Join us at the American Musicological Society Annual Meeting

This week the 2017 American Musicological Society’s annual meeting convenes in Rochester, New York and AMS members can save 40% on new and forthcoming titles when they visit our booth in the exhibit hall.

If you cannot attend the meeting, the discount is available online for 15 days after the show—use source code 17E9198 online (enter code at checkout).

Meanwhile get an early look at some of the titles we’ll have on view:

          
 

          
 

          

We are also offering a chance to win a free paperback copy of one of our Luminos Open Access music titles. The digital editions are always free (visit luminosoa.org to download), but please visit our booth at AMS to enter to win a print copy of your choice of either Keys to Play by Roger Moseley or Instruments for New Music by Thomas Patteson.

     

Watch this space through the weekend for more #amsroc17 posts, with free content from UC Press journals and more.


Open Science for Public Good: Elementa by the Numbers

At UC Press, open access—the free, immediate, unrestricted, online access to peer-reviewed research and scholarly work—is central to our mission. In celebration of 2017 International Open Access Week (October 23-29), we are highlighting open access publishing initiatives at UC Press, including our Collabra and Luminos publishing programs. This year’s OA Week theme “Open in order to . . . ” is an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly publications openly available. Follow the full blog series here. #OAWeek #OpenInOrderTo

For this year’s #OAWeek, organizers chose a theme “Open in order to . . .” to prompt us to consider what open access enables, rather than what it is. For Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, an open access, non-profit, interdisciplinary environmental science journal published by UC Press, the open access model enables the journal to fulfill its primary mission: Open Science for Public Good. To illustrate this, we’ve highlighted some key article- and journal-level metrics that demonstrate how open, accessible research can have a wide reach and impact across a global audience.


WHAT ELEMENTA PUBLISHES

Atmospheric Science
Editor in Chief: Detlev Helmig
University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Earth & Environmental Science
Editor in Chief: Oliver A. Chadwick
University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Ecology
Editor in Chief: Donald A. Zak
University of Michigan, USA

Ocean Science
Editor in Chief: Jody W. Deming
University of Washington, USA

Sustainable Engineering
Editor in Chief: Michael E. Chang
Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Sustainability Transitions
Editor in Chief: Anne R. Kapuscinski
Dartmouth, USA

Plus two types of special collections:
SPECIAL FEATURES and FORUMS.

ELEMENTA’S GLOBAL AUDIENCE

Top 10 Countries Accessing Elementa:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Brazil
  5. Germany
  6. India
  7. Australia
  8. France
  9. China
  10. Italy

 

 

CITATIONS

Elementa was recently included in the Scopus Abstracting and Indexing database, and we can now see how well-cited Elementa articles are. Here is a list of the top 10 most highly cited articles in Elementa, as of October 13, 2017. The full October 13 dataset is available here. (Source: Scopus.)

Cooper OR, Parrish DD, Ziemke J, Balashov NV, Cupeiro M, Galbally IE, et al.. Global distribution and trends of tropospheric ozone: An observation-based review. Elem Sci Anth. 2014;2:29. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000029
88 citations

Leaitch WR, Sharma S, Huang L, Toom-Sauntry D, Chivulescu A, Macdonald AM, et al.. Dimethyl sulfide control of the clean summertime Arctic aerosol and cloud. Elem Sci Anth. 2013;1:17. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000017
28 citations

Ellis EC, Fuller DQ, Kaplan JO, Lutters WG. Dating the Anthropocene: Towards an empirical global history of human transformation of the terrestrial biosphere. Elem Sci Anth. 2013;1:18. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000018
23 citations

Miller LA, Fripiat F, Else BGT, Bowman JS, Brown KA, Collins RE, et al.. Methods for biogeochemical studies of sea ice: The state of the art, caveats, and recommendations. Elem Sci Anth. 2015;3:38. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000038
22 citations

Hsing P-Y, Fu B, Larcom EA, Berlet SP, Shank TM, Govindarajan AF, et al.. Evidence of lasting impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a deep Gulf of Mexico coral community. Elem Sci Anth. 2013;1:12. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000012
20 citations

Alderkamp A-C, Dijken GL van, Lowry KE, Connelly TL, Lagerström M, Sherrell RM, et al.. Fe availability drives phytoplankton photosynthesis rates during spring bloom in the Amundsen Sea Polynya, Antarctica. Elem Sci Anth. 2015;3:43. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000043
18 citations

