Old posting on Brunel/WLIHE university merger, from late 2000s.

Cannot remember the context, but this old posting was unpublished so I though this was worth putting up:

I have lived through one university merger  – The West London Institute of Education in Osterley/Isleworth, and Brunel University (London, UK).

I taught at the West London Institute of Higher Education, a small higher education institution in West London, starting in 1993. A report of my experiences is here. In the  early 1990s, a rumour of a possible merger between Kingston University and WLIHE never eventuated. I was actually in the lunch queue at Borough Road campus, WLIHE standing behind the Brunel and WLIHE  management when I heard them discussing a merger. This was  in 1994 (one of the people  was Michael Sterling, the VC of Brunel at the time).

At WLIHE we were essentially a teaching-focussed college and part of the London Borough of Hounslow, near Heathrow Airport. Our core business was training teachers, and we taught modular joint degrees and some professional diplomas, but there were some masters and a very few PhD graduates. Some information here. WLIHE had some pretty good professors and research-active people, although not many. There were only a handful of people with British research council and other prestigious grants. Most  research was ranked 1 or 2 in the government assessment, the RAE, in the early 90s (see here, 1 is low, 5 is excellent).  About 70 academics were submitted for assessment, the most being in Allied Health and Geography. Brunel University fared much better as an institution with innovative 4 year ‘sandwich’ degrees, many more students, and a research profile that was medium to excellent in several disciplines.  However WLIHE included some great buildings including a riverside mansion and plenty of Victoriana, while Brunel had its main 1960s concrete campus in far less illustrious Uxbridge, a long walk from the Tube Station.

These factors made it seem for us at WLIHE that a ‘takeover’  by Brunel took place, since Brunel was a much more powerful institution. A small institution was merged with a larger one and later closed. See Brunel’s website, which used to mention the Institute in detail but has subsequently edited this down to scarcely a mention – and the links to the archives don’t work ! (http://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/history). Brunel wanted the student numbers in some of the options that WLIHE offered, and a few of the research-active staff. Most WLIHE staff were in favour of the merger too, since we would become a ‘proper’ university (during my time on the Borough Road campus, after hours work was impossible – the doors were locked at 7pm).  A few took redundancy or retirement, because they felt they could not perform in the conventional university research/teaching environment. WLIHE became Brunel University College under Prof. Eric Billett for 2 years, then BUC was annulled and the the University became multi-campus.

The transition was relatively smooth. The positive side was the increase in status for the WLIHE staff and students, and increased student numbers for Brunel at a time when this was important for funding.  The negatives really came in under the next VC, Stephen Schwartz (2002-2006). He began the process of vacating and then selling off the two WLIHE campuses and ‘consolidating’ at Uxbridge, and by the mid 2000s both WLIHE sites had been sold. He also restructured the university (an earlier restructure had seen some loss of science/engineering departments at Uxbridge about 1996). My former Department,  Geography and Earth Sciences, which had been transferred from WLIHE, was then axed despite a strong campaign to save it. Most of the individual staff were actually saved by Schwartz’s successor and redeployed in other units –  two or three are still employed there, but a number of lynchpin geographers finally took redundancy in 2015. There are not many former WLIHE staff left on the Uxbridge campus.

There are several general lessons.

  1. In a higher education sector merger, jobs may be protected through an agreement; but afterwards, in the merged institution, previous promises are unlikely to be maintained for all that long, unless there are ironclad agreements. Universities are, or are like, businesses.
  2. Similarly, physical building stock; it can be sold  after consolidation and thus be lucrative for the new institution (not sure if this was a merger motivation for Brunel, but we had suspicions at the time). The former Maria Gray riverside campus, comprising a mansion (Gordon House, renamed Richmond House)and other buildings, was sold for many millions. There is a gated housing estate there as well and at Borough Road, a large housing development.
  3. The lesser partner in a merger can effectively disappear after a number of years, existing only on Wikipedia and Facebook, as in WLIHE’s case. Bulmershe College is another example, in Reading – the campus was later abandoned by Reading University, which took it on in 1989.
  4. Merged institutions need not resemble the amalgamated entities at all; the management may try to create something entirely new.

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List of OA journals in geography, political ecology, and various social sciences

last update: 13/11/16

“…….So things might have happily continued, had not the corporate interests within this limited, subsidised economy pushed journal subscription prices to the point where access to the knowledge went into a state of decline, at a time when new publishing technologies enabled researchers to take publishing back into their own hands. These new technologies have been used to demonstrate how access can be greatly increased, improving the circulation of knowledge, restoring the researcher’s control of knowledge, and extending its value as a public good by making it far more widely available.” Willinsky J. 2003. The Nine Flavours of Open Access Scholarly Publishing . J Postgrad Med  49:263-7.

