Aggregation as a ModelAggregation as a Model
for a Substainable Economy ?for a Substainable Economy ?
The case of Cultural JournalsThe case of Cultural Journals
Rosario GarraRosario Garra
Ideas for a Possible World
Ideas for a Possible World
ECLAP 2012 Conference
Workshop Open Access 2002-2012: “Condition of Possibilities”
Florence, 2012 May 8
Issues of this ReportIssues of this Report
I. CRIC: WHY THIS PROJECT?
II. A FRAGMENTED ARCHIPELAGO
III. THE RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE INSTITUTIONS
IV. AN UNSOLVED PROBLEM
V. DIGITAL CONTENTS: PRODUCTS AND COMMON GOODS
VI. TOWARDS A NET COOPERATION?
Workshop Open Access 2002-2012Workshop Open Access 2002-2012
Ideas for a Possible World
Ideas for a Possible World
Cric: Why This Project? The HistoryCric: Why This Project? The History
• The “Coordinamento Riviste Italiane di Cultura” (Cric,
Coordinating Committee for Italian Cultural Journals)
was founded in Rome in April 2003.
• Cric was originally created to represent interdisciplinary and
non academic Italian Journals.
• The project involved associations which already existed and
which shared interests and activities in the fields of research
and cultural production such as the Aici (representing the
Italian Cultural Foundations) and the Writer National Union.
• Cric always led its project in full autonomy, organizing and
financing its activities and gradually extending its offer to
new journals and publishers
• After that, some leading publishers in the Humanities and
Social Science, joined Cric (Casalini, Clueb, Le Lettere,
Olschki, Serra, Storia e Letteratura)
• Actually Cric represents almost 300 journal titles.
Cric: Why This Project? The ProgramCric: Why This Project? The Program
Main aims of CRIC are:
• to encourage the dialogue among small publishing houses and
cultural projects of journals, which otherwise can hardly
aggregate because of their fragmentation
• to facilitate the meeting between cultural periodicals and their
potential readers (organizing and participating cultural debates,
collective stands in Fairs, Internet communication)
• to disseminate knowledge and reading journals in the circuits
of education and information, through collective promotion
projects aimed at schools, universities, libraries, mass-media
• to increase the distribution of publications in bookshops and
identify and test new and alternative sales channels.
The stand of Cric at International Book
Fair Turin 2011
A Fragmented ArchipelagoA Fragmented Archipelago
The field of culture periodicals is composed of many
networks (institutional, associational, editorial, academic
It is difficult to fully understand the system because of the
lack of data, information and analysis. There are no
statistics about journals circulation.
In 2006, Cric started a research on a sample of 100
publications. Just in April 2012, CRIC asked AGCOM
(Communication Regulatory Authority) to access ROC
(which is the Register of Communications Operators), in
order to extend and update information about journals.
A Fragmented ArchipelagoA Fragmented Archipelago
The following combination can be seen at the
10 major publishing companies: 400 titles
Foundation and cultural institutions: 100 titles
Humanities and Social Science: 650 titles
Voluntary Sector: 250 titles
Theology and Religious Culture: 60 titles
Literary Reviews, online blogs: 200 titles or more
Journals Economic StructureJournals Economic Structure
Cric 2006 Report
Publishers 42 %
Foundations 35 %
Persons 17 %
Publish Company 72%
The owners and the publishers are often separate figures.
The founders and curators of Journals frequently turn to a Publish
Company for the management of the publishing and the marketing.
The Distribution ChannelsThe Distribution Channels
The Subscriptions represent the main, and often almost exclusive,
circulation channel for periodicals over the Italian market and
abroad. In the last years, less and less libraries and bookshops
choose to have journals in their collections.
Economic Model of the JournalsEconomic Model of the Journals
Is a Trade Model sustainable as exclusive way of
circulation of the Journals?
The large constellation of cultural projects, publishing
initiatives and networks makes it almost impossible to
identify a standard profile for a cultural journal, a single
model of economic and productive management, a
consolidated and shared circuit for the distribution and
diffusion of journals and cultural magazines.
The diversity in strategies in the current system of
information production allows the dialectic coexistence of
management models followed both by commercial and
non-commercial participants, both based on the
assumption that information is a “public good”.
