Snippets of Satisfaction

I am delighted to say that I can actually put a piece of my writing on my own website. To those who have not laboured in the world of academia or non-celeb journalism, it may come as a novelty to realise that payment rarely passes hands. Once I had published reams of journalism, from articles on contraception to an interview with an ex-Polish Premier, I moved on to academic publishing, seemingly enchanted by the concept of writing for free. In fact, those who are campaigning for greater access to academic research by the public are to be applauded.

This is how it goes. When writing a doctorate, most of us are desperate to be published, to add to our reputation, academic CVs and, to be honest, to see something finished, a small snippet from of the whole 3-year plus project. So we prepare a short burst of our work or adapt a chapter or conference paper and approach various relevant journals. After being peer-reviewed and edits, the journal accepts the paper and some months later, pending further revisions, the article appears in said journal. This is where experience divides journals into those with good or bad practice. The former offers you copies of the publication and at the very least, one copy of the full publication and a number of ‘offprints’ or copies of your work as printed. So far, so good, after all, you have slaved away at an article and they have published it.

Bad practice looks like this. You write the article, thereby providing the labour, the publisher produces the journal and sells it and you get nada, nic, nothing. That’s bad enough, but in order to see your own work, you then pay that same publisher. So why do we do it? Vanity? It links back to my previous post – we want to see our work published. I have been in this situation several times, so I know of what I write. In one particular incidence, ecstatic at the publication of my first chapter in a book, I paid handsomely for said tome, which was a set of conference proceedings. Rumour had it that costs were increased because the editor had decided to have a colour photograph of herself on the back, rather than fund a copy for each contributor – vanity publishing indeed.

Conference proceedings seem to be much more prone to these sorts of mishaps. I’ve spent over a month before now editing a paper for publication in conference proceeding, only for the editor to decide they can’t be bothered. It’s no way to make friends. So to return to the snippets of satisfaction of the title – here is my review, in the Slavonic and East European Review, of Małgorzata Pilaszek’s excellent book, Procesy o czary w polsce w wiekach XV-XVII – or Witchcraft Trials in Poland Between the XV and XVII Centuries. Enjoy.

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