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Interest in starting an online-only academic CI journal?

I'd like to open a discussion on the possibility of (re)starting and academic, peer-reviewed CI journal using an online-only format. This could be done with or without SCIP's involvement, and could be a way of providing a journal with minimum financial expense. There are many open source publishing systems set up to do this.

The biggest challenge would be finding (and compensating) an editorial staff. Perhaps the academic members of the CI community could absorb it into their work responsibilities, soliciting volunteer editors and reviewers from other CI practioners. I don't know what the requirements are for a journal article to be considered "published" for purposes of faculty tenure review and promotion. Perhaps it could follow the requirements of the previous SCIP journals.

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Hey Jason,

This is a great idea, and plans are already in the works. I agree, the all online format will work wonders, saving money and opening up our thought leadership to the thousands of executives as yet unfamiliar with intelligence methodologies.

As we speak, some of us are looking into the best content management systems for the task.

The important part will be a system of peer review - we need to make whatever we do of the highest quality and greatest originality. Hoping you'll stay quite interested.
Thanks for bringing this question up Jason, I was just thinking of asking a similar question, namely “Does SCIP want to reestablish a peer reviewed journal for CI?”.

If they do they will no doubt be able to attract some of the many academics who have moved away from the organization since the CIR was closed. I personally think this will be essential for the success of the new SCIP. I know that the SCIP Board is discussing different questions which have been raised here on the board over the past few weeks. I hope they can come out with a clear yes/no answer on this.

Of cause the quality has to be “SCIENTIFIC” and in “international class”, but then that is a given. An online version is not a bad suggestion as long as it is tied to a respected publisher.

Klaus, what kind of startup costs are required to get this underway?
Dear Arik,

It is of cause difficult to give exact costs, but publishing on the Internet and the computer atomization that can be made is today opening for great saving possibilities. To publish with a great publisher is always expensive, and there are reasons for and against this. The reasons for have to do with Impact Factors the prevailing system and with academic careers.

The reasons against has to do with breaking the over-commercialization of research and making it available to more people. Many scientists, me included, regret the situation we have today where we donate our articles for free to a journal, only to discover that the publisher demands exorbitant prices for libraries and users to buy it. The publishing business is in the hands of too few actors. As an example the London based Reed Elsevier has about 8 billion USD in sales, where 1,5 billion comes from data delivery. (Compare this to Amazon’s 3,5 bill in sales or Ebay’s 1 bill USD). Another giant is the Buy out company Cinven and candover who owns Springer, Bertelsmann, Kluwer, and Randon House.

As a response to this development many scientists are starting to think about building free electronic database and free electronic journals. There are of cause other solutions too, like finding a cheaper publisher, who can sell the journal to a better price to the libraries.

Since the topic here is on-line journal, there are ways to make this work, even as a free journal. It will of cause have to build on a large part of voluntary work, but then that is always the case for journals. Sometimes graduate students can be used for this at least to reduce the costs somewhat. Using the internet for distribution automatically brings the price down. One would have to invest in an efficient www submission system. This reduces the time for dealing with the papers substantially. Maybe this would bring us down to 30 minutes per paper in pure handling time without the peer-review. In total, with review, we may count 2 hrs per paper per 10 pages. So, if the journal is 100 pages, then 20 hours per issue. But before we get that far count about 500 hours to set up such a journal. Some of this time also goes to making standard templates for all kinds of answers to be sent to authors and reviewers. Then you also need a permanent electronic archive.

As salaries are different the direct translation in money will be different.

We could also print copies in addition to the on-line publishing. Print, handing and postage may run to about 0,2 USD per page for 200 copies. So for 100 pages, break even is at 20 USD per issue. These figures will of cause vary.

What is interesting is the increasing amount of communities favoring on-line publishing. For distribution see
For a general debate see
For an active partner see SPARC, at
There are also organizations working for standards in on-line publishing like

I Hope this was of some help to the discussion.

I have developed several Joomla sites, and I'm no hacker. Content mgmt systems have come so far, it's really a golden age for developing online content.

I agree with many of the opinions expressed here - it really comes down to applying brainpower to peer review and content quality.

I think people ought to measure twice, cut once, and really think about what academic intellectual support the community really requires. Once that is decided, choosing the tool is cheap and easy.
As for the CMS question, though I don't know that much about Joomla, a few years ago Aurora selected Drupal as the core of our own custom-built CMS mostly because of the granularity of user permissioning [at the time] was much more robust in Drupal than Joomla. We wanted to stay open source in our choice because the user community would develop most of the extensibility for us rather than having to hack everything from scratch. While I sometimes question the choice in hindsight (it was a steep learning curve) Drupal is more like a CMS construction kit, where Joomla is a much more user-friendly implementation of a single CMS framework, so from a usability standpoint alone, I recommend Joomla for an application like this; if we were going to start a software company, Drupal would be a more natural choice.

That aside, over on the Intelligence 2.0 group, my pal (and [full disclosure] Aurora systems partner) Jordan Frank from Traction Software reminded me of the RFP (!) SCIP put our a year or so ago to buy software to put CI 101 into a wiki that would presumably be shared with members. I recall having the conversation at the time with Jordan about how they'd be perfectly willing to donate a system to this effort, and, though he hasn't yet replied, I suspect Traction might be inclined to support this effort even further if there was some ability to automate the workflow of producing an academic journal online as well as produce a knowledgebase of CI topics and techniques as a group editable wiki.

