Zombie Lingua Recruitment

« previous post | next post »

My sources say that Elsevier is now actively trying to recruit scholars for the editorial team of Zombie Lingua (see these Language Log posts for the background: "Lingua is dead. Long live Glossa!", Lingua Disinformation"). Here's a redacted sample of what they are sending to people:

Subject: Editorial Position Opportunity

Dear Professor […]

First please let me introduce myself as the […] at Elsevier responsible for the Social Science Journals, including our Linguistics portfolio.

I hope you do not mind me contacting you out of the blue like this, but as you may be aware we are currently looking for a new editorial team to head up the journal, Lingua. In discussions regarding this your name was suggested as a potential candidate to be part of this team. If this is something you would be interested in considering and would like to discuss this further, with no obligations, then please let me know. I would be more than happy to provide more details of the role and responsibilities.

Thank you for your time in considering this proposal. I look forward to your reply and hope to discuss this further with you in the near future.

Best regards […]

Needless to say, I'm hoping that the community is sufficiently immunized by now and that Elsevier will fail to attract linguists to stand up a zombie version of Lingua, which would not have any legitimacy as a successor to the journal's proud tradition. The true successor to Lingua is Glossa.

By the way: Glossa is now open for business. The first few submissions have already been made.


  1. Pflaumbaum said,

    December 15, 2015 @ 8:06 pm

    "If this is something you would be interested in considering and would like to discuss this further…"

    I wonder if they sent one to John Ross? They could definitely use his help.

  2. Stephen Nightingale said,

    December 15, 2015 @ 10:23 pm

    Curious how the begging letter doesn't make reference to any generous terms of remuneration.

  3. Matías Guzmán Naranjo said,

    December 16, 2015 @ 4:46 am

    Well, I don't know, if they offered me a good salary and the option to remain completely anonymous…

  4. Alon Lischinsky said,

    December 16, 2015 @ 7:47 am

    @Stephen Nightingale: remuneration for academic journal editors and editorial board members is anything but generous

  5. Stephen Nightingale said,

    December 16, 2015 @ 12:12 pm

    Reply to "Alon Lischinsky said",

    Right, but the emergence of a public option should spur competition, and the only rational way to get support for high priced materials is to (start to) pay the contributors. I'm just musing when and whether Elsevier will start to 'up the ante' in that regard. Now that scaring people into working for and publishing for free in high priced journals is lessening as a threat to their academic careers.

    [It just amazes me that it has taken so long, since 1994, and the emergence of the Web as a viable public dissemination medium, for this to come to pass.]

    Stephen N.

  6. Jerry Friedman said,

    December 16, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

    Stephen Nightingale: Glossa hasn't quite reached the point of letting people publish for free. As you can see here, the charge for publishing an article will be 300 pounds, much less than Elsevir's charge for open-access publication. However, a fund will pay the fee for authors whose grants or institutions don't cover publication charges. (I wonder whether that's common. Will grants and institutions stop covering publication charges?)

    As for remuneration the outgoing executive editor of Lingua, Johan Rooryck, says he's giving up a salary of 5000 euros a year, for two or three days of work a week, and will work at Glossa for free, according to this article.

  7. Jonathan Badger said,

    December 17, 2015 @ 8:50 am

    @Matías Guzmán Naranjo, @Stephen Nightingale

    Don't know if it is different in linguistics, but at least in the natural sciences, academic editors and editorial board members of journals are done on an entirely volunteer basis. There's a spot for "Service to the community" on our CVs and we list our journal affiliations there. That's the only reward. Although in the case of Zombie Lingua it sounds like serving there would be more of "Disservice to the Community".

  8. Matías Guzmán Naranjo said,

    December 17, 2015 @ 10:10 am

    @Jonathan Badger

    That was the joke! In linguistics it is also mostly for free. Also, if anyone actually takes that job they would become pariahs in the community.

  9. David Marjanović said,

    December 21, 2015 @ 2:34 pm

    says he's giving up a salary of 5000 euros a year

    What. Seriously?

    academic editors […] of journals are done on an entirely volunteer basis

    There are exceptions who get symbolic sums like 250 $/year. Those are rare, though.

  10. Jerry Friedman said,

    December 21, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

    David Marjanović: That's what the article I linked to says. I haven't tried to check it.

RSS feed for comments on this post