Category Archives: academic relevance

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

last update: 12/2/2017

“…….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  (Cahill and Irving 2015). 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 and its useful impact factor derivative Citescore (released Dec 2016), 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 Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics University of Kassel, Germany . includes articles on ‘ rural economy and farm management, forestry and forest economy,’ 8000 words max. Free. Scopus Y (citescore 2015, 0.59). http://www.jarts.info/index.php/jarts/index
  • 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 Development, Environment and People. Hosted in Romania by the ACEU (Alliance of Central and Eastern Universities). E100 APC fee unless an ACEU member. Unindexed. The site and the grammar could use improvement. Papers “up to 20 pages”. http://ojs.spiruharet.ro/index.php/jedep/index
  • 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 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 (Citescore 2016: 1.65), Emerging Sources Citation Index Y, Free. Everything is done by academics, and published throughat U. of Arizona library.  I edit this one and it is a labour of love and hours. http://jpe.library.arizona.edu
  • Journal of Water and Land Development  Polish Academy of Sciences and Institute of Technology and Life Sciences, Falenty. Scopus Yes (Citescore 2016: 0.3). Rivers/water agriculture etc. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jwld
  • 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, about 4000 words, 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 (Citescore 2016: 0.28) 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 (Citescore 2016: 2.37) 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. Scopus Y.  Polish Academy of Sciences, but published by De Gruyter. Seems to be free. Could evolve, but very few citations (Citescore 2016:0).  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 (Citescore 2016: 0.92) 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 (Citescore 2016: 0.62), 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 (Citescore 2016: 1.81). 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.
  • Transitional Waters Bulletin.  Mainly hydrology of coasts, estuaries etc.but some impact studies. University of Salento, Italy. Scopus Y (Citescore 2016 0.28). http://siba-ese.unisalento.it/index.php/twb/index
  • The Trumpeter – Journal of Ecosophy.  un-indexed. http://trumpeter.athabascau.ca/index.php/trumpet/index
  • VertigO Pour les francophones seulement. Recherches et d’analyses scientifiques sur les grands problèmes environnementaux contemporains. Non indexed. VertigO
  • Water Alternatives International board and team.   Scopus Yes (Citescore 2016: 2.35), WoS No, Emerging Sources Citation Index Y. Articles up to 12,000 words. Appears to be free to publish. http://www.water-alternatives.org/

