Rarely able to fully extricate myself from anything, I’m happy to join the Berkeley Planning Journal in announcing the release of volume 27 (available now for free online, because of course).
My first graduate research role was investigating the world of online academic publishing. The student-led, peer-reviewed BPJ was entering its 25th year, and in addition to using Microsoft Access to handle its subscribers, it relied exclusively on stodgy and exsanguinous academic publishers like Elsevier to distribute its work. Bear in mind, most of this work was conducted by publicly-funded students at a publicly-funded university. But like most academic journals, it depended on for-profit channels for distribution, even back to its own students.
In my first year at Cal, I scanned and uploaded the entire 24 volume catalog of the BPJ, and put volumes 1-25 on eScholarship, an open access publishing platform maintained by the University of California. And then wrote an article about the process (Insurgency in Academic Publishing), and published it online through those very same open access channels. We also published all 25 volumes on Amazon through CreateSpace, Amazon’s print on demand service, which allows us to abandon Microsoft Access and deal somewhat more directly with subscribers (in any case, it removes waste of accumulated and unsold books, so it’s a win-win).
At the time, the fact that I also laid out the entire 25th volume seemed like an afterthought. But then it happened with volume 26. And now again 27. It’s been great staying in touch with my PhD friends, and as long as they keep publishing compelling research, it’s an interesting way to stay connected to my newest alma mater.