The journal is dead, long live the journal

Danny Kingsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to argue that the traditional scholarly journal system is outdated and in need of revamp, and new internet technologies provide opportunities for change unavailable until now. Design/methodology/approach - The four functions of the scholarly journal: registration; awareness; certification; and archiving are discussed in turn and alternative ways of undertaking those functions are explored. Barriers to change and ways to overcome these barriers are addressed. Findings - The functions of registration and certification are already met with an open peer review system in place for some high profile journals. Recently developed searching and browsing facilities give academics access to a greater proportion of scholarly literature, providing a more efficient awareness function than traditional journals. The function of archiving is not being adequately addressed by commercial publishers, and the steps being taken by institutional repositories to that end are more sustainable. The fundamental tenet of science as part of the public domain is being eroded by commercial gain, and a move away from the traditional scholarly system can reverse that trend. Barriers to change are: the publisher's commercial imperative to maintain the status quo; the academy's reluctance to change; and the reward system. However, recently both publishers and academics have demonstrated a willingness to try new systems. The barrier of institutional reliance on metrics poses the greatest threat to change. Originality/value - This paper builds on an historical background of arguments dating back to 1926, but uses up-to-date examples of ways publishers are moving towards change. The paper will inspire debate in the scholarly community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalOn the Horizon
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Economic sustainability
  • Peer review
  • Serials


Dive into the research topics of 'The journal is dead, long live the journal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this