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

  • ACME: the International E-journal for Critical Geographies.   Web of Sci no, Scopus yes, at least for 2015 (they refuse all rankings officially, but are highly cited anyway). (Citescore 2016: 0.98) Free. Canadian university based, run by an academic collective.http://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme
  • Acta Geographica Croatica Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. Some in English.  Unindexed (?) http://hrcak.srce.hr/acta-geographica-croatica
  • Applied GIS   Developed by a colleague at Melbourne. “applied remote sensing” and “applied social science.” Scopus Yes. http://appliedgis.net/
  • Articulo – Journal of Urban Studies Now English only (used to be French as well)  and based at U of Southern Denmark. A nonprofit association registered in France. Free, Scopus yes, WoS No.
  • Ateliê Geográfico Journal. Brazilian, produced by IESA. Unindexed. Tab ‘english’ on RHS. http://www.revistas.ufg.br/atelie/index
  • AUC Geographica ( Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Geographica). Karolinum Press, University Press, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.  Scopus Yes, WoS No. Free. Looks ok and internationalised. http://www.aucgeographica.cz/index.php/AUC_Geographica
  • Belgeo. Belgian Journal of Geography. The Belgian geography journal with national Geog Society support. English, Dutch, French and German.   Web of Sci no, Scopus yes ( but citescore 2016,0.0!), Free https://belgeo.revues.org/?lang=en
  • Boletín de la Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles A national association journal of the Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles in Spain. English and Spanish, with a bias towards Spanish topics. H Index 28 which is pretty high. Free, website could use work. Web of Science Yes (2015: 0.35), Scopus Yes. http://boletin.age-geografia.es
  • Bulletin of Geography. Socio-economic Series. Polish journal, Nicolaus Copernicus University. International, published by deGruyter Open. Scopus Yes, WoS No, Emerging Sources Citation Index  yeshttp://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bog
  •  Bulletin of Geography. Physical Geography Series which is not indexed. Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland.  https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bgeo
  • Cinq Continents: Revue Roumaine de Géographie Geography journal. No indexing. French, English, Romanian http://cinqcontinents.geo.unibuc.ro/index.html
  • Croatian Geographical Bulletin/ Hrvatski geografski glasnik  Croatian Geographical Society . In Scopus. http://hrcak.srce.hr/hrvatski-geografski-glasnik
  • Cybergeo – France. General geography, some English articles. Scopus Yes, Web of Science no. Free. Getting a volume number on screen is difficult. http://cybergeo.revues.org/ .
  • Cuadernos GeográficosSince 1971,  University of Granada (Spain). Quite a lot of English papers.Scopus Y    http://revistaseug.ugr.es/index.php/cuadgeo/index
  • Cuadernos de Geografía from Colombia, also OA, but mainly in Spanish.  http://www.revistas.unal.edu.co/index.php/rcg
  • Cuadernos de Investigación Geográfica. Universidad de La Rioja, Spain. In Scopus and the new  Emerging Sources Citation Index (comes below WoS). Mostly in English, and mostly physical geography, but not exclusively – let’s get more humans in!   https://publicaciones.unirioja.es/ojs/index.php/cig/index
  • Die Erde  Berlin Geog Soc. journal.  Decent. Page charges are € 12.50. Scopus Yes. http://www.die-erde.org/index.php
  • Documents d’Anàlisi Geogràfica Departaments of Geografia de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona i de la Universitat de Girona, Spain. Publishes free in Catalan, English, Spanish. In Scopus and the new  Emerging Sources Citation Index (comes below WoS). http://dag.revista.uab.es/index
  • EchoGéo  French and English. Produced from the Sorbonne in Paris. Environment and development theme in English and French. Good Board. Web of Sci no, Scopus no, Free. https://echogeo.revues.org/?lang=en  
  • L’espace politique. Geopolitics, political geography. Bilingual. No indexing.  https://espacepolitique.revues.org
  • Estudios Geográficos Institute Juan Sebastián Elcano (CSIC), Spain. Nearly all articles are in Spanish but there are instructions in English. Free. In Scopus and the new  Emerging Sources Citation Index (comes below WoS). http://estudiosgeograficos.revistas.csic.es
  • European Journal of Geography Edited from Greece for the European Association of Geographers. Only takes articles up to 5,000 words (a bit short). Scopus Yes (citescore 0.28, 2016). http://www.eurogeographyjournal.eu/
  • European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (ERLACS) Geographers involved, edited from CEDLA Amsterdam since 1965.  Appears to be free.   Max 8,000 words. Bilingual.  Scopus yes. http://www.erlacs.org/ 
  • European Journal of Spatial Development.  Nordregio, Sweden  and  Delft University of Technology. Free, Scopus Y (Citescore 2016: 1, which is good) , WoS No. http://www.nordregio.se/European-Journal-of-Spatial-Development
  • European Spatial Research and Policy. Edited from University of Lodz, Poland, published by de Gruyter. Free/open. 5000 words limit. Scopus Yes (Citescore 2016, 0.3), WoS no. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/esrp
  • Fennia – International Journal of Geography.  Finnish national Journal with official support. New editor from 2016 & a good choice for international papers. Reuters Emerging Sources Citation Index,  and in Scopus (Citescore 2016: 0.62). Free. http://ojs.tsv.fi/index.php/fennia.
  • Finisterra – Revista Portuguesa de Geografia (Portugese, English, Français, Spanish, Italian).  Started in 1996, Universidade de Lisboa. A free journal wanting to internationalise.  Scopus Y (Citescore 0.04, 2016).  Site seems to be sorted out now. http://www.ceg.ul.pt/finisterra
  • Forum Geografic Romanian universities run this. Website is advanced with DOIs and citation management, but it seems impossible to get a list of issues except for the current one,  and there is no ‘about the journal’ page. Free to read and submit. Unindexed.  http://forumgeografic.ro/
  • Geodetski Vestnik  Slovenian official surveying journal. Web of Science Yes  (2015: 0.25) http://www.geodetski-vestnik.com/en/
  • Geografia-Malaysian Journal of Society and Space  Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Much local material, not indexed. Free. Bilingual. http://www.ukm.my/geografia/v1/?cont=d&item=1&ver=loc
  • Geografie (published by the Czech Geographic Society  since 1895). All  peer-reviewed and free. Takes longish papers in English and Czech.  Six month lag on pdfs published (under ‘WoS’ tab, made difficult since files are only numbered). Web of Science y  (2015: 0.4) http://geography.cz/sbornik/
  • Geographia Polonica. Produced by Polish Academy of Sciences, Geography Divn.  History. Not bad, and free to publish.  There are printed copies but PDFs are online. Scopus Yes.  https://www.geographiapolonica.pl/
  • Geographica Helvetica. Swiss national geography journal with official support Web of Sci no, Scopus no, Free. The lack of indexing is surprising. http://www.geographica-helvetica.net/index.html
