Kyle Grayson summarises his thinking as… “part of an ad hoc working group with colleagues from Newcastle and Durham Universities that has been exploring the future of academic publishing” …

“in the social sciences and humanities, low citation rates and impact factors — even for leading journals — that in part reflect the inability to capture a broad audience within an academic discipline, let alone establish a readership with practitioners and/or the general public” […] “our research findings on the broader trends in media publishing in general, and scholarly publishing in particular, demonstrate that there are problems emerging over the horizon” […] “staying the course” — in terms of content, public interface, and revenue models — will lead to negative outcomes within a decade’s time.”

He suggests certain immediate remedies…

* implementing a dynamic journal website … where content is regularly updated * audio and video recordings of keynote speeches, lectures, interviews, or discussions * on-line book reviews […] invite contributions from the wider readership * blogs run by the editorial team and/or other members at large * alerting potential users of content [with] updates through social networking tools like email, Twitter, Facebook, and RSS feeds

To which I might add things like… * a collaborative subject-specific Custom Search Engine * simple “plain english” summaries of all articles (not the same thing as abstracts) * a curated “overlay” ejournal, linking to free repository content * Amazon pages for all monographs * translate all abstracts into Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish * a concerted campaign to get backlinks to your website * consider purchasing a good $50 template for the journal (it’s not just about the frequency of updating, but about how stylish it feels) * really good photography of the participants

Backlinks are particularly important. For instance, the journal Quaderno which I found yesterday. It’s six full issues of a free academic journal from a reputable university, on interesting aspects of early American history, in a country that’s teeming with re-enactors and amateur historians. Yet, according to Google, it has not a single inbound link — not even from other academic sites. It’s been online since 2004.