the queer theory blog

Reblog of Jeffrey Lockhart: introducing theory and social inquiry

The former editors of Theory and Society have started a new journal to meet the concerns of those who do not support Springer Nature’s interventions in the direction of that journal. The new journal, Theory and Social Inquiry, promises dedication to leadership by the academic community it intends to represent as well as principles of open access.

Thanks to Jeffrey Lockhart at the Scatterplot Sociology Blog for this information.

We propose a different model. Our new journal, Theory and Social Inquiry, will be published by the Open Library of Humanities (OLH). OLH is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist journals in breaking free of commercial publishers if their intellectual autonomy comes under attack. Our experience at Theory and Society is far from unique, and other editorial teams have also been effectively “fired” when they refused to cede to publishers’ demands. Often these demands involve pressure to publish more (typically shorter) articles so that the press can make higher profits from open access fees (“article processing charges”). Publishers may also interfere in the content of a journal, as in Springer’s decision to “change the direction” of Theory and Society by opting for a more “scientific” and less “political” type of scholarship. In the broader context of growing attacks on sociology and encroaching censorship, we feel it is critically important to take a strong stand by moving our journal to a not-for-profit publisher.

In addition to re-constituting as a non-profit, our new journal will also be open-access. OLH’s model of open access (“Diamond Open Access”) relies on collective funding from an international network of university and public libraries and does not charge article processing fees to authors. This is particularly important for researchers situated in universities with fewer resources, including in low-income countries. Open access also allows readers without university affiliations to access scholarly work, expanding the reach of the scholarship published in our pages to the broader public.

Most importantly for us: we will own the journal. An association of sociologists will be the owners of Theory and Social Inquiry, which means that what happened with Springer can never happen again. We hope other journals will follow our lead in exploring models that similarly protect their intellectual autonomy.

From a letter from the editorial board of a new journal, Theory and Social Inquiry, signed Nitsan Chorev, Brown University; Gil Eyal, Columbia University; Neil Gross, Colby College; Greta Krippner, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Charles Camic, Northwestern University; Mara Loveman, University of California, Berkeley; Chandra Mukerji, University of California, San Diego; Monica Prasad, Johns Hopkins University; David Swartz, Boston University; Iván Szelenyi, Yale University (emeritus).

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