Arrigo KR, Brown ZW, Mills MM. Sea ice algal biomass and physiology in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica. Elem Sci Anth. 2014;2:28. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000028
18 citations

Ducklow HW, Wilson SE, Post AF, Stammerjohn SE, Erickson M, Lee S, et al.. Particle flux on the continental shelf in the Amundsen Sea Polynya and Western Antarctic Peninsula. Elem Sci Anth. 2015;3:46. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000046
17 citations

Cambaliza MOL, Shepson PB, Bogner J, Caulton DR, Stirm B, Sweeney C, et al.. Quantification and source apportionment of the methane emission flux from the city of Indianapolis. Elem Sci Anth. 2015;3:37. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000037
16 citations

Oltmans S, Schnell R, Johnson B, Pétron G, Mefford T, Neely III R. Anatomy of wintertime ozone associated with oil and natural gas extraction activity in Wyoming and Utah. Elem Sci Anth. 2014;2:24. DOI: http://doi.org/10.12952/journal.elementa.000024
15 citations

 

GROWTH IN WEBSITE USAGE

Steady audience growth with 67% of traffic being new visitors (2017).

Combined reach of 65k on Facebook and 15k on Twitter across Elementa and UC Press social media.

 

GROWTH IN SUBMISSIONS & PUBLISHED ARTICLES

Average total usage is 12,835 views & downloads per article (2013-2017).

Average production time is 20 days from acceptance to publication.

 

 

 

NOTABLE CONTENT

Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios (Peters et al, 2016)
88,880 views/downloads, Altmetric Score: 670

Global distribution and trends of tropospheric ozone: An observation-based review (Cooper et al, 2014)
33,048 views/downloads, 88 citations

Dating the Anthropocene: Towards an empirical global history of human transformation of the terrestrial biosphere (Ellis et al, 2013)
31,924 views/downloads, Altmetric Score: 68

MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
Elementa articles have been featured in the following media outlets, among others.


Luminos: A Brief History

At UC Press, open access—the free, immediate, unrestricted, online access to peer-reviewed research and scholarly work—is central to our mission. In celebration of 2017 International Open Access Week (October 23-29), we are highlighting open access publishing initiatives at UC Press, including our Collabra and Luminos publishing programs. This year’s OA Week theme “Open in order to . . . ” is an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly publications openly available. Follow the full blog series here. #OAWeek #OpenInOrderTo


Libraries: Join UC Press in transforming monograph publishing—become a Luminos Member Library today!

Keep up to date by subscribing to the Luminos eNewsletter

 


Open Peer Review: An #OAWeek Q&A with Dan Morgan


At UC Press, open access — the free, immediate, unrestricted, online access to peer-reviewed research and scholarly work — is central to our mission. In celebration of 2017 International Open Access Week (October 23–29), we are highlighting open access publishing initiatives at UC Press, including our Collabra and Luminos publishing programs. This year’s OA Week theme “Open in order to . . . “ is an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly publications openly available. Follow the full blog series here. #OAWeek #OpenInOrderTo

At Collabra: Psychology we celebrate all things “open” — open access, open data, open analytic methods, and more — so during Open Access Week 2017, we thought it fitting to highlight a favorite “open” feature: open peer review. At Collabra: Psychology and other journals, open peer review is the practice by which review comments are openly available alongside the published article, if accepted. If reviewers sign their reviews, their names are therefore also made public.

While open peer review is not completely new to scholarly publishing — and is in fact commonly accepted by advocates of open science — issues surrounding the peer review process remain subjects of debate. We asked Collabra: Psychology publisher Dan Morgan to share his perspectives on open peer review in the Q&A below. For those interested in delving deeper into the world of peer review, check out his 2016 blog post “Peer Review in 5 points,” and, for those in the Bay Area, please join Dan and other panelists at a UC Berkeley panel discussion, Understanding the (Changing) Realm of Peer Review, on Thursday, October 26 from 1:00–2:30pm (309 Sproul Hall).


Even within the conversation about open peer review, the policies and practices of what it actually looks like can vary widely — it could mean reviewers signing their names but not including comments, including reviewers’ comments but keeping their names anonymous, journals providing reviews for rejected papers, or something else. How would you define open peer review?

DM: Open peer review is currently not defined as a definitive practice, at present, short of implying that there is at least some openness at some point in the process. One could maybe limit it to two broad themes: 1) that review comments are published alongside an article, but these comments occurred previously and in private, with identities sometimes open, and 2) that the reviewing process itself is performed in public, with all identities open. Examples of 1) are Collabra: Psychology and PeerJ. An examples of 2) is F1000 Research.