  • GeoFocus. Revista Internacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de la Información Geográfica. Spanish (mainly), Portuguese and English occasionally. A GIS journal. In Scopus and the new  Emerging Sources Citation Index (comes below WoS). http://www.geofocus.org/index.php/geofocus/index
  • GeoScape Jan Evangelista Purkyne University , Czech Republic, published by de Gruyter. Unindexed. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/geosc
  • Geoverse Undergraduate journal of Geography, run from Oxford Brookes University. Free and un-indexed.  http://geoverse.brookes.ac.uk/
  • Ghana Journal of Geography University of Ghana, Legon. Unindexed.  http://www.ajol.info/index.php/gjg/index
  • Goiano Bulletin of Geography. IESA, Universida de Federal de Goiás. Useful because free, and many recent papers appear in Portuguese and English, or even Spanish  Hit ‘english’ on the RHS. Unindexed but recognised as A2 in Brazil.  http://www.revistas.ufg.br/bgg
  • Human Geographies – Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography University of Bucharest. Free, since 2007. Decent papers. Scopus Yes.  http://www.humangeographies.org.ro 
  • GeoJournal of Tourism and Geosites. Published by Romanian and Polish universities. Free online. Scopus Yes. http://gtg.webhost.uoradea.ro/index.html
  • Historical Geography University of New Mexico. Actually, you need a subscription to view the current issue. However free to publish and read thereafter. Scopus Yes.  https://ejournals.unm.edu/index.php/historicalgeography/index
  • International Journal of Geospatial and Environmental Research University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Quite active. Unindexed. http://dc.uwm.edu/ijger/
  • Italian Journal of Planning Practice New, issue 1 is 2014. Free, not indexed.  http://ijpp.uniroma1.it/index.php/it/index
  • Journal of Alpine Research / Revue de géographie alpine. Institut de géographie alpine, since 1913. A social science journal. Two languages, one of which must be French, Italian, German or Spanish, the other being in English (you are supposed to do your own translation, this may be a constraint). Institut de Géographie Alpine, Grenoble. Web of Science Y, Scopus Y. Free but no CCBY copyright transfer. https://rga.revues.org/?lang=en
  • Journal of Environmental  Geography University of Szeged, Hungary, published by deGruyter. Free to submit and read. Unindexed. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jengeo
  • Journal of Spatial Information Science (JOSIS) Archived at University of Maine, but international and with a good site, as you would expect given the fields of the editors. Scopus yes, WoS N. http://www.josis.org/index.php/josis
  • Journal for Geography  / Revija za geografijo  University of Mariboru, Slovenia. Not indexed. English/Slovenian. Lacks a dedicated web – best I can find is this  http://www.ff.um.si/dotCMS/listProducts?categoryInode=15123.  
  • Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis (the Jura Review). Published at U. of Bucharest and an editor at U. Glasgow. Pretty international. Scopus Yes. http://www.jurareview.ro/index.htm. 
  • Literary Geographies  Edited by Sheila Hones et al. around the world. Unindexed and free I think.  http://www.literarygeographies.net/
  • Métropoles Good urban geography journal, bilingual. no indexing. free.  http://metropoles.revues.org/
  • Miscellanea Geographica: Regional Studies on Development. A Polish journal just becoming more international. Free to publish. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mgrsd 
  • Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft (Communications of the Austrian Geographical Society) Actually this one is NOT fully online for all readers, you have to have a subscription. I put it here since I am hoping they will change their mind, since it is a society published, English and German, Web of Science listed (2015, 0.14) geography journal – so all too rare. http://www.moegg.ac.at
  • Moravian Geographical Reports Now published by DeGruyter for a Czech Republic Institute.  Editor is at York U., Canada though. In both Scopus and Web of Science (impact 2015, 1.1). Some regional focus on Eastern Europe. Free, and PDFs here  http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/mgr  
  • Pacific Geographies Small German online journal. WoS N, Scopus N. Free and generally does themed issues on Pacific topics. http://www.pacific-geographies.org/
  • People Place and Policy. Sheffield Hallam University. ‘no rigid house style’ – hurrah! Free. unindexed. http://extra.shu.ac.uk/ppp-online/
  • plaNext.  Published by AESOP’s (planning) Young Academics Network in Europe. free. New website is coming. A better name needed? http://www.aesop-youngacademics.net/en/planext
  • Politics of Place “…is a peer-reviewed journal for postgraduates. …. the relationship between culture and spatiality in works of literature, engaging particularly with issues of nationhood, community, class, marginality, and the self”. Not indexed. University of Exeter. Free.  http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/politicsofplace
  • Revista Movimentos Sociais e Dinâmicas Espaciais (Social Movements and Spatial Dynamics). Social Movements and Urban Space Research Group, Brazil (MSEU/UFPE). (5 languages, Portuguese origin). Not indexed.
  • Revista de Geografia Norte Grande (Chilean, seems to be in Spanish only, poor website) Web of Sciencehttp://revistanortegrande.cl/
  • Review of International Geographical Education Online unindexed. International contributors, free, editor is at Eskisehir Osmangazi University,Turkey.  http://www.rigeo.org/  
  • Revista latinoamericana de estudios urbano regionales (EURE) Produced by stalwarts at Universidad Católica de Chile. Mostly Latin American, and  in Spanish but some English papers. Think about it, because in both Scopus and Web of Science (2015: 0.3) and free!  http://eure.cl/index.php/eure/about
  • Spatial Justice / Justice Spatiale Bilingual and each is translated. (They refuse indexing).  http://www.jssj.org/
  • Spatium. Institute of Architecture and Urban and Spatial Planning, Serbia. free, 5000 words max, design/architecture focus. Scopus Y.  http://www.iaus.ac.rs/code/navigate.aspx?Id=220
  • lo Squaderno: explorations in space and societyUniversity of Trento, Italy. Free to read and publish. Based around special issues with some good authors. Short papers.  http://www.losquaderno.professionaldreamers.net/?page_id=2
  • Viaggiatori intends to open an international and interdisciplinary window for debate on the topic of travel in all its forms. Free, first issue 2017. Website lacks some details (article length?) http://www.viaggiatorijournal.com/
  • Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie (the German Journal of Economic Geography) Now published by de Gruyter. As far as I can see, still free to publish and to read in German or English, at least recent issues. Accepts c.7,000-8,000 words, Scopus and Web of Science listed (2015: 0.6) . https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/zfw

