One of our graduate students received a request from VERSITA – a Springer Journal - to become a "Language Editor". S/he came to me and asked my opinion. I didn't know what this involved so I went to the masthead and found:
Central European Journal of Mathematics invites applications for position of the LANGUAGE EDITOR.
Central European Journal of Mathematics provides editorial assistance to authors from non-English speaking regions.
We are looking for volunteers to support us with language editing. Graduate students in mathematics are especially welcome.
LANGUAGE EDITOR PROFILE
The task of our language editors is to perform linguistical corrections on up to six manuscripts per year. Specifically, we would expect you to:
- correct inadvertent errors, mistakes in grammar, spelling, word order and punctuation
- improve the style of English, polish the fluency, provide internal language consistency throughout the entire paper
- clarify where there is room for misinterpretation
OUR IDEAL CANDIDATE
- is a mathematician
- knows TeX/LaTeX
- English is his/her mother tongue
- has constant/easy access to Internet
WHAT WE OFFER IN RETURN
- your name added to the list of the Journal's Editors at our website and published in every journal issue - being attached as an editor to an international journal raises the attractiveness of your CV to potential employers
- references and recommendation letters
Candidates interested in the position are requested to send their cover letter and CV to the Managing Editor, Tatiana Sworowska (email@example.com), with the subject line "CEJM Language Editor".
My interpretation is this. "We are a commercial company who wishes to decrease our costs/increase our profits by getting rid of traditional copy editors (whose job is to improve the language and style of papers). We have outsourced almost all our production to companies who are not in a position to do copy-editing. We are therefore trying to get graduates to do this job for free so we can maximise our profits. By the way if you wish to publish in some Open Access Springer journals it can cost thousands of pounds."
I would like to feel that publishers are part of the value added to scholarship. However it is becoming clear day by day that many (not all, but many) publishers are only in it for money and their primary effect is to restrict and cripple the publication process.
I am at a RLUK meeting where some of the keynotes have addressed the impossibility of continuing with the current publication process. I hope that people actually DO something instead of talking. "Reclaim our scholarship".
Useful clarification on figures (see comments) My use of "thousands of pounds" was correct:
John Mark Ockerbloom says:
I had a look at Springer's online price list for the Central European Journal of Mathematics. This isn't a cheap journal. The price of an institutional subscription is $1401 US for their basic annual access, or $1681 US for "enhanced" access. Plus $42 for "shipping and handling".
Or you can buy one article at a time; this seems to cost $34 US for an article I checked.
PMR: Many journals do not allow purchase of the article, the RENT them for 2 days.
Mind you, authors can also choose to have their articles provided free by the journal, via Springer's "Open Choice" program. The cost? $3000 US.
So, not only do they get their articles for free (or for $3000), and get their peer reviews for free, they also want to have the articles edited for free. Exactly what are we readers and libraries paying our $34/article or $1700/year for?