Academics write most of their work in journals. Journals should publish and curate good quality work, but unfortunately the majority are also used to make money for commercial publishers. This is not a win-win situation. Corporate profits are frequently high because companies retain author copyrights, and sell the material to (mainly) scholarly and university libraries, that frequently struggle to stock key journals because of the cost.  Five companies are now dominating the field, and buying out smaller ones. Financing of this form of scholarly publishing is opaque. Academics do not rock the boat on this very often, because their  prestige and careers are linked too much to the journals they publish in, and most of the prestigious ones are commercial and expensive. Our systems of merit and performance measures are not yet geared to rewarding publishing that is ethical, or based on social justice criteria. This is especially bad at research universities. (good ref. here, a a depressing study here that shows social scientists in particular don’t care as much about OA as they about the rank of outlets).

To make some contribution to the debate about whether social scientists can avoid the big commercial, firewalled journals, I list below decent academic journals that are free or cheap to publish in, have proper refereeing, and are Open Access – free for readers. Copyright is retained by the author in most but not quite all of them. Open access journals can impose fees on authors instead of readers. Those  with high fees above cUS$500 for authors are excluded- like most social scientists I don’t have more than this to contribute to a publication and I don’t think more is justified. There is a long debate about whether in our internet world, we should be paying at all, which I won’t get into here.

The list began with fields my students and I publish in, hence the small number of themes [environment & development, human geography, anthropology, urban studies and planning, general social science, and the research/publication process], but it should be useful as a starting point. Further discussion on journals and open access here and from the guru, Peter Suber, here.  Journals are the main systems of constant ranking and hierarchy that we have, much as it would be fairer to ignore them and just publish in the most appropriate venue for the readership. I have included Scopus, Web of Science (formerly ISI) and the new Emerging Sources Citation Index listings *

For the majority of my colleagues reading this who have not thought much about OA and publishing ethics (and are manically trying to publish in the best places), I hope you find something you can contribute to. In brief, open access is the best way to publish scholarly material – more readers, and articles under authors’ control. It is a logical outcome of the invention of the web, and the Academic Spring protests of 2012, which have had echoes – eg the recent Lingua  debacle over the resignation of an editorial board that was dissatisfied with Elsevier’s control of copyright and high OA charges, and all the Netherlands universities fight with the same company in 2015 about high charges.  Scott Aaronson says 

“…much of the serious content on the Internet remains sequestered behind pointless, artificial walls—walls that serve the interests of neither the readers nor the authors, but only of the wall-builders themselves. If I have a medical problem, why can’t I download the full text of clinical studies dealing with that problem? Why do so many researchers still not post their papers on their web pages—or if they do, then omit their early papers? When will we in academia get our act together enough to make the world’s scholarly output readable, for free, by anyone with a web browser? “

Most of the journals on the list are run by the “community economies” of unpaid academics, university libraries or departments, or scholarly societies, and a few are commercial but still have acceptable author fees that mere mortals could afford (APCs) **. Only if the big publishers are able to offer OA at reasonable fees, is it worth considering publishing an OA article with them. That said, as Sir/Prof. Tim Gowers argues, journals these days exist only to accommodate author prestige – you can publish anything online, or easily just email the author for a copy of an article (or use Researchgate and Academia). So OA journals need to be as good in quality and meticulous as those conventional ones that are costing our libraries a fortune. I hope I only list good ones here.

The invention of the web and its rollout in the early 1990s spelled the end of the need for conventional firewalled journals. Printed copies are no longer required (although they may be desired by a few)  and the culture among scholars has changed to storing individual article PDFs and only printing them if needed. There are few costs for hosting a journal online – storing its files is easy. Costs, or value, are all in the labour.  To suggest there are major cost implications of OA is not true, unless professional editors or translators are used. If publishing is done largely by academics and their institutions, which is my hope, the cost of running journals is absorbed into regular workloads or taken up by grants, and we have a true change in publishing underway. “The commitment of scholars everywhere to finding new ways of improving access to knowledge”(Willinsky 2003) need not be commercialised or costly. The ‘big five’ publishers (who now  control 66% of papers in social sciences in the WoS, and rising…) and some of the smaller ones will have to adapt or perish (but they do produce indexing, which is useful for now). We will have our copyrights and a larger potential readership, and university libraries will have more money to spend. We will also be able to support smaller and multilingual world periphery journals.

