Two of my major projects for the summer have been updating my website and submitting my tenure dossier for consideration. One specific thing I’ve been meaning to do at the intersection of these two projects has been to include a modified research statement on my website as well as a list of my publications along with links to PDFs for all of my research, ensuring that it remains accessible to everyone. I haven’t yet decided how much civil disobedience I want to engage in here—part of the reason that I keep putting all of this is off is that I want to revisit all the contracts I’ve signed over the years to figure out what rights I have in terms of posting preprints, sharing papers in personal/institutional repositories after a certain amount of time, etc. I do want to push the envelope in terms of open access to research, but I think there’s an important balancing act involved in all of this, and I haven’t figured out what side to err on.
For all of the obstacles that are preventing me from actually carrying out this project, its importance suddenly became more important a couple of weeks ago. As I was putting a final polish on my tenure materials before submitting them, I checked the website for Teachers College Record (TCR), an important education journal where Matt Koehler, Catharyn Shelton, Jeff Carpenter, and I published a short paper looking at the TeachersPayTeachers platform and essentially asking whether teachers were, in fact, paying teachers. More specifically, we examined the distribution of sales, finding that:
The top performing 1% of stores (n = 1,524) accounted for 81% of TPT’s total sales dollars (approximately $3.2 billion), leaving the other 99% of stores to share the remaining 19% (approximately $0.7 billion).
This is a really interesting finding, and so we’ve been hoping the paper will get some traction.
However, when I checked the TCR website, I found some surprising news. As long as I’ve been aware of TCR, they’ve been running their own show and building their own website. Sometime this summer, though, it looks like they’ve joined the SAGE family and now have a journals.sagepub.com subsite to go along with it. In some ways, this is great: The TCR website was confusing—often to the point of being unusable. For all of my complaints and concerns about the big academic publishing houses, at least their webpages are consistent and easy to navigate.
Here’s the problem, though: There is no longer any trace of our paper on their website. I’m guessing that this has to do with the format of the paper. Although the paper was reviewed and published, it wasn’t considered a regular paper or assigned to a specific volume or issue of TCR. It’s possible that these alternative formats will eventually get uploaded to the SAGE site, but I’m not crossing my fingers. While I have “contact TCR to ask about this” on my to-do list, I’m dreading the answer enough that it’s been hard to actually write the email. Making matters worse, the old wreck of a TCR website is no longer availalbe (the old URL redirects to the new SAGE site), so I can’t even direct potential readers there.
Fortunately, I have a copy of the paper available, and I know that at least one of my co-authors does to. So, while our research has been disappeared from TCR, it’s not completely dead. As edge of a case this is, it’s reminding me that I do need to get around to personally providing access to my own publications. It’s a good paper, and I don’t want it to be inaccessible to readers just because the journal changed how they’re doing things.
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