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June 27, 2013

I can confirm for Richard Hoyle that the journal Theatre Notebook is run on such “old-fashioned lines that the editors give their time for nothing”, or at least nothing pecuniary (“Pipe-dream believers”, Opinion, 20 June). I would hope that most readers of Times Higher Education do not think this is “a waste of their time as academics”. Indeed, I expect that many readers can think of activities that they gladly undertake without recompense, including providing peer review, serving on national committees and speaking in local schools about university life. The Americans call it “service”, and it is an honourable tradition in academia.

Regarding the costs of online publication: Hoyle is mistaken. Within academia, server space and URLs are indeed effectively free, as the substantial costs are borne by central government via Jisc. Hoyle is awfully behind the times in stating: “It simply isn’t true that you can run a journal, even an online one, without an income stream.” Tell that to the editors of the thousands of online open-access journals doing what Hoyle thinks impossible – he can find them by searching the online Directory of Open Access Journals: DOAJ. He won’t find Theatre Notebook listed there, for the reason I gave in my article (“Green-eyed, no monster”, Opinion, 6 June): print costs money and Theatre Notebook’s readers still want print. But the existence of all these digital open-access publications disproves Hoyle’s claim that journals need an income stream.

Gabriel Egan
De Montfort University
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

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