What problems do you think an open review process can solve? And conversely, are there any problems you think an open review process can create?

DM: Before you get to open review solving actual problems, I think you can already say that open review is going to be interesting and informative for scientists and scholars. It gives you great background regarding the article’s development and improvement. It could help authors learn about how best to write and craft articles, in the first place, by being able to see any common themes or regular issues uncovered or tackled during the review process. A problem it can solve is any perception of conflict of interest or questionable practices during peer review. For example, if you’ve ever read a paper and thought “how did this get through peer review”, you would be able to actually see how it did, by seeing what the comments were during the process. If you’ve ever thought “oh, this article was only accepted because the author is friends with the editor,”, you would be able to check on the process to ensure that it occurred legitimately, and that a genuine review occurred. So, speaking in very general terms, it helps people’s trust in the communication of science.

As for problems that open review can create, I touch on this in my blog post linked above: most of the problems open review causes are not problems inherent to openness and transparency, they are inherent to “the weird, wonderful, hierarchical world of ambitious, sensitive humans in the academic and research infrastructure.” So, open review could mean that if you wrote a negative review of a more senior academic, and it is made public and you signed your review, you might be afraid that this colleague might hold it against you in future. These problems are important, but in my opinion should be solved by transparently addressing the social elements of the academic system, rather than saying open peer review is bad and should be avoided. I think, in the service of science, we should tackle the problems open review might create in order to better focus on the great problems it solves.

In your opinion, should there be certain parameters around openness during the peer review process? In other words, are there instances or types of information that should not be shared?

DM: Certainly, and these are easier to recognize than define. I think any comment on crucial yet confidential information about an author, or another person, by a reviewer, should be able to be made in confidence. So, therefore, it is important to always have a way to write confidential comments to an editor, or, in the case of public, post-publication review, send confidential comments directly to the author or editor.

At Collabra: Psychology, authors always have the option to choose open review or closed review. Has it surprised you that the majority (77%) of Collabra: Psychology authors have chosen to publish their articles with open reviews?

DM: Yes, I have genuinely been surprised at the number of authors that have opted for open review. I think there are a few drivers at work. Firstly, Collabra: Psychology is clearly presenting itself as a journal embracing open science and transparent practices, so even though open review is an option, early-adopting authors are likely predisposed to open review. Secondly, because it is an option, and many people forget to state in their cover letter whether they are choosing it or not (!) in many instances we get to email directly with the author to check whether or not they are choosing open review. On several occasions, an author has said “well, I wasn’t going to, but tell me more”. Since our first few articles had open review, we were able to not only tell them more, but show them real examples of how it had worked, so perhaps people who wouldn’t ordinarily have chosen it as an A/B decision, got to have a conversation about it which made them more familiar and less fearful of it.

Where do you see the world of peer review headed next? How do you think peer review practices should continue to evolve to facilitate more objective, fair, and transparent science?

DM: Wherever the world of peer review systems and processes is headed, I would like the culture and behavior of scientists reviewing each other’s work to become more objective and helpful, and less interwoven with social and personal sensitivities and the “publish or perish” mentality. While publishing articles should always be important, perhaps if it were a few notches less important, people would be more focused on the transparency and credibility of their science rather than the impact of (and rewards from) their claims, more open to being challenged and questioned, and less likely to be over-defensive about reviewers finding concerns or suggesting improvement to their work.

I am not saying I know exactly how to get there, or that I experience this directly myself (I am not a scholar or researcher). But, I think it is everyone’s duty in scholarly publishing to try and make things better and more efficient, and to keep an eye on what is not working and what is inefficient. I am hopeful the focus on transparency as something embedded in the practice of science, rather than the writing-up and publishing of an article, will improve science, and improve the trust in science. As for specific things, I am particularly interested in:

  • Registered Reports, pre-registration, and, in general, the efforts made in stating up front what experiments you are going to be doing, so people understand that you didn’t change your analyses or hypotheses post hoc, or allow undue flexibility in your data analysis.
  • Technology solutions like the ones being developed by the Coko Foundation, https://coko.foundation/, which are focused on building person-led (rather than publisher-led, or legacy process-led) systems to manage various editorial processes for journals, books, preprints, etc.

Publishers tend to shy away from change because they do not want to rock the boat or change a situation that is beneficial to their business practices and value-proposition. I myself believe that publishers should be working alongside researchers and scholars to make things better and, in doing so, ensuring publishers’ ongoing value by participating in, rather than blocking, change.