The more important question, than whether to use an enterprise-class blog/wiki system that a commercial vendor like Traction might donate or an open source LAMP stack such as Joomla or Drupal, is whether a viable business model for an academic quality journal could be crowdsourced to a community of (for the moment) non-scholarly enthusiasts who would donate their time in order to keep the cost structure marginal to zero?

I think I know the answer; which makes the details of how it would be executed more a matter of shared determination, will and interest in seeing it happen so that all participants can reap the benefits of scholarship freed from the old paradigm of artificial scarcity constraints on universal access. Perhaps we can build a reference example of how this is done, such as the agents of change Klaus cites above?

Don't get me wrong, I'm no collectivist and capitalism is proto-religious for me, but the friction and drag that could be freed up from the value chain Klaus points to above means a lot more energy can be poured into quality engagement around the ideas than logistics and RFP writing.
Great link Woz - the MagCloud business model shifts the costs of production from publisher to reader as a more direct reflection of the true cost of production for those who really want a paper copy - here's the relevant excerpt:

How much does it cost?
It costs you nothing to publish a magazine on MagCloud. To buy a magazine costs 20¢ per page, plus shipping. For example, a 20-page magazine would be four bucks plus shipping. And you can make money! You set your issue price and all proceeds above the base price go to you.
Almost forgot to suggest this but is this a topic you could take up informally at your ECIS meeting in Sweden in a couple of weeks?

SCIP cut the JCIM suddenly a year ago (just after the ATELIS meeting in Lisbon), for a so-called 4-month break, while a committee was sitting ... since then it's been a year ... so don't hold your breath.

One of the main things a journal needs is continuity and credibility. The timescale to submit an article and have it reviewed and then resubmitted if necessary can be many months if not more.

By stopping the journal and dismissing its editors, they sent a very clear message (albeit less than clearly) that continuity was not a priority. Why would any serious author now wish to tie up a paper in a journal which is hovering between life and death?

This happened some years ago with the several-year hiatus between the demise of the CIR and the start of the online JCIM. Now it's happened again. In the first case, access to CIR (the IP is with John Wiley) was promied to SCIP members, but ever materialised. So that even those who are still SCIP members cannot access that repository of knowledge.

SCIP isn't interested in a serious journal - the events of the last few years, and especially the last year, have made that all too clear.

The field of CI needs a refereed academic journal if it is ever going to achieve legitimacy. It was one reason I had ramped up the JCIM after the CI Review had ended its run -- only to see it come to an abrupt halt due to resource constraints and choices made at SCIP. I can think of no other (legitimate) business field that lacks a journal. In some fields, like accounting or marketing, for instance, there are scores of respectable, refereed, journals. Many fields have dozens of journals with either a strong global following and/or at least a strong regional one. Few fields have achieved this with only an on-line version of their journal. The exception to this are fields that moved a previously paper-published one over to online in addition to the printed publication.

Continuity has been a problem for CI. It takes years (at least 3 is the rule of thumb) to get a journal even listed in the better academic journal index listings -- critical if other scholars are to utilize it and cite the articles being published in it. You also need a good number of articles coming in for review, something we have struggled to achieve in the CI field for decades (note: I would know -- I've been heavi;y involved on the editorial boards of all the CI journals except the former AGSI one). Most good academics won't submit to a journal unless it has a level of credibility that we have never achieved in CI to this point. So it is a bit of "chicken and egg" -- you need a respectable journal to get good academics to submit to it, but top academics won't submit to a journal until is has demonstrated its worth and value.

Is this a good idea?? Of course it is. Can we (scholars, academics interested in CI advance) make it work? That remains to be determined.

Please feel free to call on me should you need any insights from my experiences in this endeavor. I hope that an academic journal dedicated to CI and related topics could succeed -- it was one of the core reasons I developed and we originally established the CI Foundation (CIF) in late 2004... and I'll be curious to see what comes of that in light of the post-SCIP/F&S Institute deal. Care to venture a guess as to what will happen to the CI Foundation??
Hi Craig,

I agree with you. As CI will not achieve a strong identity by developing a scholar scope there would no editor available to propose a first class journal. The reason is that CI has so many perspectives that there is no way to say …yes this is CI! (in Spain we will say that CI is a practitioner business activity, which means that there are no theories that support the topic).

However, my experience shows ( that editing a journal with interesting contribution (some of them very solid) is not difficult. Craig did a very goo job in the past!

The problem, however, is having the critical mass for receiving good articles. This is more critical for a journal which has few interested people.

Of course, I will be happy to partecipate!

Alessandro Comai

You will remember that SCIP once had an excellent, hard-copy journal: Competitive Intelligence Review. If one could replicate that, I would be happy to contribute in any way I can. Is there any merit in talking to Wiley about this? Also, I much prefer a physical product; whereas, for example, I can access any HBR or McKinseyQuarterly article online, I do like to keep my hard copies of the journals for browsing and research purposes.

Best regards
Douglas Bernhardt


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