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.

Refs

R. Cahill and T. H. Irving 2015 ‘Radical Academia: Beyond the Audit Culture Treadmill‘  Radical Sydney/Radical History blog

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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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Higher Education’s Silent Killer

Marc Spooner. 2015. Higher Education’s Silent Killer. Briarpatch Magazine. 1 Sept. 

http://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/higher-educations-silent-killer

“The audit culture distorts scholars’ work by tabulating academic worth through the simplest algorithm: one that considers, for the most part, only peer-reviewed publication, journal impact rankings, and the size of research grants. Whole realms of endeavour are devalued or left out of the equation altogether, including activities such as “slow” research, alternative forms of scholarship and dissemination, devotion to teaching, or actually acting on one’s research findings – all vital aspects of the academic enterprise”enterprise. “

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Academics anonymous, and Fred Inglis, open letter to university leaders

In the spirit of this,

Fred Inglis “Today’s intellectuals: too obedient?” Times Higher, 28 Aug 2014

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/features/todays-intellectuals-too-obedient/2015328.fullarticle

somebody also wrote this.

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2014/aug/08/academics-anonymous-open-letter-university-leaders

These days I do ask a lot of questions before acting. But ‘restructuring’ of universities is one of a couple of issues that never ceases to amaze me. Whole groups of friends, Departments, teaching, professional staff, all decimated to raise prestige, save costs, or pursue a top-down vision.  The current situation in Australia is catching up with the UK’s  very fast. This is not good:-

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2014/aug/30/australian-higher-education-reforms-no-launghing-matter

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Return to the University of Reading after 29 years

I  graduated with a degree in Human and Physical Geography from the University of Reading in 1985, which is 29 years ago. This UK summer I returned to the campus for my first proper visit, to attend the Norma Wilkinson Memorial Lecture. I have forgotten who Norma Wilkinson was, but lots of well known geographers have given the lecture over the years, including David Harvey.

Returning was a strange experience. I attended the University in 1982 after having got an “E” (the lowest pass) for geography in my British school A-levels in 1981, and therefore working in a factory during a gap year. I retook  the A-level at a crammer college in London with much greater success. Without that effort and expense  I could not have gone to Reading and not become an academic later on.

The first year at uni was miserable, but the second and third were great, and I learned enough to set me up for life – initially in urban consultancy in London at PMA, and then a PhD program in the USA. You can read one of my undergrad student essays here – a rather un-radical but empiricist account of contributions to public policy written in 1984. For the geographers among the readership, I was taught by John Short, Andrew Kirby, John Townshend, Andy Millington, Sir Peter Hall who died just a week ago, Mike Breheny, John Soussan, Paul Longley,  Sophie Bowlby, John Silk and several others. There were fieldtrips to Tunisia, the Netherlands, Dorset, and various freezing and waterlogged quarries and ‘exposures’ of sediments around south east UK. If this cast of characters was submitted to the UK’s contemporary infernal ‘research ranking exercises’   today (The RQF), I am sure the Department  would come out very well. Hall seemed to produce a major work almost every year, Mike Breheny too. John Short has continued to do so.  The physical geographers were excellent and most moved to top positions elsewhere. At the time, Cambridge was dominant as a geography Department in the UK  but it focussed on cultural and historical work and the various lecturers, whose work we absorbed in our own seminars, were too scholarly for my interests at the time.  Oxford was still teaching old-school regional geography – the Department was later reinvigorated considerably. Reading’s work was more contemporary than these, akin to Leeds or Bristol – understanding contemporary change in the white heat of S.E. UK’s technologically driven industrial change (Reading was situated in the middle of it) and there was a good deal of applied work on sustainability issues and international development.

As students, we went to the Library (yes the physical library show right – it is still there) and I became expert at pulling references and ideas together for essays and reports, and ‘surveying a field’ of study and what is going on within it. Useful skills, 30 yrs later, and reflected in the fact that I still work on many things at once.  I attended all the lectures over the three years, bar about two. I did all the readings. I felt part of the Department, even as an undergrad. I got a first class degree, much to my surprise. I was one of three from that cohort to go onto a PhD.