For for information about how Collabra: Psychology supports open science policies, visit us at collabra.org. You can also follow news and updates at @CollabraOA and via the Collabra: Psychology mailing list.


UC Press and Open Access: A Brief History

At UC Press, open access—the free, immediate, unrestricted, online access to peer-reviewed research and scholarly work—is central to our mission. In celebration of 2017 International Open Access Week (October 23-29), we are highlighting open access publishing initiatives at UC Press, including our Collabra and Luminos publishing programs. This year’s OA Week theme “Open in order to . . . ” is an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly publications openly available. Follow the full blog series here. #OAWeek #OpenInOrderTo


Libraries: Join UC Press in transforming monograph publishing—become a Luminos Member Library today!

Keep up to date with these publications by subscribing to their respective eNewsletters: Luminos, Collabra: Psychology, and Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.


Open Access at UC Press: A Q&A with Interim Director Erich van Rijn

At UC Press, open access—the free, immediate, unrestricted, online access to peer-reviewed research and scholarly work—is central to our mission. In celebration of 2017 International Open Access Week (October 23-29), we are highlighting open access publishing initiatives at UC Press, including our Collabra and Luminos publishing programs. This year’s OA Week theme “Open in order to . . . ” is an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly publications openly available. Follow the full blog series here. #OAWeek #OpenInOrderTo

In our first post in the series, we sit down with Interim Director Erich van Rijn to survey the landscape of OA publishing at UC Press.


University of California Press’s Interim Director, Erich van Rijn

UC Press made a bold move into OA scholarly monograph publishing two years ago, in summer/fall 2015. How is Luminos progressing in 2017?

EVR: Luminos continues to experience growth. Thus far, we’ve published 40 titles in the program. We tend to count publications by fiscal year, and by that measure, Luminos is entering its third year of publication and every fiscal year has seen an increase in the numbers of titles published, with 14 titles released in the program’s first year and 20 in its second, and projections are for 25 titles to be released in this fiscal year.

We’re also pleased to see continued growth in the Luminos Member Library program, whereby libraries who support OA publishing contribute to the direct costs of publishing monographs in the humanities and social sciences, through annual member fees, so that both the benefits—unfettered global access to important research—and the costs of publishing are shared across stakeholders. We currently have 22 supporting libraries who have contributed $158,000 in funding that has been applied to the production costs of Luminos titles.

With print books, success can be measured in book sales, but how do you measure the success of free open access books?

EVR: One metric we track closely is usage. To date we’ve tallied 84,575+ book and chapter downloads for Luminos titles. That’s an average of well over 2,000 downloads per book. These are impressive numbers, especially when compared against the average sales figures for a traditional print monograph. And in the coming year, we are undertaking a partnership with KU Research, JSTOR, Michigan, UCL Press, and Cornell to evaluate Luminos usage data in order to improve reporting and our understanding of how scholars and other readers are using Luminos books.

How are readers finding Luminos titles? Do you have strategies to improve discoverability?

EVR: In addition to making Luminos titles discoverable at DOAB and available on our own platform, we’re hosting Luminos titles for download on Books at JSTOR and on OAPEN, where additional readers have the opportunity to find these books. We’ve been impressed with the activity we’ve seen for Luminos titles on these sites. Books at JSTOR, in particular, has been influential in bringing a larger audience to these titles—we first made titles available on Books at JSTOR in September 2016 and are now seeing 68% of title downloads coming from Books at JSTOR.

What do we have to look forward to in terms of future Luminos content?

EVR: We have a number of new academic publishing partners who have launched book series with Luminos and some of the first titles in these series will be published in the coming year. This spring will see the publication of inaugural books in the Global Korea series (published in partnership with University of California Berkeley’s Institute for Korean Studies) and in the Islamic Humanities series (published in partnership with the Institute for Islamic Humanities at Brown University). Jinsoo An’s Parameters of Disavowal will look at colonial representation in South Korean cinema, while Shenila Khoja-Moolji will examine the interplay of gender, race, religion and power in transnational contexts in Forging the Ideal Educated Girl. Also coming this spring is Eternal Dissident, in which David Meyers, who edits the UCLA Leve Series in Jewish History and Culture, looks at Leonard Beerman, one of the most controversial Reform rabbis of the twentieth century. We’re excited and pleased to be working with esteemed publishing partners in the Luminos program and look forward to bringing future publications in these and other series to Luminos readers over the coming years.

