We had a discussion about Scholastica over at Hacker News. Please promote it to support us as a group that are doing our part to remedy the problems that scholars are raising about the academic publishing industry.

Original Link: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3494395

We’re a startup called Scholastica, an academic journal publishing platform and scholarly community. We applied to Y-Combinator) Spring 2011, PG) actually wrote us to ask us some further questions, but unfortunately didn’t get in. With that said, we didn’t give up and have an application with some traction. We’re completely bootstrapped and would love for you guys to check us out and hear your thoughts.

Problem:

Academics spend their time doing research, then have other scholars peer-review this research at an academic journal, then journals hand over the articles they choose to publish to a publishing house. The publishing house then sells this content back to university libraries at ridiculous prices. It’s been this way for decades and scholars are finally complaining about it in the press. For more, see the ‘further reading’ section at the end of this post.

Solution:

Scholastica is designed to give publishing power back to scholars. With Scholastica, scholars can create peer reviewed journals, find reviewers, incentivize them to give quality and on time reviews, and ultimately publish the work online without the need for large publishing companies that are holding university libraries hostage (65% of a university library’s budget goes toward buying journals). Also, in the real world, academics build status by discussing knowledge. As a result of this, Scholastica has a section of the application called The Conversation where in a way similar to a StackExchange or Quora, academics can dissect and share knowledge amongst themselves. Journals can then identify promising peer-reviewers in a fashion that was impossible to do before. Now, instead of becoming a reviewer by knowing the right people, it’s easier to be asked based on the status earned from the ideas shared among one’s peers.

Spread the Word

We think we have something really important and special here. Of course, any startup would say that. We feel like we’re solving a legitimate real world problem. Maybe PG would say that we’re avoiding Schlep Blindness. Academia is notorious for being slow to adopt disruptive technologies. CourseKit is dealing with something similar. We’d love for the HN community to spread the word if you guys and gals think that we’re doing something valuable.

Further Reading:

• Bjorn Brembs – What’s wrong with scholarly publishing today? II

• George Monbiot – Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist

• The Economist: Of goats and headaches – One of the best media businesses is also one of the most resented

Open access and academic journals: the publishers respond

• George Monbiot- The Lairds of Learning

Locked in the Ivory Tower: Why JSTOR Imprisons Academic Research