Scholastica Blog

Developments, thoughts, and observations

Image: Neil Christensen

Neil Christensen is the director of digital development at the University of California Press (UCP). Prior to working at UCP, Christensen worked in business development and as a medical editorial director at Wiley, as well as an executive editor at Nature Publishing Group.

Neil Christensen is helping pioneer a new model for open access (OA) publishing, by giving value back to the academic community in dollars. In his role as director of digital development at the University of California Press (UCP), Christensen, together with digital science publisher Dan Morgan and a team of colleagues at the press and University of California, are launching a new kind of OA journal. Like other OA journals, UCP’s will generate publication funding from article processing charges (APCs). Only instead of keeping profit earned from those APCs, UCP’s journal will “pay it forward” by giving editors and reviewers the opportunity to put their earnings towards their supporting institution’s OA initiatives or the article processing charges of future authors’ submissions to the journal.

I interviewed Neil Christensen to learn more about UCP’s new OA journal and his hopes for the unique publishing model it will use. Below is a transcript of our conversation. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

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Image: by Ash Kyd

There is a time and sanity-saving app for just about every activity you can think of, and that’s a beautiful thing for the busy law student! However, the abundance of apps available today can make weeding through options to find the ones that are just right for you pretty time consuming—and in law school time is always of the essence.

To help you in the never-ending quest to find the perfect apps, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites that you can use for your academic and personal life (yes, you should still have a personal life while in law school!).

If you have a life changing app story, or just a regular ol’ app suggestion to share, please post it in the comments section!

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Academia: September Snapshot

Are you interested in learning more about how to launch a successful open access (OA) journal?

At Scholastica, we often hear from scholars who want to launch an OA journal but are unsure of where to begin. In response to the need we’ve seen among academics for a comprehensive guide to starting and operating an OA journal, we decided to create a free ebook— The OA Journal Starter Kit.

We are pleased to officially release The OA Journal Starter Kit today! This succinct CC BY ebook encompasses all of the information needed to get an OA journal off the ground, cultivate a readership, and attract submissions and reviewers during the first year of publication.

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Last week we caught up with Gemma Sou, PhD student at the University of Manchester and founder of social science podcast platform Viva Voce. In order to explain what Viva Voce podcasts are all about, Sou provided us with an example. Above you’ll find a 2-minute podcast she recorded of herself explaining how scholars can create their own podcasts about their research. For you social scientists out there, Sou also covers how to submit a podcast to Viva Voce!

To learn more about Viva Voce check out the details of our interview with Gemma Sou!

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Academia: September Snapshot

We’re excited to announce that Scholastica’s public-facing webpages (the pages you see when you’re not logged into the site) have a new look!

The Scholastica team is dedicated to giving journals a powerful platform to improve their peer review process and publish open access. We hope the redesign of Scholastica’s public-facing webpages will improve the experience of our users and visitors, by offering a more comprehensive overview of what we do and why we do it.

Important Note: In order to enjoy the new webpages, you may need to clear your computer’s cache—here is a WikiHow Resource to help you.

Some improvements you’ll notice on the site:

  • a responsive design—from your tablet, smartphone, or PC you’ll always have the same great reading experience!
  • a detailed features page
  • a 60-second video tour of Scholastica
  • faster load time—we’ve upped the speed of the website to improve your user experience!

We hope you enjoy exploring Scholastica’s new public-facing webpages!

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us at with any questions!

Academia: September Snapshot

As we head towards the end of September and start of fall (which seems to be arriving right on time for some of us - it’s getting pretty chilly here in Chicagoland!), we wanted to compile a snapshot of some of the top news in academia for the month. We hope that this post, together with our previous snapshots, will help provide a full picture of new developments and trending stories in academia.

Here are the stories we have been following. If you have additional academic news that caught your attention this September, we encourage you to share it in the comments section!

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Image: Ken Adams

Kenneth A. Adams is a leading consultant and speaker on contract drafting, and author of "A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting" (American Bar Association 3rd ed. 2013). Adams is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School. He previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 2006-2012. His website and blog are at

Notre Dame Law School adjunct professor Ken Adams is not afraid to change up the status quo in contract drafting, both in what he teaches and how he teaches it.

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As an editor have you recently found yourself thinking either of these things?:

  1. "Why do authors keep sending me articles that are clearly not in line with the mission and scope of my journal?”

  2. "I am tired of having to ask authors to fix avoidable formatting errors."

If these thoughts have crossed your mind, the good news is there is something you can do right now to ease these pain points: look for ways to make your submission guidelines clearer.

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Image: Field of Dreams

"People will come, Ray"—says Terence Man, played by James Earl Jones, when Kevin Costner’s character questions his decision to build a ball park in the middle of a cornfield in the 1989 film Field of Dreams.

Spoiler Alert: Contrary to this hopeful movie message, if you build it, more than likely, people will not come. This principle holds true for most personal and professional outputs, whether they be middle-of-nowhere baseball stadiums or academic publications.

If you want people to know about your scholarly work you have to give them an accessible place, or ideally variety of places, to learn about it. Accessible has two meanings here—you want to promote your research in places that are easy to access, and you want to explain it in a way that is accessible to a wide audience.

So how can you raise awareness of your scholarly contributions?

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Image: Kronk faces his mini-mes in Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove

Drafting an academic paper, especially during the early stage of your career, can be an overwhelming experience. It becomes difficult to stay focused on the task at hand when the angel- and devil-clad mini-mes on either shoulder start duking it out over whether your paper will make it to publication, or whether you’ll find yourself back at the drawing board when a rejection decision finally rolls in.

While you ultimately cannot control the opinions of reviewers, you can take ownership of the submission process to give your paper a boost towards publication and keep your writing on track from day one.

Here are 9 steps to get you started based on what we’ve heard from our editors and learned on the web:

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