Friday, September 24, 2010

Publishing as an academic

When I took up my lectureship at Exeter University in 1981 my relationship with publishing faced a dramatic twist. As a young academic there was a tremendous pressure to publish both research and tutorial texts to justify being given a permanent post. I was a "game keeper" in publishing and I was expected to become a "poacher" now!

In some ways it disappointing to me that my knowledge and passion for publishing was not much help in my academic carrier. The kind of publishing was different to the one used to at school. I did publish a tutorial book, which sold well and edited and wrote some books. However, my colleagues were at it at the same speed as me even without inside knowledge of printing or publishing.

I differed from my colleagues in one way I wanted to take part in the publishing process beyond the writing while they were happy to delegate that to others.

I formed Intellect in 1984 with two other academic friends to give me a chance to link my passion for publishing with my need to get published.

Intellect began its life not being sure of its business model. I had some experience of organizing academic conferences which lead to edited compilations published by other established publishers. Intellect hosted a seminar which resulted in a book, Artificial Intelligence: Principles and Case Studies published by Chapman and Hall. I also began producing a slim magazine called Intellect Review, which promoted our seminar programme as well as offered short books reviews.

Blackwell Scientific Publications approached me to see if I was willing to turn my magazine into a proper academic journal. At the time I was the secretary of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB). The society had turned an offer down to turn their newsletter into a journal via a partnership. Instead I was able to do a journal on the same topic under the Intellect imprint.

I took up the challenge and Artificial Intelligence Review was born in October 1986. I was doing the editorial work and outsourcing the marketing to Blackwell Scientific Publications in Oxford.