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William Robison <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 20 Sep 2021 15:04:15 -0500
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In recent years I have received some highly dubious invitations. However, a
couple of years ago I received an invitation to contribute from the editor
of a special issue of the MDPI publication *Arts* that dealt with the arts
and the two World Wars. I initially had all of Susan Harris's concerns.
However, I eventually agreed because MDPI made it clear up front that they
would waive the publication fee, I communicated directly with the editor
and received satisfactory answers about the quality of the other
contributions, and my own contribution was not typical of what I usually do
but fit nicely with the theme. I normally write about the Tudor politics
and religion or the Tudors on film, and - my reason for being on this list
- I am working on something about Twain's fascination with the Tudors.
However, my piece for *Arts* was about the British and Germans using films
about the Lancastrians and Tudors as propaganda before and during World War
II, and I had not committed to submitting it elsewhere, so this seemed like
a case of a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush. It also helps
that I am a tenured full professor and do not have to worry about how a
promotion committee might compare an open source online article to my other
work. Anyway, I continued to ask a lot of questions all the way through the
process - irritating some of the MDPI staff in the process I am sure - and
I advise anybody choosing to work with an MDPI publication to do the same.
My own largely positive experience is not a guarantee anyone else would
have the same good fortune, but it does show that a positive experience is
possible. The article was refereed, I got some trenchant comments about it,
and it turned out nicely. You are welcome to have a look:

On Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 2:44 PM Harris, Susan Kumin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hi, Folks.  Thank you to everyone who responded to my Alert last week.  I
> don't mean to trash open access publishing in general; I actually think
> it's a great idea, though, having spent decades serving on tenure and
> promotion committees, I see the path to legitimizing it for lit studies as
> long and torturous. And it's definitely an arena that I know little about,
> despite having attended workshops about it at my university.
>  I've done a little more research, both on open access generally and a
> little more on MDPI.  For those interested, one website of possible
> interest is the Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (
>, which seems to serve as an umbrella organization for
> open access publishers.  One of the portals (
> lists MDPI under its "Large
> Publisher" category.  The MDPI page gives the publisher's details,
> including the fact that they charge to publish articles because they do not
> charge to read them.  I know that many science journals also charge to
> publish, and I realize that although the practice seems odd to us in the
> humanities, it does not, in itself, mean that journals doing so are not
> legitimate--only that the ways that we think about funding scholarly
> publishing are shifting.
> So I offer these links for those seeking to understand a little more about
> the ever-evolving world of publishing.  Best of luck, everyone.  --Susan
> Harris
> OASPA | Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association<>
> OASPA Webinar Series. OASPA Statements. Best practices in licensing and
> attribution: What you need to know. OASPA's Open Access Resources.
> Information and videos from past conferences. Think. Check. Submit: helping
> researchers to make informed publication choices. Directory of Open Access
> Journals, DOAJ: OASPA Licensing Frequently Asked Questions
> Susan K. Harris

William B. Robison, PhD
Department Head / Professor of History
Department of History and Political Science
Southeastern Louisiana University
SLU 10895, Hammond LA 70402
985-549-2109 phone / 985-549-2012 fax
[log in to unmask]

*History does offer us very real lessons, but they are seldom simple and
straightforward. To understand and benefit from them, you have to know your
history very well. That is why history matters as much as math, science,
technology, or any other subject.
*History teaches students to read intelligently, think analytically, write
clearly, accurately assess past trends, rationally predict future
developments, and understand the real world. Now *that* is workforce-ready!
*A young horse is fast, but an old horse knows what's going on. – Muddy