Return to place is always bittersweet. I vary rarely go down memory lane – it is cluttered and bypassed. On campus, I discovered the basic layout of the place unchanged. Some rather objectionable 60s-80s buildings are still there (like this, the

Lego building) I went to the old Geography building I remember well, but it was deserted – Geography has just moved out to relocate elsewhere on campus (I think the Geog building opened in 1983 next to Geology, because in my first year we still had some portacabins). There are more shops and cafés on campus (we did not have much in the 1980s except a Student Union with a beer-stained carpet and a shop) and it seems there are plans for more construction. The Norma Wilkinson lecture was held in the old Geology building (Geology was a Department that was later axed at some stage), in which I had to take lectures on regional science back in 1983. Little had changed in the theatre – it still had an overhead projector and whiteboard, and uncomfortable seats. I reflected that my own university in Australia is far better endowed, with some excellent teaching facilities, for which we are grateful. It is also much larger and has high fees, of course.

None of my former lecturers are currently on the permanent staff.  The Professoriate in the Department today were promoted far younger than the people I remember there from the 1980s, except Peter Hall (who was a Professor at 37!) –– and I am sure they are doing a good job and probably re-inventing whatever ‘traditions’ the Department had from previous decades – if these are even acknowledged. I wish them well. They do make me feel old, though.

My overwhelming sense is of misplaced memories. As an undergrad, the campus seems large, super-modern, and situated at the centre of things in SE England. We really thought we were in some sort of ‘core’ location. Today the university feels smaller to me and less central, and the town centre, which was never very nice, has grown in its density and capital investment. Certainly the university has had to cut back – closing Schools, Departments and even campuses over the years (all phrased positively as ‘consolidation’, of course). The town now has many more commercial office developments and high street shopping, and the railway station on the main line to the West Country and London has  grown massively in size. The town still feels like an unfinished project – still some building sites and empty offices. But it has changed in other ways – I noticed a Bike Kitchen, a voluntary sector phenomenon I have been studying elsewhere, and a ‘Global Cafe & Bar‘ linked to a  social solidarity centre – countercultural elements we did not have in the 1980s at all. The hastily built housing estate where we rented a place in in Lower Earley seems to have  survived (Woodmere Close, where a group of us had a variety of decrepit vehicles, upsetting the upwardly mobile neighbours – I even started building a Dutton kit car in the garage).

What I took from Reading, I suppose,  was a combined interest in assisting equitable transitions in the world (this entered the field of applied geography we were taught in those days, but not all we learned in the 1980s was actually progressive) and international environmental and development in Africa. Lectures were detailed and well prepared. I’m grateful for what I learned, and I actually saw through the sentiments gained through study in my own projects later on. Life may have been very different without having gone there. Having parked my bike on memory lane for an afternoon in July, it is now time to head back to the present.

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Who are the radical academics today?

Bill Bunge's Detroit Expedition map 1968 - radical cartography that had a big impact (please cite it if you use this essay) We can usefully redefine what radical scholarship is in the contemporary period where universities are financially challenged, and changing their roles considerably. It is possible to hold to radical ideas of social and environmental justice as a scholar and academic, and to thrive within the university environment? Perhaps in the 1950s and 1960s, hard. The author of the map above, Bill Bunge, was such an example. Today, yes. But now there are multiple aspects of  being ‘radical’. These include vision and personal politics, adapting to a changing audience, to different media in the internet age, and working in a rapidly changing political economy.  I concentrate on three aspects particularly pertinent to scholarship. The third of these is relatively new in such debates. I think we need to break down ‘radicalism’ in the university context into three areas.

The first is  externally focussed research to promote and support justice. The ‘external’ mission (i.e. dealing with issues outside one’s immediate academic demands and  surroundings)  for a radical scholar, has evolved  since the 1960s. The period has seen the decline of state socialism and the rise of neoliberal regimes that seek the maximization of utility, rather than equality. The work of radical scholars, opposed to free market capitalism,  has anchors in several traditions of thought, particularly political economy. But in practice it includes supporting the vulnerable, environmental causes, justice in many forms, attacking corrupt regimes and institutions, and exposing hypocrisy particularly in capitalist regimes.

The  reaction to  the McCarthyism in the US in the early 1950s (the second Red Scare with accusations of communism in US life), the civil rights movement, anti-War protests, and the other liberative social movements of the 1960s aided the introduction and acceptance  of radical ideas towards the end of the decade. These included  Marxism and feminism, that have worked their way into the universities where they have stayed and enriched them (Casenave 1988). This tradition is ongoing, strong, and while perhaps too  concentrated in producing academic outputs (ideas in books, journals etc.) rather than in creating “spaces of hope” and better policy in society itself, it still has a great  importance. A generation of radical scholars have practiced what Paul Robbins calls “wielding the hatchet” – exposing the darker secrets of colonialism, capitalism, greed and inequality. As Alastair Bonnett (2011)  says, since the last 1960s “radicalism has survived by becoming institutionalised. This has allowed academic radicalism to become culturally self-sufficient, with little need to seek popular approval.” One thinks of scholars like Noam Chomsky, Don Mitchell, Henry Giroux and David Harvey, the latter still an unrepentant Marxist and yet the most highly cited human geographer.  The strength of their messages about the arms race, the hypocrisy of western governments, capitalism and environmental violence is combined with erudite scholarship. Giroux and Harvey have – sometimes against criticism – offered visions of how the world could be, not just how it shouldn’t be. These messages and arguments, and the people who produce them, only endanger their careers if they hit too close to home –  attacking potential university funders, which can include industry and government. Otherwise, these and hundreds of other radical scholars tend to  pursue successful academic careers.

