August 25, 2004

Abusive publisher of the month

In a recent post, I discussed an interesting-sounding review that was published in the Winter 2003-2004 issue of Academic Questions, which is the quarterly journal of the National Association of Scholars.

Looking for a copy of the review on line, I discovered this plaintive little note on the NAS website:

Catchword is a British company that contracted with our publisher to display AQ online for a fee to researchers. Access is provided free to NAS members and subscribers of the print version. Catchword is evolving since being purchased by a company called Ingenta, but the procedure for registration, cumbersome though it is, appears not to have changed. It reflects what seems to be the intention of our publisher, Transaction Periodicals Consortium, to impose strict limitations.

NAS members and AQ subscribers must go to the web site. Hit the "Online Journals" link on the home page of that site. That sends you to a "Research Journals" page that sports a horizontal menu at the top, with a tab for "Register." Hit it and go to a page that asks if you seek "personal registration," which is probably what you want. Selecting "Yes" will bring up a form that asks your name, address and other details and requires you to select a user name and password. Enter your information and submit the form. Doing so should generate a CatchWord Identification Number (cid00000000). Go with that number in an email to our publisher, Transaction Periodicals Consortium, at <> and request online access to Academic Questions. Then you must wait till our publisher gets back to you with notification that you have clearance to open the online articles. Posting began with the winter 1998-99 AQ (Vol. 12, No. 1). It has taken Transaction as much as three or four weeks to provide that clearance in the past. AQ is up on the CatchWord site as a pdf file. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader software to open the various articles.

A person at Transaction who seems to be responsible for clearance is one Lisa Killian, (732) 445-1245 ext 610 <>.

I've quoted this note in full, not because I expect very many of you to follow its instructions, but because I want to ask a question.

Why does an organization like the National Association of Scholars, made up of "professors, graduate students, college administrators and trustees, and independent scholars", all apparently in full possession of their reason, and indeed "committed to rational discourse as the foundation of academic life in a free and democratic society", put up with this crap?


Posted by Mark Liberman at August 25, 2004 06:05 AM