Useful sites

Journals in political ecology, environment, development and associated areas (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

  • Acta Regionalia et Environmentalica. Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra. Not indexed. Free. Regretfully, 6 pages A4 max, nto long enough for most social sciences. Currently mostly regional articles. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/aree
  • AgBioForum: the journal of agrobiotechnology management and economics  Univ of Missouri-Columbia with a federal grant. Critical articles on GM tech etc. allowed. Free. Straightforward website. Copyright – read the details, used to be CC-BY. Scopus Y http://www.agbioforum.org 
  • The Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy. Student run, no indexing. http://www.ajelp.com/ (law schools are often quite wealthy and they like to have their own online journal. Nothing wrong with that but only a few are listed on this site)
  • Bandung: Journal of the Global South. A Open Access Springer journal. I add it here because it is free to authors from developing countries (but $980 for western authors) . Too new to be indexed, but it will be.  https://bandungjournal.springeropen.com/
  • Change and Adaptation in Socio-Ecological Systems (CASES) European Land use Institute. Free (for now). Unindexed. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/cass
  • Conservation and Society Indian publisher, international editors, one is in my School.  http://www.conservationandsociety.org/ Scopus Yes, Web of Science yes (2015: 1) , Free.  Rejected me twice!
  • Culture, Climate and Change: Biocultural Systems and Livelihoods
     Did not proceed in 2011 but being revitalized from Peru in 2016 – watch their site.  http://journals.sfu.ca/ccc/index.php/ccc/index
  • Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum. Run by Duke law students. Good site. Since 1991. Scopus Y.  http://delpf.law.duke.edu/
  • Electronic Green Journal general environmental, UCLA library.  http://escholarship.org/uc/uclalib_egj   Scopus Yes, Web of Science No. Free.
  • Environmental Humanities. Newish offshoot from the AustHumRev below. University sponsored mainly from UNSW Sydney.  htttp://environmentalhumanities.org/  Web of Sci no, Emerging Sources Citation Index yes, Scopus no (too new), Free.
  • Espace populations sociétés  French and English. Published by University of Lille 1 http://eps.revues.org/  Web of Sci no, Scopus yes, Free
  • Ethnobiology Letters  International board. Also does mini-review papers.  http://ojs.ethnobiology.org/index.php/ebl/index  Scopus Y
  • Environnement Urbain/ Urban Environment. founded 2007, bilingual, Canadian, free I think.   https://eue.erudit.org/?lang=en or http://www.vrm.ca/contenu-vrm/revue-eue/  Scopus and WoS, no. Takes long papers up to 10,000 words, hurrah!
  • Empowering Sustainability International Journal. University of California, Irvine. New, not many papers yet. http://escholarship.org/uc/esij
  • Environmental Health Perspectives http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/  Web of Sci. yes with index of over 8, Scopus yes, free to publish and read. One of the top public health journals in the world. Publishes only 15% of submissions.
  • Environmental & Socio-economic Studies Univ. of Silesia, Poland. Urban and industrial focus. Free, but copyright transfer to the university. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/environ
  • Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics. Publisher is Inter-Research in Germany, funded by the late Otto Klinne (it also has a foundation). Some of their journals are author-pays, but this one is still free for the moment (2016). Scopus yes, Web of Science no. http://www.int-res.com/journals/esep/esep-home
  • HARVARD ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW  WoS yes. Scopus Yes. http://harvardelr.com/ Free, as with many US law school journals. See also the Environmental Law Review Syndicate harvardelr.com/elrs/
  • Human Ecology Review  This US journal was always available online and free at a website, but is now published by ANU ePress in Australia. ANU are not doing themselves any favours – the current website is incomplete (a journal needs a dedicated page with submission instructions). It is still listed in WoS masterlist but as a US publication. Scopus Y.
  • International Journal of the Commons. Supported by IASC and in honour of Nobel winner Elinor Orstom who was involved before her death.   http://www.thecommonsjournal.org/  Scopus yes, Web of Sci yes (2015:1.8).  Author charges can approach $500 for an article.
  • Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society.
    http://futureoffoodjournal.org/index.php/journal Univ.Kassel and Union of German Scientists. Free, young scholar focus, not indexed. Confusing dual website.
  • International Journal of Environment Nepalese, not indexed. Free. http://nepjol.info/index.php/IJE/index
