I have been mulling over a really good discussion that I had at the end of last week with some UHI colleagues and some new colleagues from Edinburgh Napier University. Part of the discussion was about a new online journal of “applied academic practice” (listed in the Delicious links to the right). The new journal is online, open access, peer-reviewed, non-blind reviewed, creative commons, and especially encouraging to new authors and new ideas in presentation (multi-media etc) So what’s not to like? This seems to me to be a great democratising force in academia, and it’s high time we academics took control and got our (publishing) house in order! As a thinker, I want to share my ideas with as many people as possible who are interested in the same subjects. As a writer, I want to produce the best, most stimulating, most easily-readable presentations that I can. It’s partly the result of publishing my latest writings direct to Amazon as an e-book, but if it is really so easy, why are we not doing more of this? I can get more accurate and up-to-date statistics on my e-books than I do from my ‘conventional’ publishers, so what is the benefit to the new media? Speaking as someone who is married to a Manager of a ‘conventional’ publishing company (albeit in the minority area of Gaelic language) I have to acknowledge that there is a place for outsourcing the design, proofing, setting, distribution, marketing etc in the mass market, but with the tiny interest (and profit-margins) in academic publishing – monographs, course textbooks, extended essays, and areas of highly speciallised interest – it seems to me that the self-publishing route is the most appropriate. I think we need to look at the university as an institutional publisher of e-books that share the knowledge of the academy!