In addition to Luminos, UC Press also has an open access journal program called Collabra that currently publishes two journals, Collabra: Psychology and Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. How has the Collabra program progressed in recent years?

EVR: UC Press first entered open access journal publishing in 2015 with the launch of a multidisciplinary mega-journal called Collabra. The plan for Collabra, even as a mega-journal, was to create a journal that puts the academic community first—in transparency and openness, in scientific and scholarly rigor, and in fair pricing and ethical business practices. Our journals program evolved and expanded in 2016 when Collabra transitioned its research focus to psychology as Collabra: Psychology, and when UC Press acquired Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene from BioOne—but our community-first values remain central to our open access program. Both Collabra: Psychology and Elementa have unique business models that share value with editors and reviewers, and give them the option to keep their earnings or pay them forward to the academic community; both journals also include APC waiver funds for authors who cannot pay the APC; and both journals are fully led by their respective academic communities, and are committed to transparency and open science.

How has UC Press worked to innovate and improve the landscape of open access journals publishing?

EVR: In addition to structuring our journals with high levels of integrity, both academically and in business practice, we are delighted to have partnered with the Coko Foundation to develop an open source journal management system—“xpub”. (eLife and Hindawi are additional partners.) Currently the focus is on the submission and review process, and journals, but this project will not be limited to pre-acceptance process, nor journals, in the longer term. Beyond technological innovation, we have also helped make more people accustomed to open peer review, at Collabra: Psychology, whereby review comments are published alongside accepted articles if the authors chose this option. Open peer review can mean many things in the current scholarly publishing landscape, but Collabra: Psychology’s version of it has been more successful and more adopted than we anticipated—fully 77% of article authors have opted for open peer review—so we are pleased to be incrementally changing norms in the service of more transparent science and publishing.

Does UC Press have plans to launch new open access journals in the Collabra program?

EVR: Yes, we are working on a number of OA journal projects, including one called Civic Sociology, which is related to an idea in sociology which is already gaining popularity, about promoting scholarship oriented toward more effective, ethical interventions into systemic social problems, globally, via a better understanding of local and regional particularities. Watch this space for more!


Libraries: Join UC Press in transforming monograph publishing—become a Luminos Member Library today!

Keep up to date with these publications by subscribing to their respective eNewsletters: Luminos, Collabra: Psychology, and Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.


UC Press announces Luminos/Knowledge Unlatched Partnership

University of California Press is pleased to announce a new partnership between Knowledge Unlatched (KU), whose open access platform works with libraries and publishers to create a sustainable market where scholarly books and journals are freely accessible, and Luminos, University of California Press’s open access program for scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences which publishes freely available digital monographs with the same high standards for selection and peer review as the Press’s traditional book program.

Over its first two years of existence, Luminos—which relies on a transformative funding model in which both costs and benefits are shared among all who benefit from publication—has published 38 new open access monographs and edited volumes, including its newest releases Taiwan and China: Fitful Embrace, edited by Lowell Dittmer, and Citizen Outsider: Children of North African Immigrants in France, by Jean Beaman.

“We are delighted to partner with KU to increase our outreach capabilities to libraries worldwide wishing to support open access publishing through the Luminos library membership program,” says Erich van Rijn, Interim Director of University of California Press.

“We believe that it is time to help libraries support Open Access in a more systematic way, and KU is supporting this with one central platform that unites different models for different kinds of content,” says Dr. Sven Fund, Managing Director of Knowledge Unlatched.

Read Knowledge Unlatched’s press release.

To keep apprised of Luminos news, subscribe to the Luminos eNewsletter.


Collabra: Psychology Now the Official Journal of SIPS

Collabra: Psychology is delighted to announce its new affiliation as the official journal of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS). SIPS will oversee editorial responsibilities for the journal, while University of California Press remains its publisher. Dan Morgan, UC Press publisher of Collabra: Psychology, says of the new affiliation:

“With our shared focus on rigorous science and improving norms for publishing practices, and an increasing cross-over of people involved with both, it feels natural to formally affiliate Collabra: Psychology and SIPS. Both entities’ missions are amplified by this collaboration.”

Simine Vazire, UC Davis, and Chair, SIPS Executive Committee also says of the partnership:

“We are thrilled that Collabra: Psychology will be the official journal of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science. This joint project will be vital to helping us fulfill our mission. Collabra: Psychology provides an outlet for psychological research that exemplifies the values of SIPS, and presents an opportunity for SIPS to help change norms and incentives in the field of psychology .”