Alistair Bonnet again (2011) : “Institutionalisation does not mean evisceration. But it does have consequences. One of these is having to dance to the tune of an increasingly managerial academic culture.”  In my own discipline (geography) this is most certainly the case. Radical geographers publish, obtain research grants (this is the dancing part!), and proceed up the academic hierarchies quite nicely. Many get serious accolades. Those mentioned above, and others like them, rarely had their careers blocked because of their beliefs or actions, and neither did they divert away for long periods into activism. This is because as Don Mitchell says, the academic metier is generally limited in its practical engagement, unless you choose to interpret it in radical ways as a few, like Jean Dreze have done (Mitchell 2008).

* The second dimension is about increased relevance and engagement(Stoddart 1975). Michael  Burawoy, the Berkeley sociologist, theorised that sociology can no longer restrict itself to the academic realm. He begins by noting “The dialectic of progress governs our individual careers as well as our collective discipline. The original passion for social justice, economic equality, human rights, sustainable environment, political freedom or simply a better world, that drew so many of us to sociology, is channeled into the pursuit of academic credentials.” (Burawoy 2004: 5). The same could be said of many disciplines.   “Public Sociology endeavors to bring sociology into dialogue with audiences beyond the academy, an open dialogue in which both sides deepen their understanding of public issues. Working with the public rather than studying them, liberates the academic discipline and provides new and progressive avenues for change. He includes students as partof the public constituency. ” Somewhat predictably, in the university “…advocacy of public sociology has generated much heat in many a cool place”. Indeed it has (Watts 2001 and Clive Barnett’s comments on ‘British critical geography’ 2013).

The debate about relevance and application of scholarly ideas is something I treat in a forthcoming book, but the gist of the argument is that, following Burawoy, it is perfectly possible to pursue classical scholarly work (“professional” in Burawoy’s terms) while doing much more – working with constituencies outside the university completely, designing initiatives together, and committing to practical rather than only to in-theory concepts of justice. This does not demean the academic profession, and indeed outside certain rather goal-oriented Departments, this can and does occur across the social sciences. But if engaged and public work does not result in referred outputs and lucrative grants, it again troubles the neoliberal university model where we use metrics to judge the faulty based  on research output. As Dick Peet said (AAG, 2013), frankly  a lack of research output can put a radical scholar in trouble with the university and emperil jobs. But a focus on engagement is quite radical in its own way, and its practitioners do not have to be formenting revolution to be deemed ‘radical’ .  This point is debated  (Castree 2000).

The third dimension of radicalism today is one that scholars are far less anxious to talk about. It is about ” the ethics by which and toward which knowledge is produced” (Michael Coughlear, EAnth listserv,  February 25, 2013). Scholars are nested within departments,within universities. Their practices in this space  can be radical, politically conservative, helpful to others, or selfish.  We are no longer in the situation where radical scholars feel constantly hounded, oppressed, marginalised, and attacked in the university (at least not in western countries, in those with relatively liberal employment regulations). We need to redefine what radical scholarship is in this context. A radical scholar is a term that now includes something more than a certain type of scholarship, I think.  It is also about  rejecting conformity with the  behavioral norms that neoliberal, cash-strapped universities have forced upon us. It is about solidarity with those in the university sector that are oppressed – e.g. low wage, those threatened with dismissal, and the thousands scraping a living on adjunct status. But it is more than that – it is also about doing what the neoliberal search for cash tends to marginalize – teaching, helping others, niceness/goodness, and selflessness (Cahn 2010, Martin 2011). I almost  never see these latter behaviours linked to radical scholarship – commentators on this blog (below) think this comes from a different tradition.

On this latter point, I find some of my colleagues in the higher education sector (at research institutions) are so driven by publication and research (some of it radical, of course) that the other things that are required in our contracts – teaching and service, including reviewing the work of others, supporting younger scholars, etc., working in the community  – are avoided or certainly marginalised. This, of course,  leaves much of that work to other people prepared to step up (usually those with the shorter cvs and the nicer and more helpful dispositions), or to adjuncts. Every time a teaching/research faculty member gets a higher research percentage in their contract,  or refuses to do something that they are best placed to do, others have to cover the work (permanent people in some cases, poorer paid adjuncts in others). So, while teaching brings in far more money that research in almost all cases in the social sciences (despite being less prioritised or ‘prestigious’) and doing it is for the greater good and for that of the students, it sits in the second tier of responsibilities among many radical scholars.  This is not universally true, but my experience since 1995 has been in research universities, where it almost always is.