  • Journal of Agriculture and Environment for International Development. Published in Italy since 1907, but made online and free only a few years ago. Social science papers rare but possible. http://www.iao.florence.it/ojs/index.php/JAEID/index  Not indexed.
  • Journal of Ecological Anthropology.  University of South Florida. http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jea/ Free, unindexed but some good papers.
  • [Journal of Ecological and Environmental Anthropology University of Georgia, seems to have disappeared. Used to enjoy that one.] 
  • Journal of Economic and Environmental history Association of Croatian economic and environmental history (Zagreb). Unindexed. Takes moderately lengthy papers.  http://hrcak.srce.hr/ekonomska-i-ekohistorija
  • Journal of Water and Land Development  Polish Academy of Sciences and Institute of Technology and Life Sciences, Falenty. Scopus Y. Rivers/water agriculture etc. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jwld
  • Journal of Natural Resources and Development.  http://jnrd.info/  Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile with German support, nice layout but should be CCBY copyright.  Web of Sci no, Scopus no, Free.
  • Journal of Political Ecology   Scopus yes, Web of Sci no, Free. Everything is done by academics, and housed at U. of Arizona library.  I edit this one and it is a labour of love and hours. http://jpe.library.arizona.edu
  • Madagascar Conservation and Development Free. http://journalmcd.com/index.php/mcd/index
  • Mountain Research and Development. Scopus and WoS y.   Base charge of US$ 500 for the first 25,000 characters, which is nothing, so really it is too expensive to be here anymore. http://www.mrd-journal.org/
  • Natural Resources Journal. University of New Mexico. “The NRJ welcomes articles on natural and environmental resources and the law, especially as it relates to policy and interdisciplinary efforts.” Scopus Yes, Web of Science Yes (2015: 0.2)  http://lawschool.unm.edu/NRJ
  • Nature Conservation. Publishes social and natural science articles. Price of publication was €200 but just went up to €550 in July 2016. However various discounts take it down 10%, esp. for PhD students and waivers for retired and lower/middle income country residents. Scopus and Web of Science, yes.  Pensoft, a Bulgarian company. http://natureconservation.pensoft.net/
  • Pacific Geographies   Small German online journal. WoS N, Scopus N. Free, and generally does themed issues on Pacific topics. http://www.pacific-geographies.org/
  • Papers on Global Change IGBP. Unindexed,  Poland. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/igbp
  • Places Journal. Architecture and landscape architecture/planning  focus. Peer refereeing option.  https://placesjournal.orgWeb of Sci applied for, Scopus Yes, Free
  • Polish Journal of Environmental Studies. Really a journal about ‘problems of environmental protection’ rather than other aspects of environmental studies. Page charges €30  per page. Scopus and Web of Science, yes.  http://www.pjoes.com/index.html
  • Present Environment and Sustainable Development Romanian jounral published by deGruyter open. Free and unindexed. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/pesd
  • Primate Conservation published by Conservation International and IUCN. Scopus Yes, WoS Yes.  http://www.primate-sg.org/primate_conservation/
  • Problemy Ekorozwoju/Problems of Sustainable Development. European Academy of Science and Arts (Salzburg, Austria). Scopus yes, Web of Science yes. (2015:0.7) Polish/English and free. http://ekorozwoj.pol.lublin.pl/
  • Riparian Ecology & Conservation. DeGruyter pubs. Free. Not indexed yet, quite scientific orientation. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/remc
  • Recreation and Society in Africa, Asia and Latin America (RASAALA) Univ of Guelph.  Free. https://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/rasaala/index WoS No, Scopus No.
  • Rural Landscapes: society, environment and history  Stockholm University are the publishers.  Scopus No, WoS No. New, very professional format. Research article fee £250.00. http://www.rurallandscapesjournal.com/
  • Suburban Sustainability  Hofstra Univ.  http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/subsust/  Not much information on site. Assume Scopus No, Web of Sci No, Free.
  • Sustainability: Science, Practice & Policy. Scopus listed. Author fees apply unless you can get a waiver, articles $595, others $295. https://sspp.proquest.com/
  • Transdisciplinary Journal of Environmental Studies. Roskilde University Denmark.   http://www.journal-tes.dk/  Scopus No, Web of Sci no, Free. One of the early ones, now needs a spruce-up.
  • The Trumpeter – Journal of Ecosophy.  un-indexed. http://trumpeter.athabascau.ca/index.php/trumpet/index
  • Water Alternatives International board and team.  http://www.water-alternatives.org/  Scopus Yes, WoS No, Emerging Sources Citation Index Y. Appears to be free to publish.

