Message posted on 16/01/2023

CfA | Publish or perish reloaded | 9th STS Italia Conference - BOLOGNA 28-30 June 2023

                Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit abstract proposals to our panel 
"*Publish or perish reloaded: The matrix of contemporary scientific 
publishing facing institutional research arrangements and the 
marketization of academic environments* 
" (Panel n. 40 - panel 
description below) at the 9th STS Italia Conference “Interesting Worlds 
to come. Science & Technology Studies facing more-than-human 
challenges”, University of Bologna, Italy, 28-30 June 2023.

Follow this link: and submit a 
title, and a short abstract of less than 300 words by  January 22nd, 
2023. If you have any questions please email myself at 
 and Federico Neresini 

Best wishes,

Stefano Crabu and Federico Neresini


  Panel 40

*/Publish or perish reloaded: The matrix of contemporary scientific 
publishing facing institutional research arrangements and the 
marketization of academic environments/*

      Organizers: Stefano Crabu; Federico Neresini

University of Padova, Italy

The “publish or perish” (PP) aphorism – with its creeping necropolitics 
of knowledge – still informs the everyday work of academics. Although it 
appeared at the beginning of the last century, the PP principle still 
normatively orients the assessment of academics and researchers on the 
basis of their success in publishing, with an emphasis on productivity 
as potentially impacting the innovativeness, significance and social 
impact of scientific outcomes. Moreover, we can argue that this 
principle continues to act as a pivotal subjectivation device for the 
thousands of academic workers from both the Global South and Global North.

Despite its sharp relevance in shaping, reshuffling and igniting 
research trajectories, the PP phenomenon requires careful analysis. 
Hence, what now seems urgent and politically exigent is to initiate a 
lively debate for the purpose of theoretically and analytically grasping 
the conditions – political, economic, epistemological, institutional and 
technological – surrounding the culture of contemporary scientific 
publishing. Academic publishing is indeed a global techno-service 
industrial complex worth more than USD 19 billion. However, this market 
is highly concentrated, with few for-profit publishers exercising 
oligopolistic power in managing academic journals and generating 
substantial profits for publishers and high costs for public 
universities (e.g., cost of subscription to scientific journals). Thus, 
the current political economy of academic publishing potentially 
compromises the free access to academic scientific knowledge, 
essentially contradicting the mandate of many public policy schemes. 
Although digitalization and open access (OA) were intended as liberating 
forces for academics and research organizations, they appear to have 
somewhat contributed, alongside key university ranking indicators, to 
boosting the oligopoly of for-profit academic publishers and translating 
the digital platform culture within the academic publishing sector.

Within this scenario, it is also important to underline emerging forms 
of academic piracy, violations of intellectual property rights (e.g., 
the subject of editor lawsuits against Sci-Hub) and the emergence of 
“predatory publishers” associated with the potential decline in the 
academic quality of research. The aim of this track is to explore 
current scientific publishing practices and the related political, 
economic, epistemological, institutional and socio-technical 
arrangements surrounding the PP imperative.

We therefore encourage social scientists, STS scholars, policy scholars 
as well as practitioners in the academic publishing industry to submit 
theoretically, empirically and/or methodologically oriented 
contributions that aim to explore the following:

-   The emergence and consolidation of the academic publishing oligopoly;

-        Current OA policy implementation and related challenges in the 
context of the academic publishing oligopoly;

-        Emerging forms of “academic piracy”;

-        Academic predatory practices;

-        The platformization of academic publishing and the use of 
metric, “alter metric” and scientometric indicators provided by 

-        New business models associated with OA and emerging forms of 
self-organized open publishing;

-        How (digital) citation index databases influence the academic 
publishing industry and scientific publishing practices;

-        Gaps and inequalities between the Global South and Global North 
in accessing scientific publications and implementing OA policies.
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