Teaching is one forum capable of imparting some radical and challenging ideas – e.g. a forensic analysis of corporate behaviour or the capitalist state. But ‘writing time’ is what faculty always  complain is lacking, not teaching time. In addition, writing academic tracts that are narrowly read and often inaccessible behind paywalls  is part of the old publishing order that will hold back debate and marginalizes the social sciences (I develop this here – academic publishing decisions also have a social conscience).

‘Service’ is a North American term that encompasses  the glue that holds universities together. Some of this is best done by academics – from sitting on committees to recruiting students.  It also includes  refereeing  the work of others to enable publication, and generally assisting students and fellow faculty (despite these things being less prioritised for individual advancement). Avoiding these things is not comradely, but depends on your stage of career. The new managerial class in universities – those who are not coming through the academic ranks – are often annoying to radical scholars. But in order to require less of those people, the radicals actually have to do a fair bit of that work themselves. You will actually see some radicals in top university positions, and this is a good thing. ” Being oriented to helping is a counter to the usual self-interested preoccupation  with workloads, status and personal advancement, and is likely to contribute to a greater sense of satisfaction” (Martin 2011: 54).

The problem, to sum up this third point,  is that many full time research/teaching  academics like me are hired to do a multi-task job, but spent a lot of time preferring to escape from certain tasks to focus more on others (usually research – evidence of 20 years of conversations and observing). They are also set within a system that generally facilitates this, while actually asking for teaching as well, for financial and symbolic gain for the university, causing junior people to work very long hours on both. So a radical scholar that is good at both can go very far. The question raised above is whether they have to push anybody out of the way to do this. Focusing on personal advancement in the university sector is not actually radical or helpful when it has negative effects on others. Inger Mewburn from ANU on her blog writes about the problem of academic “assholes”. These are the selfish people. You know who they are…..it is all about personal status maximization for these guys, and  “Some ambitious sorts work to cut out others, whom they see as competitors, from opportunity” she says. Since the neoliberal research university prioritizes research performance and grant income, above all else (followed by teaching) and if that is what you do, some find it tempting to act in a  cut-throat and non-collegial way to protect their research area or their time. And in most circumstances you get away with this, especially if your research  fame is established – basically you will not get fired to being rude and unpleasant. Especially if protected by tenure. Some people in university cultures are just guilt free and unpleasant in this way, as an article in the THES 2013 says.

There are other options too – think of  Ted Trainer in Australia as well as Jean Dreze in India, both of whom keep one foot in the university sector while pursuing radical and exemplary lives outside of it (see forthcoming book when out). As Ben Wisner pointed out to me (6/4/13), the  argument needs to recognise life stages – early career scholars have to scramble to an extent, while a middle career stage, perhaps with family, may necessarily involve less activism and more do-able research and teaching tasks. The need to do everything drops away at retirement.

Conclusion Academic radicalism is now situated in an altered social context from the period of its formation. In the context of the mainstream neoliberal university today, assisting others in and outside  the sector and doing your share, is actually progressive, even radical. While research and writing  is a vital part of what we do, and provides the evidence to support social change, it does not make you a progressive or radical scholar to behave unpleasantly while carving out the time and space to do it. If this hurts others, or leads you to ignore them or any sense of obligation to them. This  is the case even if your substantive research is ‘radical’ or progressive  in its content. If you are rude and selfish, drop the radical label. You don’t deserve it.

I have begun to think about where ‘radical and critical’ geography sits in all of this. Among people with secure teaching and research jobs, I actually think we should redefine it to include dimension two and three (radical internal) rather than just dimension one (radical external).  So I think doing your teaching and service commitments while fully employed, and engaging more widely as well is actually radical, in a neoliberal university. But there are very few examples. You can do ‘radical’ research as part of your job for sure, but the other side of this is retaining commitment in the workplace while you are actually doing that work. If personal radical research projects went slower because of  the publically engaged nature of scholarship or a lack of ‘writing/research time’,  I think this would illustrate a greater commitment to social justice. To change the status quo, which discourages people from being nice and radical at the same time, we need better leadership and new norms. We need institutional recognition that working hard on other things is equally as valid as research and revenue-raising. This means redefining  the  criteria for academic promotion, for those who are in such positions (many are not).  Although I am not a great supporter of the tenure system in North America, because it is exclusionary, a fourth criteria  could be added to tenure criteria – some measure of  goodness or collegiality (the current three are research, teaching and service).   This is not unproblematic  (watch candidates for promotion, who have been told to do more service or to help others, suddenly step up, then drop off again once promoted!).**

