Thursday, July 1, 2010

Perspectives and the Press

I assume that there aren't a whole lot of political scientists who read Plain Blog but don't read the Monkey Cage, but I do know of at least one, so perhaps there are any rate, just in case any of you missed it, I want to strongly agree with Henry Farrell's post suggesting that Perspectives on Politics (a journal that is intended for both political scientists and political actors) become accessible free of charge. 

My experience is the same as Henry's: there are a lot of journalists and bloggers out there who would be glad to learn (and publicize!) what political scientists have to tell them if it were easily available.  I think that would be a surprise to many experienced academics, by the way, and I think it is part of a generational shift.  I think older generations of reporters were far less likely to read things, and far more likely to rely on phone conversations, most of which were (at least in my experience) used to tease out a quotation to support whatever it was that they intended to say already.  Yes, I'm generalizing, and yes, I'm speaking from my own personal experience (as well as what I've heard from others), but I'm certain that if Perspectives was more readily available, it would play a larger role in policy and political debates.  Moreover, I suspect that  once that happened, political scientists who want their research to be noticed outside of academia would be more likely to publish there. 

Quoting Henry:
If you agree with the basic arguments of this post, I’d ask you to politely push them to anyone you know who holds any office in APSA. It’s long past time that APSA did this - but getting action is going to require some politics. Which is a topic that we (in theory) should know quite a lot about.
To which I'll add this sophisticated argument: What he said!


  1. Somewhere or other, Bill James remarks about the tendency of academics to put up barriers to outsiders as a way of keeping unwanted onlookers out. Jargon is one of the main tools to that end. In any case, I fully agree about opening the archives -- the political scientists might be happily surprised.

  2. I think it's important for people to understand that it's not just an issue of access for bloggers et al. I have access to almost every journal through various sources. But I generally won't write about what I can't link to. That's the key. So it's not about my access, it's about access by my readers. Since the amount of revenue involved has to be trivial, I really don't understand why every think tank and professional association doesn't make all of their journals available for free. I venture to say that every member of the APSA would be willing to pay slightly higher dues if it greatly increased citations, links, blog posts etc. to their work. Bruce Bartlett


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?