Geography (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

Turkish Geography journals – there are three, but the website is not yet up to date. http://www.cd.org.tr/?dergiler

Anthropology (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

Best list is here http://www.antropologi.info/links/Main/Journals

Croatia http://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=casopisi_podrucje&id_podrucje=52

  • AnthropoChildren   Université de Liège. “Ethnographic perspectives on children & childhood” French/English. Free, not indexed. http://popups.ulg.ac.be/2034-8517/index.php
  • Anthropology of Food Free. Not indexed. Dedicated team in France, on the French Revues site. French or English. http://aof.revues.org
  • Anthropology Matters  Student/early career – run UK journal, part of the ASA. Free.  http://www.anthropologymatters.com/
  • Anthropology & Materialism: a Journal of Social Research. From Université Paris 1  Sorbonne and other partners. On the French Revues site. Free and in English, French, German or Spanish. Themes issues yearly (modest number of papers). Free. No indexing yet. http://am.revues.org
  • Anthropological Notebooks  Slovene Anthropological Society. WoS Yes (2015: 0.25), and Scopus Yes. And free! (this appears to be a rare case of all three). Articles up to 10,000 words.  http://www.drustvo-antropologov.si/anthropological_notebooks_eng.html
  • Anthrovision “…visual anthropology and the anthropology of the visual”. Visual Anthropology Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. free, unindexed yet. http://anthrovision.revues.org 
  • Antipoda   Anthropology/archaeology journal with Latin America focus. Univ. Los Andes, Bogota, The best one in S. America). All papers appear free. Mostly in Spanish. Scopus Y http://antipoda.uniandes.edu.co/index.php
  • Antrocom: Online Journal of Anthropology  Italian, english/italian. some good long articles. No word limits found.  http://www.antrocom.net/
  • Anuac –  international peer-reviewed OA journal of the Associazione nazionale universitaria degli antropologi culturali, Italy. Not indexed, but some very good articles. Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. http://ojs.unica.it/index.php/anuac
  • Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia). Published since 1853. Brill, Netherlands. Web of Science yes (2015: 0.28), Scopus yes. Commercially published but free, due to a professional society subvention. http://www.brill.com/publications/journals/bijdragen-tot-de-taal-land-en-volkenkunde-journal-humanities-and-social-scienc
  • Bulletin de l’APAD  Association Euro-Africaine pour l’Anthropologie du Changement Social et du Développement. Actually this is a really good bilingual journal of development and anthropology. Web of Sci no, Scopus no. Free http://apad.revues.org
  • Chungara, Revista de Antropología Chilena Web of Science (2015: 0.7). http://www.chungara.cl/index.php
  • Collegium Antropologicum Croatia. Journal of the Croatian Anthropological Society. Quite a lot of biological anthropology. Fee suggested: E200. Web of Science Yes, Scopus Yes. http://www.collantropol.hr/antropo/index
  • Cultural Anthropology American Anthropological Association.  OA since 2013. Submission fee $21 if a non-member (member fees for AAA and SCA and vary by income).  Web of Sci Yes (2015: high) and Scopus Yes. Free to read now, for recent years only- it was previously firewalled. http://www.culanth.org/
  • HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory “…aims to situate ethnography as the prime heuristic of anthropology”. In Scopus,  with prestigious authors and a growing presence since 2011. 10,000 words max. They may ask for fees if your institution can pay  – these are not given on the site.   http://haujournal.org 
  • Intersecciones en Antropología (Facultad de Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires). Spanish and occasionally English. 7,000 words max.  Web of Science yes (2015: 0.27)  http://www.interseccionesantro.com/
  • The Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography For undergrad work. You need a faculty sponsor to attest the work is genuine. http://undergraduateethnography.org/
  • Mathematical Anthropology and Cultural Theory: The Journal for the Scientific Study of Culture. Rather specialised. Poor website and a few papers published each year. http://mathematicalanthropology.org/toc.html
  • Omertaa, Journal for Applied Anthropology. Associated with Leuven U. through Expeditions, Research in Applied Anthropology. Unindexed, free I imagine, some good papers, but essential information on submissions is missing from website (format annoying). Last paper was 2014. http://www.omertaa.org/
  • Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana (AIBR) A few English articles, one by Escobar. Free. Indexed in Scopus (low score) and Web of Science (2015: 0.4) http://www.aibr.org/antropologia/netesp/1002.php
  • Sociologisk Forskning Swedish sociology association. Some really good papers in Swedish and a few in English (site is in Swedish). Up to 10,000 words. Scopus and Web of Science (low, 2015: 0.08) http://www.sociologiskforskning.se/
  • Structure and Dynamics eJournal “aspects of human evolution, social structure and behavior, culture, cognition, or related topics”. University of California, Irvine. Free, open.  http://escholarship.org/uc/imbs_socdyn_sdeas
  • Tempo Social Sao Paulo Univ. sociology journal. c.8500 word max. Scopus and Web of Science yes (low) (2015: 0.04)  http://www.revistas.usp.br/ts/index
  • Tipití: Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America. Trinity University, Digital Commons. Unindexed. Free.  http://digitalcommons.trinity.edu/tipiti/
  • The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology Peer-reviewed, student-run journal of anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/totem/
  • Urbanities: journal of urban ethnography Founded in Italy, University of Kent base. Free. Does not offer CCBY copyright but it is there in spirit. Scopus Yes. http://www.anthrojournal-urbanities.com/
  • Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology  Brazilian Anthropological Association. English, French and Spanish. Free. Unindexed. http://vibrant.revues.org.
  • World Cultures eJournal University of California. An anthropology journal, open and free, but few papers published each year. http://www.worldcultures.org/ (click on top link, if you get an old school page)

Urban studies and planning (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

Other social science of interest (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

Publishing and university teaching/research issues (remember- free to read, author submission costs free<>$500)

Book Publishers

Most academic publishers now sell electronic versions of books alongside print copies, but you have to buy them with a credit card.  The ones below are different because they charge the authors to publish, or are free to authors, and make the book CC-BY and free to read. Usually, you can still buy a print copy if you wish. Many universities also publish their PhD theses for free download – for example Amsterdam, Wageningen where under the Dutch model, they are nicely boud and presented in hard copy.  See http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/Publishers_of_OA_books for a full list of publishers. See OAPEN for humanities and social sciences open books from different sources, mainly European. http://www.oapen.org/home  and the Knowledge Unlatched project that makes books available. 