This does not exhaust the discussion.  There is much more to say about radical teaching initiatives  for example (one of which I ran for 3.5 years) and ‘occupy’ campaigns. A fuller  assessment the role of the radical academic in mainstream western society  is not offered here. I am happy to debate this ‘new radicalism’ idea or take any suggestions. In the meantime, avoid the assholes, radical or not (and they usually are not) if you can! * Dick Peet suggested to me (AAG meetings, 2013) that when Dick Walker finally achieved tenure at Berkeley in 1982 was a moment at which time radical geography entered ‘the US academy’, if not  the mainstream, in a more obvious way. He is right – Walker himself said “Leftists had never gotten tenure at Berkeley before my peer group, the 1968ers, came along. Michael Burawoy, Michael Reich, Ann Markusen and I were all up at the same time and we were the first to break that barrier” (Walker 2012).  But the shift from ‘outsider’ to ‘insider’ was for many people not so obvious  – I wonder if it was simply a transition aided by civil rights, the Vietnam war, and other global movements in which more radical positions moved more to the centre. (this was stressed by several people at the AAG meetings). **Note this very suggestion came up in a June 2013 report by US academics.

“To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing” 

   -Raymond Williams (1921-1988)

** Outside the constraints of the 6 year-to-tenure model in America there is more freedom to redefine these criteria for advancement and to embed these as a process, not as a hurdle. We actually have a weak version of this at my own university, where there are multiple criteria of performance assessed annually including ‘engagement’, and a workload model in place.

References

Alastair Bonnett. 2011. Are radical journals selling out? THES 3 November 2011
Michael Burawoy 2004  For public sociology. Address to the American Sociological Association (August 15, 2004)  AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW, 2005, VOL. 70

Castree N, 2000. Professionalisation, activism, and the university: whither ‘critical geography’? Environment and Planning A 32(6) 955 – 970.

Cazenave, Noël A..1988.From a committed achiever to a radical social scientist: The life course dialectics of a “Marginal” black american sociologist.The American Sociologist19, 4, pp 347-354

Martin B. 2011. On being a happy academicAustralian Universities’ Review, 53,  1, pp. 50-56

Mitchell D. 2008. Confessions of a Desk-Bound Radical. Antipode 40 (2008), 448-454.

Cahn SM. 2010. Saints and Scamps: Ethics in Academia. new edition. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Stoddart, D.  1975. Kropotkin, Reclus and ‘Relevant’ Geography. Area: 188-190.

Walker, R. 2012. From the Age of Dino-Sauers to the Anthropo-Scene: Reminiscences of life in Berkeley Geography, 1975-2012. Retirement talk, Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley, April 25, 2012

Watts, M.J.  “1968 and all that…” Progress in Human Geography 25: 157-188.

(book mark – read this http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2011/jun/15/univeristies-radical-academics-jobs-training and this http://theoccupiedtimes.co.uk/?p=4533)

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Farewell to running our interdisciplinary Environmental Masters program, March 2012

Over the last 3.5 years I have been Director of the Office for Environmental Programs at the University of Melbourne, which offers the postgraduate Master of Environment degree. We had a team of five staff and just-on 350 students from all over the world, and decent employment rates (and PhD follow-ons) for these graduates. We also moved into some great refurbished office space on campus in 2011. In March 2012 I decided it was time to return to research and teaching and to hand over to somebody else as Director, but as you can see from this ‘farewell’ post below, it was hard to leave.

Universities are hard places to work and it is not often you get a real conjunction of great staff and students, enough time and revenues to make a change, and underpinned by a sense of purpose and (in this case) an interesting multidisciplinary philosophy of education. The distinguishing feature of the Masters is that it allows you to choose classes from all over the university, in 10 different faculties. Very few universities permit this. As you can imagine, a certain amount of work was involved to set up and maintain this arrangement. It has certainly ruffled feathers since establishment in 2002 – some Faculties  preferred those students to be based in degrees that they run themselves (through our Graduate Schools). This is the arrangement at most universities worldwide, since the arrival of Environmental Masters in the late 1960s/early 1970s in Australia, Canada  and the USA – degrees housed in a single Faculty or Department.   But the M Environment degree has survived numerous University restructurings marvellously well, and retained its interdisciplinary ethos throughout. It is a degree for students wanting the right to get a ‘broad’ education in the environmental field that they select themselves, with some help from the OEP, channelling their efforts to skills and classes that they themselves find relevant to their needs and well taught.  They report back that they like this model. A student may select classes from energy studies and development studies, if they want to work in renewable energy in developing countries. Or, forestry science, sustainability, and project management if heading for a natural resources/forestry career. Or philosophy of science and environmental history, plus a research thesis,  in order to prepare for a PhD in these fields, for example.  Quantitatively inclined students take an Environmental Science stream. There are of course more focused Masters degrees on campus for those wanting them. Have a read, and all power to the OEP students and staff team. I had a blast, and am still involved as a Deputy Director and stream coordinator.

http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/environment/2012/02/29/farewell-and-thanks-from-simon-batterbury/

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