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Back to disciplines: exploring the stability of publication regimes in chemistry: the case of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (1879–2010)

Abstract : Based on a case study, this article explores the stability of publication regimes (as defined by Hilgartner (2015, 2017)) in chemistry. Starting with a slight detour via open access (OA) policies, it concentrates on the conditions of editorial production and trade of a scholarly journal, from an historical perspective enriched by a sociology of valuation and pricing. Prices are seen as social constructs as I consider the modalities of market coordination among actors of the publishing enterprise in a major scholarly society, the American Chemical Society (ACS). The study focuses on the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), a periodical that was founded in 1879 by the ACS, of which it is the "flagship" journal. The investigation relies mainly on a detailed examination of the JACS imprint from a diachronic perspective (1879-2010). I describe how scientific papers (as singular entities) gradually entered into a commodity market, first with the page-charge mechanism and the imposition of authors' fees, up to the emergence of the Article Processing Charge (APC) model, where the authors/institutions pay fees to have the electronic versions of their articles in OA. The proposed timeline in five periods is marked by two points of rupture that correspond to State intervention and the adoption of federal laws. Inherited from the deployment of science regimes in the post-WWII period, revenue collection models were collectively invented by the ACS and its members as successive adjustments to address massive imbalances caused by changes in scientific, institutional, and regulatory environments. Specific market mechanisms and modes of coordination have been put in place to support the development and guarantee the continuity of a disciplinary program (that of chemistry) in the frame of what I call a disciplinary publication regime.
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https://hal-upec-upem.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02943006
Contributor : Marianne Noel <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 18, 2020 - 3:08:36 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 4:17:56 PM

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Marianne Noel. Back to disciplines: exploring the stability of publication regimes in chemistry: the case of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (1879–2010). Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 2020, 7 (1), ⟨10.1057/s41599-020-00543-6⟩. ⟨hal-02943006⟩

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