*Scopus only lists only  bona fide journals of all types, totalling over 30,000 of which a growing percentage are OA, and assigns them scores for impact. The masterlist can be downloaded here. Web of Science (formerly ISI) encompasses the top journals in the world by impact so it is a bit more selective. Here is the master list.  The same company have recently started the Emerging Sources Citation Index listings which is journals that are rising in impact but not yet on the WoS. There are many other indeces of impact, but none are counted seriously in the world’s top academic establishments.

**I have left off MDPI journals like Recycling because while some are free, eventually they usually go over the $500 limit as they abecome better patronised, and the company had some bad press (but is currently in the clear). You can browse their list.

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Filed under academic relevance, Open access publishing, political ecology

Short article on radical scholarship

Batterbury, S.P.J. 2015. Who are the radical academics today? The Winnower  6pp.

ABSTRACT

This brief article suggests radical scholarship needs redefinition in the reality of contemporary university life. It must include the conduct of research that supports justice; greater relevance and engagement outside the university; and more attention to  “…the ethics by which and toward which knowledge is produced”, meaning the maintenance of sound personal ethics in everyday life. To be rude, selfish and unduly ambitious demeans any remaining progressive agenda in today’s universities.

https://thewinnower.com/papers/327-who-are-the-radical-academics-today

Please comment on the Winnower site.  Read by 2300 people in a  month!

Earlier blog version with comments: https://simonbatterbury.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/where-have-the-radical-scholars-gone/

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Filed under academic relevance, engaged scholarship, Open access publishing, tenure

Brompton vs. Birdy – the folding bike wars

Bickerton, 1970s – the handlebars collapsed

Raleigh RSW

Raleigh RSW – inefficient balloon tyres and weighed a ton

Folding bikes are icons of sustainable transportation, and of great personal interest to me. We grew up in the transport-deficient London suburbs, and a folding bike was very handy. My Dad had a couple of Raleigh RSW folders with small balloon tyres in the 1970s (see left) – they were too heavy, folded badly, and not really very workable. I snapped the front fork on a grey 3speed one. I  also had a purple Raleigh 18 as a teenager in the 1970s.  We also had a Bickerton, the extremely lightweight 1970s aluminium bike that tended to bend under stress, collapse, and even break under duress (left). I inherited that one, and broke it in the 1990s.

One of my Mk 1 Birdys, which lives in the UK

Birdy Mk 1 – one of mine

Since 1995 I have had an R&M Birdy (photo right, my one). I bought one of the very first Birdys, and now own a current model as well. The point of all of these bikes was to allow some degree of portability and thus more flexible use. In the rather small world of folding bike enthusiasts, there is a never-ending search for the ‘gold standard’ – a bike that weighs very little, rides comfortably and fast, and folds up nicely so you can store it easily in a building, on a bus, train or in a car.

Brompton from Wiki Commons

Brompton

Folders require more technological ingenuity than a ‘cumbersome’ but the big money in the cycling industry has never really supported them – folders tend to be the domain of a few eccentric shoestring designers, and also some larger companies based in China or Taiwan than have a mix of cheap and passable designs for the global market.There are some top-end models produced by these bigger companies, currently dominated by Dahon and Tern (my Dahon Jetstream SP, like the one on the left, is passable and currently ridden by my 11 year old).Dahon Jetstream But purchasers with money to spend on a good folder (currently, let’s say US$1300 or so minimum) have been, for two decades or more, attracted by R&M’s Birdy and the Brompton.

Andrew Richie

Andrew Richie with early folded Brompton

For supporters of these two machines, every other brand is a distraction. Both were designed by backyard budding engineers with scant resources.  Andrew Richie (photo, Wiki Commons) borrowed money from 10 friends to get his 1976 Brompton prototype into operation, but by 1982 had ceased production pending a further capital injection. Alex Moulton and Harry Bickerton were the other lone British bike inventors (the Bickerton was a particular influence on Richie, who thought he could do a better job). Moultons do not fold. The Birdy was built by 2 students in a garage in Germany in the early 1990s. In the last couple of years, Brompton seems to be winning decisively in the marketplace. I move between countries a fair bit, and I see far more Bromptons now in London and the UK (understandable since the bikes are made there), Australia, Belgium, France and even in the USA. A Birdy is a rare sighting although I will soon travel to Berlin, and I will be looking out for this German brand (sorry guys-more Bromptons there too). The success of the Brompton is due  in part to marketing and supply – after a rocky supply chain since the mid 2000s they have become very efficient in their London operation, while R&M, based in Germany, have made some effort to supply outlets in important western world markets, but with less success except Japan. Discussion of the changing market for folders can be found at AtoB magazine, who are currently (2015) running a series of articles comparing folders in different price bands. You would think that the quality of the bike itself would also determine consumer choice, not just the ease of purchase and the supply chain.  If anything, quality should be the main determinant of market success. But I am unconvinced this is really true, as is Dave Henshaw in AtoB whose articles include reliable bike testing.  I think Bromptons are rather like Apple products – they are good but they also encourage loyalty and lock-in. Like Apple, Bromptons have a lot of unique parts. And customers return, sometimes to trade in for a superior model after a few years. They rarely choose to swap to anything better, including a Birdy. I don’t know enough Birdy owners to say if the reverse is true, but it probably is.

