January 13th, 2012


Who is the Mugger, Pray, and Who the Mug? (fao UK authors)

If you're a member of the ALCS - the body that licenses educational institutions to copy and use writing for academic purposes - you should probably take a look at this.

In brief, the Government is proposing to scrap all fees for educational copying, and hence all licensing income for authors. Given that most journals do not pay their authors, and the amount of paid time officially allocated for research for academics* is about a quarter of that actually spent (judging by my own case), the annual cheque for £120 or so has been very welcome, not least as a reminder that someone out there is reading and using one's work.

It used of course to be said that academics were "paid in promotion" for the time they put into scholarship. Well, two monographs, two edited collections, a scholarly edition, numerous articles, chapters and introductions, an international research project, and six novels later, I'm still waiting to see the truth of that one. Not that I'm bitter...

* Of course, by no means all the authors of material copied by universities and other educational institutions are paid to do research at all.