Becoming editor: Or, Pinocchio finally notices the strings

Martin Parker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper uses my experience as an academic journal editor in order to reflect upon the social arrangement that brings academics, universities, states and knowledge capitalist organizations together to produce the contemporary academic journal and access paywalls. After some consideration of the history of publishing, I analyse the market for articles like this one, and consider the consequences of the ranking and monetization of journals, papers and citations by different agents. As I do this, I insert various biographical reflections on the relationship between 'editing' and being 'edited'. The overall aim of the paper is to suggest that this set-up actually has some very negative consequences for taxpayers, academics and students. It encourages the overproduction of academic output because it turns it into a commodity which is traded, whilst simultaneously tending to discourage forms of knowledge production that fail to fit into the boxes which have already been established for them, whether in terms of content or style. I conclude with some thoughts on open access journals, and their limits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-474
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Editing
  • Journals
  • Open access
  • Publishing
  • Rankings
  • Universities

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