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Debates in the Digital Humanities$
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Matthew K. Gold

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677948

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677948.001.0001

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The Social Contract of Scholarly Publishing

The Social Contract of Scholarly Publishing

(p.319) The Social Contract of Scholarly Publishing
Debates in the Digital Humanities

Daniel J. Cohen

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter discusses the social contract in scholarly publishing. The two sides of the social contract are the supply side and the demand side. The supply side is the creation of scholarly works, including writing, peer review, editing, and the form of publication. The demand side involves the mental state of the audience that leads them to “buy” what the supply side has produced. In order for the social contract to work, for engaged reading to happen, and for credit to be given to the author (or editor of a scholarly collection), both sides need to be aligned properly. However, while as there has been intense thinking on the supply side, via the reenvisioning of academic work, the demand side has languished. Far fewer efforts have been made to influence the mental state of the scholarly audience. Thus, much work needs to be done on the demand side in order to move the social contract forward into the digital age.

Keywords:   social contract, scholarly publishing, digital humanities

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