Revitalizing Industrial Relations as an Academic Enterprise
Edited by Charles J. Whalen
Chapter 8: Let a Thousand Journals Bloom: The Precarious Landscape of Labor and Employment Publishing
Immanuel Ness, Bruce Nissen and Charles J. Whalen INTRODUCTION On the surface, recent trends in the publication of labor and employment journals aimed at academics, practitioners and activists seem to belie the widespread concern that the industrial relations ﬁeld – regardless of whether one deﬁnes it narrowly to include only union-management relations or more broadly to include all aspects of work and employment – is in crisis. Online access to journals and consolidation in the publishing industry mean that today’s labor publications are, overall, reaching more readers, resting on a more secure ﬁnancial footing, and producing higherquality products than in the past few decades. Moreover, the evolution of the study of labor and employment over the past few decades has resulted in a proliferation of journals. A closer look, however, reveals a more precarious landscape. The study of work and employment is becoming less its own interdisciplinary area and more a specialty ﬁeld within traditional academic disciplines. There may be more journals, but there is a downside to this fragmentation, especially for those interested in the resolution of society’s labor problems. Corporate publishing also brings risks along with rewards. It can put ﬁnancial pressure on libraries and editorial boards, and is susceptible to political inﬂuence. This chapter surveys and assesses the labor and employment journal terrain. The authors are US-based editors and the chapter, divided into three sections, focuses primarily on labor publishing in the United States. The ﬁrst section traces the evolution of publishing in the labor ﬁeld since...
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