I want to announce a just-launched project entitled the Journal of Journal Performance Studies (JJPS), a series of three interrelated works that engage with academic publishing, consisting of a Firefox extension, an online radio station, and a journal. The project itself can be found at http://turbulence.org/Works/JJPS/ .
JJPS started as a result of my own disgust over the absurd prices for academic journals. Thinking about modes of distribution of digital content, and the fights over "piracy" started by the various media industries, I considered what would possibly be the logical conclusion of the crackdowns on the passing of files in their "native" formats. If the sharing of MP3 files, movies, and now PDFs continues to be criminalized, what other possibilities for distribution might exist? Given the textual nature of much scholarly publishing--and since authors often present their paper aloud at conferences--what would be the potential of an online radio station that consisted of nothing but recitations of academic articles?
This question lead to a myriad of directions, as the project itself shows. Because of my recent work with MAICgregator, a separate Firefox extension looking at the military-academic-industrial complex, I was interested in how a Firefox extension could contribute to our understandings of one potential future of scholarly publishing where the Google worldview dominates all. Thus the JJPS Firefox extension (http://turbulence.org/Works/JJPS/extension ), software that not only provides information about the absurd journal costs as mentioned above, but also presents a myriad of "factors" and advertisement replacements that shows how bibliometrics and worry about Google's influence might change how journals present and market themselves.
The JJPS Radio station (http://turbulence.org/Works/JJPS/radio ) is fully-automated, producing new programs 24/7 related to the study of journal performance. Not only does it have recitations of texts, it also uses these texts as its source material to create a varied set of sonic programs. Certain shows have certain hidden features that you might find by perusing the texts on the radio website. JJPS Radio is also meant to foreground a different type of "digital humanities". While that term is used in so many contexts as to hardly describe anything of note, there seems to be a growing tendency to view it as referring to simply the transplantation of large-scale data analysis methods from engineering to large-scale "humanities" datasets. (See, for example, the Digging into Data Challenge: http://www.diggingintodata.org/ ) JJPS Radio pushes back against this, and shows how the techniques of data mining and natural language processing can be used in alternative ways.
Finally, the Journal (http://turbulence.org/Works/JJPS/journal ) initially presents statements about the project, as well as performances of other forms of distribution. However, I do hope for the Journal to become an ongoing, fully-fledged publication that explores not only the political issues surrounding journal and book publishing and their "performance", but also how we can use networked platforms to push the limits of contemporary intellectual representation. Those interested in this should contact me directly.
Thanks to turbulence.org for the commission that allowed this project to come to fruition.