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Academic stratospheres-cum-underworlds: when highs and lows of publication cultures meet

Tereza Stöckelová (Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic)
Filip Vostal (Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 18 September 2017



The purpose of this paper is to link up and think through two bodies of literature, namely the critique of predatory publishing practices and the critique of political economy of established publishers, while introducing a reflection on the dynamic asymmetries of geopolitics and economics of globalizing knowledge production.


The authors deploy a conceptual approach developed with reference to a case study in order to explore the embedded logic of the current system of academic publishing.


The analysis shows that rather than examining two seemingly different issues (predatory publishing vs established publishers) as conflictual dualism, it is more productive to conceive them in associative and mutually constitutive fashion.

Research limitations/implications

A nuanced and multidimensional research approach is needed if we are to understand the dynamics of contemporary academic landscape.


The originality of the contribution lies in its problematizing of three established approaches that feature debates on the transformation of the academy. It moves beyond a micro-level explanation by (the lack of) individual morality as well as a structural explanatory framework preoccupied with publishing infrastructure and culturalist approach based on ready-made dichotomies of west/north vs south/east. Instead, the analysis provides an account that engages both with morality and geopolitics whilst tackling them as dynamic processes in making.



Stöckelová, T. and Vostal, F. (2017), "Academic stratospheres-cum-underworlds: when highs and lows of publication cultures meet", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 69 No. 5, pp. 516-528.



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