(Yochai Benkler, La ricchezza della rete, Università Bocconi Editore 2007)
The Relationship with the InstitutionsThe Relationship with the Institutions
One step back: The Institute of Book and Reading
When Cric was founded in 2003, I was working as a
consultant of the Institute of Book and Reading, a board of
The Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activity.
The cooperation between Cric and the Ministry represented
a new opportunity for combining, among the Institute’s
activities of public interest, projects and contents of
It was then possible to start a collaboration between Cric
and the Institute for the Book, very similar to the one
between Ent’Revue and the Centre du Livre in France and
between Arce and the Ministry for Culture in Spain.
I personally took care of some initiatives of the Institute:
the creation of the website <Italia Pianeta Libro> and the
First Report on Cultural Journals in Italy.
The Book and Reading NetworkThe Book and Reading Network
The website of the Institute for
the Book “Italia Pianeta Libro”
was created in May 2005, with
the objective to increase the
knowledge and synergies in the
book’s world, and was meant to
become a national reference
point for the whole community
of operators and readers.
Information and data about
Books and Journals were
included in the website.
The services online dedicated to
the Publishing and Reading were
gathered in the Portal of the
Biblioteca Digitale Italiana (the
Italian Digital Library and Cultural
Tourism Network) called “Internet
Culturale” – opened in 2005 by the
General Direction of the Librarian
Heritage of the MiBAC – which also
provides access to the archives of
libraries and cultural institutions
and to the national library
Catalogue and service search
Access to Journals’ Digital ContentsAccess to Journals’ Digital Contents
The site opened specific
communication spaces about
the Guide “Cultural Journals
in Italy” (which was available
in print format as well),
the Section “Reading
workshops” and the blog
dedicated to the main themes
of cultural debate in journals.
In this way, articles and other
online resources were made
available to be used in
projects organized by Cric in
schools and libraries.
The website “Italia Pianeta Libro”The website “Italia Pianeta Libro”
An Unsolved ProblemAn Unsolved Problem
Thanks to these initiatives, the relevance of cultural journals
and their synergy with institutional projects for promotion
and digitizing of cultural heritage was more and more
taken into account.
This kind of relationship with institutions, which involved
journals in libraries, publishing and reading promotion,
was interrupted in 2009, when the Institute was replaced
by the Centre for the Book and Reading (Cepell) which
radically cut the funding for these projects already in
Contributions for high cultural value journals were reduced
and stopped, in discontinuity with tasks assigned to the
Ministry and foreseen by law n. 416 /1981.
Cric’s President Valdo Spini clearly denounced: “now we
need a strong relationship with a precise national
reference point. What is needed is a true Journal Project
at the Ministry, set up with associations like ours”.
(Session at the Cabinet’s VII Commission for Culture on the 18th of July 2011)
A New Journal ProjectA New Journal Project
The “Journal Project” should aim at the solution of
structural problems in the sector: circulation in
bookshops and libraries, bridging the digital divide, new
funding and communication models.
My personal idea is a distinction in financial aids, in line
with the new Monti Government settings. The attitude
could be: “I give you a contribution for something that
you are going to do, in order to help you reach your
A significant financial support could be given to a small
group of journals, whose cultural contribution is
considered unique, on the basis of renewed evaluation
All journals should be given the strategic support necessary
to renew communication and distribution models, in
order to reach new readers and allow self-financing.
PARIS - SALON
PARIS - SALON DEDE LA REVUE
Digital Contents: Main PhenomenaDigital Contents: Main Phenomena
• On-line journals – both the ones migrating content from
paper to digital form and the ones stemming from
Internet – are increasing and have already embraced the
participative philosophy of Internet and Web 2.0 (i.e.
literary blogs, political journals)
• Humanities and Social Sciences (Shs) Journals - both
academic and “militant” - (traditionally attached to
printed paper) are adapting to changes that crucially
affect scientific and functional communication.
• The Open Access movement finds widespread consensus
in the scientific community, universities and libraries.
• Free access Journals need however search engines,
devices and channel of circulation, which actually are
controlled by global publishing and technology groups.
• The growth of Google puts into question the traditional
distinction between commercial and non-commercial
circuits of digital editions.