birdy folding

Birdy folding

In my view the Birdy is a far superior machine, but it is overpriced in some countries and has lost the marketing battle with the Brompton. The debate on their relative merits has been hashed out online a fair bit, but here is my perspective. On quality of build, both bikes were not so great back in the 1990s when the back end and stem of a Birdy would get stress fractures in the aluminium, and so would Brompton handlebars (earlier in time). All this has been ironed out – current Birdies, particularly the MkIII  are built to last, and with standard headsets, derailleur gears and cranks, even disc brakes, that you can source almost anywhere. Brompton bits, however, are a bit more specialised since many are made in the factory and the firm does not like outsourcing more than necessary. In terms of gearsBirdys have far more, up to 10 speeds on the standard models and even a Rohloff option, and the standard derailleurs work well. Brompton relied on a narrow Sturmey Archer hub for its 3/5 speeds (5 speed gearchange not always good), then used SRam after SA went bust in 2000, now offering a mix of hub and 2 derailleur options, very inferior to the Birdy. Hub gears don’t get grime in them, but changing the back tyre is more tricky and a lot of fuss is made about getting gear ratios right on an odd 2 lever system. They also have 2 speed and single speed models, but nothing beats a proper gear range with the least friction. On suspension, always desirable on a bike with small wheels, the Birdy is the gold standard. The front suspension is no-dive and pretty unique; the back is similar to a Brompton. The Birdy wins hands down with its dual setup. No front suspension on a Brompton has predictable effects on rough roads. On speed, all my trials – and others except AtoB’s downhill rolling tests- suggest the Birdy is the clear winner. You can put slick tyres on both which make a huge difference with small wheels, but the Birdy is light and with its gear range it pulls away uphill. Weight is about equal between the two, say 10.5-12.5kg on average, and both have titanium options and so-on that most people cannot afford. The Brompton is made of steel, the Birdy aluminium.  On luggage, the Brompton is better – it has a special bag. You can adapt those to a Birdy or get panniers front or rear, but most will not bother and just use a rucksack. On folding up, the Brompton is better (smaller) although not necessarily quicker – I can fold both in the same number of seconds. On the Birdy you have to get the gears and pedal in the right places before starting, and the package is bigger (MkIIIs are smaller than before).

My summation is that if you want to go fast in a city or a rural environment, buy a Birdy. You can go for kms before you get tired and the engineering is fantastic, especially if you are tall. The handlebars adjust up and down on a Birdy – not on a Brompton. The disadvantage is the folded package size, the creaks you often get from the suspension, and needing to tighten things up if you are heavy like me.  I think the Birdy is undersold. It is not in enough shops. It could be that the company needs to innovate its supply chain and list of models, but it looks like they do release attractive new variants. A major supplier in the US, NYCEwheels, pulled out from stocking Birdys and nthenow promoted only its Bromptons. The change in language when this has happened in 2014 is interesting, and perhaps this is replicated elsewhere. Initially they promoted and sold both machines, and branded the Birdy as an excellent deluxe option (see the comparative review here).  Then it is all about the Brompton [until in 2016 the Birdy came back and the language changed!] A similar thing happened in Australia with St. Kilda cycles and also Cheeky Transport in Sydney, but now St.Kilda are also selling Birdys again. Velo Cycles in Melbourne say that if they stocked Birdys they would sell only 1-2 a year – but their 3 speed Bromptons are now up at AU$2000. For less than that you can get a 9 speed Birdy at St.Kilda Cycles across town- I have one of those -customers would better to try both.

The point being – if Birdys are not available in the same shops as the Bromptons, it is obvious which customers will buy. The most comprehensive review, of a budget Birdy model, is here – hardly inferior to a Brompton.

Anyway as I travel the world with Birdys, I have concluded I will stick with them. You can go fast and in comfort. Take-off speed is excellent. Speed is less important at my age, but effort and comfort, with those bigger wheels, full suspension and adjustable bars, does matter and Bromptons just do not have those things. I have in any event, after 40 years on folders, probably saved thousands of dollars in public transport fares, hundreds of hours in waiting and walking times, beaten transportation strikes and carriage restrictions on trains, trams and buses, and intrigued a few university students who see the Birdy propped up against the lectern every week. I am not one of those academics that drives to work to then lecture about sustainability.