Collabra: Psychology and SIPS are excited to unite in a shared mission to improve psychological science, and scholarly communications broadly, through policies that support transparency, openness, diversity, and rigorous, ethical scientific research practices. To learn more about how Collabra: Psychology currently reinforces these values, check out our website at collabra.org.

See the press release from UC Press here.


7 New #OpenAccess Articles from Elementa

An open access scientific journal, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene’s mission is Open Science for Public Good. With the ultimate objective of publishing original research that accelerates solutions to challenges presented by this era of human impact, Elementa is uniquely structured into six distinct knowledge domains, led by six Editors-in-Chief.

Check out 7 new #OpenAccess articles from Elementa, and consider becoming an Elementa author! Visit elementascience.org to see Calls for Papers from each knowledge domain.


Major impact of climate change on deep-sea benthic ecosystems
Andrew K. Sweetman, et al.
Domains: Earth & Environmental Science, Ecology, Ocean Science

Analysis of local-scale background concentrations of methane and other gas-phase species in the Marcellus Shale
J. Douglas Goetz, et al.
Domain: Atmospheric Science
(Part of a Forum: Oil and Natural Gas Development: Air Quality, Climate Science, and Policy)

Scape goats, silver bullets, and other pitfalls in the path to sustainability
D. G. Webster
Domain: Sustainability Transitions
(Part of a Special Feature: Envisioning Sustainable Transitions)

Legacies of stream channel modification revealed using General Land Office surveys, with implications for water temperature and aquatic life
Seth M. White, et al.
Domain: Ecology

Leveraging agroecology for solutions in food, energy, and water
Marcia DeLonge, Andrea Basche
Domain: Sustainability Transitions
(Part of a Forum: Food-energy-water systems: Opportunities at the nexus)

Ten-year chemical signatures associated with long-range transport observed in the free troposphere over the central North Atlantic
B. Zhang, et al.
Domain: Atmospheric Science


Want to browse more recent content from ElementaClick here for recently published articles, and follow Elementa on Facebook and @elementascience for the latest updates.


Wake Up and Smell the Money

by Vicki Mayer, author of Almost Hollywood, Nearly New Orleans: The Lure of the Local Film Economy

Probably no one in media studies loves tax policy. Or economic multiplier equations. Or state budget battles. I know that was not my own hook into becoming a doctor of all things fun and entertaining. And yet these things matter more than ever.

For media fans, tax breaks and other incentives are the tinder for what ignites Hollywood media production, and what sets many corporations, developers, economic policy wonks, and speculators on fire. Dedicated public money for a multi-million-dollar film shoot means less risk for studios and Wall Street investors who raise the financing. Public coffers for media infrastructure flip property values and attract schemers to house and entertain the industry’s mobile workforces. In the most ‘successful’ sites outside of Southern California, Hollywood production stokes the hopes for permanent jobs and stable redevelopment; all the while fueling a shadow economy of tradable tax credits and venture capital bubbles.

For myself, though, the language of multipliers became material, more visceral, when I couldn’t park within a block of my own doorstep because there was film crew who had rented my street for a week. I had an infant and groceries. It was summer hot. Everyone and everything was melting while I passed the trailers and catering. Nothing pisses a new mom off like parking. At least, that moment made me think: Who can own the street? How and how much does it cost?

It didn’t take long digging around production spaces that I realized that ‘no parking’ is the burden of only those privileged enough to own space, or even a car for that matter, in a place media producers find desirable and city governments find bankable. This opaque economy of public money for private incentivizing meant borrowing the budgets dedicated to education, health, and social services. Film students, for example, unknowingly traded in increased fees and debts in exchange for the promise they might work their way up a narrow and precarious ladder to full-time work. Unemployed creative workers have found themselves caught between precious few well-paid gigs, explosive rental prices, and the tatters of a safety net for check-ups. After 15 years of seeding Hollywood South, Louisiana is still one of the poorest and most unequal states in the U.S.

So next time we praise the series made in Atlanta, or Austin, or Albuquerque, it might be time for media studies to pay attention to who really got paid for that production, and if they get their money’s worth.


Vicki Mayer is Professor of Communication at Tulane University. She is coeditor of the journal Television & New Media and author or editor of several books and journal articles about media production, creative industries, and cultural work.

A free ebook version of Vicki’s new book, Almost Hollywood, Nearly New Orleans, is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Download a copy now.

You can also follow her on Academia.edu.