on with the same theme…


For those of you came in late, ‘lolcats’ is a phenomenon that really took off on the net early in 2007 – although it dates back to around 2005. It involves photos – usually of cats – with funny captions in broken misspelt ‘Engrish’ in a sans serif font. See dicey font of wisdom Wikipedia for further info.

The two main lolcat sites are I can has cheezburger? and lol cats

I have decided to categorise lolcats as an ‘internet meme’ (which others have done before me in any case). I am a bit ambivalent about this whole notion of ‘meme’ but will go with it for the time being. I am using the word in the sense of an idea or other cultural unit that captures people’s imagination and spreads like wildfire. Here are a couple of references: Wikipedia (aaaargh not again!), Meme central. Malcolm Gladwell’s notion of the ‘tipping point‘ covers similar ground to this particular definition of meme. He is similarly ambivalent about the notion of memes.

2 thoughts on “Peer review

  1. Masood says:

    Could you please post this on your blog:

    Academic Exchange Quarterly’s Publishing Scam

    I just want to share this with you and see if any of you have had any such experiences with this journal that sells itself as a representative journal of people like us.

    A few months ago I sent an article to the Academic Exchange Quarterly (AEQ). Last week I got my reviewer’s reports asking for revisions, a normal practice for all refereed journals. I revised the essay as per the reviewers remarks and sent it back. Today I got another message from them. The message stated that my essay needed further revisions, which is also usually an accepted practice with academic journals. The message said that my essay will be accepetd for their summer issue after I had revised it AND after I have paid $132.00 redactory fee!

    So here is how I read this message: Your essay is good enough to be accepted after further revisions, but we need $132.00 dollars to do that. Now, I understand that sometimes when we make changes after the final proofs have been approved, it costs more to the publishers to make any changes. My book contract with Oxford clearly states that if I ask to make changes in approved proofs, I will have to bear the costs. But in this case, the essay is still in consideration stage. Furthermore, the journal does not provide any complementary copies to the authors, but expects them to buy their copies. This really sounds like a scam to me.

    Does anyone of you find this exceptionally mercenary and unfair? Of, course I decided to withdraw my essay: why publish with a journal that wants money to publish your article anyway. But my fear is that this journal sells itself as a premium academic journal, and does it in our name. Has anyone else experienced this at their hands, and if so is there anything we can do about it?

    Thanks for a patient reading.


  2. Clare says:

    Hi Masood

    This does not surprise me. A number of journals particularly in the scientific area actually do expect authors to pay them for publication these days. In this case it looks as though they were asking you for a fee to help fund copy-editing of your article. Numbers of journals, unless they are run by the big publishing houses, are pretty strapped for cash these days and have insufficient funds to run properly.

    On the other hand there are journals who are exploiting the fact that academics desperately want to publish.

    So I wouldn’t necessarily see this as a scam but more a sad reflection of the state of academic publishing at present. In the last 20 years there has been a drastic drop in sales of academic books as academics are simply no longer on salaries that allow them to purchase these books. About the only people who buy journals these days are libraries and they are often charged exorbitant amounts.

    Here is an interesting article


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