New Birdy frame June 2015 http://en.r-m.de/news/riese-mueller-introduce-the-new-birdy/

Postscript Oct. 2015. Early in September I was hit by a large truck doing 50-60km/h when riding my Birdy in Melbourne. I was in hospital for almost three weeks. The Birdy was caught under the truck, I did somersaults along the road, but survived. No more bikes of any type for me for a while. Too many fractures. The whole story is here – it is remarkable. I think the Birdy has survived, the seatpost is bent, I have to take it to a specialist. 

May 2016 Back in action (bike, new seatpost and me)!

 From Pacific Cycles

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New synthesis on the field of political ecology

Batterbury, S.P.J. 2015. Doing political ecology inside and outside the academy. In Bryant, R. (ed.) International Handbook of Political Ecology. Edward Elgar. Pp. 27-43.

Abstract

The chapter presents a survey of political ecology (PE) scholarship in, and beyond, academic institutions. This interdisciplinary field makes a contribution to understanding environmental and social justice issues, that require explanations at multiple scales, often challenging powerful state and corporate actors. Radical and critical scholarship like PE survives because of sustained student demand, but in neoliberal universities battling financial shortfalls and sometimes a reluctance to invest in research areas that offer critique of powerful institutions and of injustice. Political ecologists have a substantial presence in North America and Europe, either as individual scholars or in small research clusters, but are found across the world and are networked virtually and through key events and collaborative ventures. Publishing outlets include at least three dedicated journals. The extent to which academic political ecology can, and should, make a contribution to engaged scholarship, stepping beyond the boundaries of academic investigation into the messy world of environmental politics is debated, but embraced by some academics, numerous NGOs, and civil society organizations. The future of the field is assured if environmental despoliation, denial of access to resources, and inequality continues; and if its hopes for better world are not extinguished by much more powerful actors in and outside the university system.

Partial summary

http://www.simonbatterbury.net/pubs/Batterbury%20Doing%20political%20ecology%20inside%20and%20outside%20the%20academy.pdf

On Google Books

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=X45HCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA14&lpg=PA14&dq=international+handbook+of+political+ecology&source=bl&ots=tlqf3rEUSQ&sig=FH4kQ-1uj8f1XLz39QVbn2VQ_As&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDYQ6AEwBGoVChMIlJiD5-KMyAIVhximCh30BQCn#v=onepage&q=batterbury&f=false

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New article on little-studied region of Grande Terre, New Caledonia

Kowasch M., S.P.J. Batterbury, M. Neumann. 2015. Contested sites, land claims and economic development in Poum, New Caledonia. Settler Colonial Studies 5(4): 302-316.

Abstract

Property relations are often ambiguous in postcolonial settings. Property is only considered as such if socially legitimate institutions sanction it. In indigenous communities, access to natural resources is frequently subject to conflict and negotiation in a ‘social arena’. Settler arrivals and new economic possibilities challenge these norms and extend the arena. The article analyses conflicts and negotiations in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia in the light of its unique settler history and economic activity, focussing on the little-studied remote northern district of Poum on the Caledonian main island Grande Terre. In this region, the descendants of British fishermen intermarried with the majority Kanak clans. We illustrate the interaction between customary conflicts, European settlement, struggles for independence and a desire for economic development. Customary claims are in tension with the attractions of economic growth and service delivery, which has been slow in coming to Poum for reasons largely outside the control of local people.

Draft on Researchgate

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281372191_Contested_sites_land_claims_and_economic_development_in_Poum_New_Caledonia

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New article on land tenure and community in East Timor

Batterbury S.P.J, L.R.Palmer, T.Reuter, D. do Amaral de Carvalho,  B. Kehi, A. Cullen. 2015. Land access and livelihoods in post-conflict Timor-Leste: no magic bullets. International Journal of the Commons. 9(2): 619-647.

http://www.thecommonsjournal.org/index.php/ijc/article/view/514  (free online)

Abstract

In Timor-Leste, customary institutions contribute to sustainable and equitable rural development and the establishment of improved access to and management of land, water and other natural resources. Drawing on multi-sited empirical research, we argue that the recognition and valorization of custom and common property management is a prerequisite for sustainable and equitable land tenure reform in Timor-Leste. In a four-community study of the relationship between land access and the practice of rural livelihoods in eastern and western districts of Timor-Leste, where customary management systems are dominant, we found different types of traditional dispute resolution, with deep roots in traditional forms of land management and with varying levels of conflict. The article shows how customary land tenure systems have already managed to create viable moral economies. Interviewees expressed a desire for the government to formalize its recognition and support for customary systems and to provide them with basic livelihood support and services. This was more important than instituting private landholding or state appropriation of community lands, which is perceived to be the focus of national draft land laws and an internationally supported project. We suggest ways in which diverse customary institutions can co-exist and work with state institutions to build collective political legitimacy in the rural hinterlands, within the context of upgrading the quality of rural life, promoting social and ecological harmony, and conflict management.

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