Digital Contents: Products and Common GoodsDigital Contents: Products and Common Goods
Within this framework:
• Both the protection of traditional marketing channels and
the safeguard of copyright in the digital realm and on the
Internet cannot be narrowed down to a merely defensive
• The matters concerning intellectual property and the
identification of new possible models for a sustainable
economy are of primary importance in the publishing
world and in the field related to all of the contradictory
transformations investing the complex sphere of
• There is a variety of models and solutions, also for Open
Access publishing, that can be experimented in the
author-publisher-reader chain, and that can be traced
back to the so called “gold road” and “green road”.
Digital Contents: the Problem of EvaluationDigital Contents: the Problem of Evaluation
• There are several elements interconnecting issues of the
digitizing and the criteria of evaluation of the quality of
• The National Agency for University Evaluation and Research
(Anvur) has stressed the need to prompt the best Italian
journals to become part of the most important national and
international databases, by matching the requirements of Peer
review and Impact Factor.
• Anvur has provided some relevant comments, adding that:
“great effort shall be undergone in order to catalogue journals
published in Italy (…), so as to improve their comparability and
transparency”. Despite this, Italian Literature Journals Ranking,
published in April 2012 by Anvur, has given rise to discussion
• SHS Journals, in fact, are often characterized by the
interdisciplinary nature of knowledge and by no clear distinction
among scientific and professional, didactic, documentary texts.
The “cultural paradigms” are based on consensus in the public
sphere, as a productive and critical relationship between
science and society, and on the strong connection with the
national language and tradition.
Towards a Net Cooperation?Towards a Net Cooperation?
• To sum up, a consideration can be drawn as regards the
potential of the Net in order to strengthen the
dissemination of published texts along clearly defined
editorial guidelines, copyright systems, models of
economic sustainability, communicative strategies, with
their differences and similarities.
• Are scholarly journals and cultural magazines going
towards a cooperation amongst nets?
• A cooperation aimed at strengthening the infrastructure
of knowledge by the different parties – mainly Schools,
Universities, Cultural Institutions, Archives and Libraries
– seems a cogent issue at present, also to boost the
social and economic development.
• CRIC and important Publishing Companies associated at
CRIC contribute, with their contents, to the Casalini
Torrossa Full Text Collection.
A National AgendaA National Agenda
Within this perspective, some lines of contact emerge which
may lead to a possible alliance of the “academy”, as it
moves towards the self-management of its own scientific
heritage in Open Access systems, and cultural
professionals and enterprises, in keeping with the scopes
of the Open Access 2002-2012 Programme.
• The French Model (Revues.org, Cairn.info, Persée)
clearly demonstrates that the cooperation between the
private and the public sectors encourages the
development of a navigation space that may include the
whole set of articles in the fields of the Humanities and
• The time has come for our own National Agenda that
may give way to a series of reflections and decisions on
the future of cultural journals, one in which different
stakeholders of the digital offer may discuss and
In your paper you mentioned Open Access practices, butIn your paper you mentioned Open Access practices, but
is Cric actively promoting free access to the content ofis Cric actively promoting free access to the content of
the journals it represents?)the journals it represents?)
“We would do it”. This is something more of a wish.
Cric has answered to the Call for Proposal (2009) of CRUI
and SIAE in matter of Copyright Culture.
Our project has regarded the construction of a prototype
portal on the web, testing different models of diffusion of
the SHS Journals. The Project was presented by Cric
with the partnership of CILEA and CSS (Italian
Committee for the Social Sciences) but was not chosen.
The use of OJS - Open Journal System – would allow the
participants to publish and make avaiable the articles,
both for subscription or for free, as a voluntary choice.
Aggregation on dedicated networks is the way to achieve
effective communication and widespread dissemination
of journals contents.
Apart from the technical problems that hamper theApart from the technical problems that hamper the
dissemination of cultural journals, do you think there aredissemination of cultural journals, do you think there are
other factors that should be taken into account?other factors that should be taken into account?
In the twentieth century, cultural journals were privileged
places for creative writing, critical analysis, discussion of
ideas, production and circulation of knowledge.
But the voice of journals, based on the fertile space
between the book and the newspaper, gradually has
been overshadowed in the media arena and in the
The journals will regain their role if they are able to
preserve the sense of cultural heritage, continue to pose
questions to contemporary times and construct points of
view for the future.