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Editors Talk about Editing

Insights for Readers, Writers and Publishers


Susan L. Greenberg

The work of «editing» is by and large something that happens behind the scenes, noticed only when it is done badly, or not done at all. There is not much information about what editors do. The result is that editing is not often talked about in its own right – not even by the people who do it. This collection of interviews attempts to fill some of the gaps. The author, a former editor herself, interviews practitioners at the top of their game – from newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, book publishing, scholarly editing, academic publishing and digital curation. The interviewees think out loud about creativity and human judgment; what they have in common and what makes them different; how editing skills and culture can be shared; why editing continues to fascinate; and why any of this might matter.
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Chapter 11: Peter Binfield, PeerJ


← 142 | 143 → Chapter 11


Co-founder and publisher, PeerJ,San Francisco and LondonInterview: Wednesday, August 1, 2012via Skype and email

Scholarly publishing has been a key site of change in publishing. This does not come without conflict. In the UK, for example, there has been a mixed reaction to new rules requiring all research to be published on an open access basis. As is often the case, it comes down to money. One argument in favour of open access is that the public already funds research through taxation, and should not be expected to pay twice. However, if the reader does not pay, the gap must be filled from another source.

At the time of writing, some models (commonly described as ‘gold’) propose to charge the author a fee, but an individual writer cannot always count on an institution to cover the cost. The ‘green’ model makes conventionally published texts available without restriction, typically after an embargo of not more than 12 months. However, professional associations that depend on reader subscriptions are worried that this may not be long enough.

In all these debates, attitudes towards editing can occupy a central place. Not all costs can be stripped away by the new digital platforms, and editorial mediation is one of them. The question arises: who will carry out acts of editing on academic texts, and how will that be funded?

The interview here with Peter...

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