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What are the prospects for publishing online scholarly journals in Malaysia? The cultural constraint Jamay’ah Zakaria and Fytton Rowland Paper given at.

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Presentation on theme: "What are the prospects for publishing online scholarly journals in Malaysia? The cultural constraint Jamay’ah Zakaria and Fytton Rowland Paper given at."— Presentation transcript:

1 What are the prospects for publishing online scholarly journals in Malaysia? The cultural constraint Jamay’ah Zakaria and Fytton Rowland Paper given at ElPub 2006, Bansko, Bulgaria, 16 June 2006

2 2 Scholarly publishing in developing countries  Most studies of scholarly publishing have looked at the ‘international’ industry based in the developed North, mostly in Western Europe and North America  Concerns exist about the visibility of scholarly research undertaken in developing countries, and in other small or Southern-Hemisphere countries  SciElo (South America) and INASP (Africa) help – no such initiative for Asia, though

3 3 Malaysia  A developing country aiming to become fully developed by 2020  A predominantly Muslim country, with most education conducted in the Malay language  Heavy government emphasis on ICT; the IT infrastructure is good, and there is widespread availability of Internet access  Small scholarly publishing industry, almost entirely not-for-profit

4 4 Aims of J.Z.’s PhD Study  To measure the current state of the scholarly publishing industry in Malaysia  To gauge the extent to which it has converted or is converting itself to the electronic medium  To survey Malaysian academics, researchers and scholars, to ascertain their publishing and reading habits and their attitudes to the scholarly literature  To make recommendations regarding the future of online scholarly publishing in Malaysia

5 5 Research Methods Adopted  A questionnaire survey of Malaysian scientists, researchers and academics  Conducted by J.Z. in the Malay language; excellent response rate achieved, permitting full statistical analysis  Interviews with directors of university presses in Malaysia  Representatives of thirteen presses were interviewed, and their responses analysed by qualitative analysis techniques

6 6 Who were the Malaysian respondents?  They were aged 26-55, with an even spread between the decades  60% were men – slight over-representation  84% were ethnic Malays  80% in universities; 20% in research institutes  42% had doctorates, another 55% master’s  52% had attended Western universities  98% had Internet access – 70% of them at home

7 7 Attitudes (1)  No difference between the genders in their attitudes towards online publishing  Those who used ICT more were significantly more positive towards online publishing  Almost all said they published both for career advancement and to disseminate knowledge  70%+ said (in 2004) that they never used a digital repository, an online-only journal, or even a parallel print & electronic journal to disseminate their results

8 8 Attitudes (2)  67% often publish in conference proceedings, 33% in local journals, 27% in locally-based journals with an international scope, 20% in foreign journals, and 10% in books. Mean number of publications was 15.  Those who published more frequently were significantly more positive in their attitude towards online scholarly publishing; so were those who published their work in English or had had a Western education

9 9 Attitudes (3)  In deciding where to submit a paper, the most important considerations were the perceived reputation of the journals and its impact factor  Traditional refereeing procedures are still strongly supported  A large group still favours transfer of copyright to the publisher, but this group is negative in attitude towards online publishing  77% said repositories are important, but only 10% had ever deposited a paper in one

10 10 Helping and hindering factors towards electronic publishing  Factors that would help to persuade Malaysian scholars to publish electronically are recognition, support from their institution, and a policy towards e-publishing  Factors seen to be holding back the progress of e-publishing were a lack of funding for it, copyright concerns, a lack of recognition from the employer, a lack of technological know- how on the part of the author, and perceived low quality of electronic-only journals

11 11 Interview results: the presses  Most of the presses are small, with only a handful of staff. In universities, editorial control is with academics, but in research institutes, press staff undertake editing as well as production work  All but one of the presses had at least one journal title; they also publish books and conference proceedings

12 12 Interview results: their journals  The journals are small – 1-4 issues/year, articles per issue  Print runs usually about 300  Fewer than 100 paying subscribers  Provided free to other Malaysian universities and research institutes  Most accept papers in Malay or English  A few papers are from outside Malaysia  Peer-reviewed, but usually by referees all within the one university where the journal is published

13 13 Interview results: the authors  The Malaysian journals struggle to get papers  Authors prefer to give conference papers as they get their travel to the conference paid for  Prestige attaches to ‘international’ journals  But Malay-speaking authors may have difficulty in getting English-language papers accepted in Western journals (70% rejection)  Inclusion in ISI’s WoK is key to success

14 14 Interview results: e-publishing  The only Malaysian e-only journal is not published by a University press  Most Malaysian journals are print-only – only one university press produces print & e- versions of its titles  E-versions of back issues are produced by scanning the print by some publishers  Reason for lack of activity here – difficulty in convincing university paymasters

15 15 Interview results: hindering factors  Lack of ICT skills in the presses  Lack of enthusiasm for e-publishing among influential academics  University managements’ preference for their academics to publish internationally  Tenure/promotion issues for e-journals  Some younger researchers don’t write at all  Uncertainty about business models

16 16 Conclusion – a cultural resistance?  Hofstede’s Power Distance Index – a measure of deferential attitudes – shows Malaysia to be a high-deference country  Malaysians are unwilling to disagree with their superiors. And both authors and press staff report lack of enthusiasm for electronic publishing by university senior managers  Senior scientists, Western educated, with lots of publications in English, are the most likely to be positive to e-publishing; they are the best placed to overcome this cultural trait.

17 17 What is to be done?  The government has provided the physical infrastructure but now needs to encourage its use – perhaps by granting full recognition for tenure and promotion purposes in public universities to papers published in local e-journals  University presses should collaborate to provide a national electronic scholarly information system instead of their current fragmented efforts  Journal publication should be granted higher status relative to conference proceedings  Senior scholars with international status need to give a lead


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