Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ICC8: July 29 - Aug 1, 2018

I just got the ICC's latest call for "proposals" for the 2018 International Conference on Creationism, which you can find at the ICC website.  The proposal deadline is January 31, 2017.

A couple thoughts:

  • John Whitmore from Cedarville University is going to be handling the General Editor's duties this time.  God bless you, John.  That's a lot of work.
  • They're asking for "proposals" this time, which are a bit more elaborate than the abstracts they used to ask for.  This time, they want the keywords, author's bio, suggested reviewer, and references along with the 300-800 word abstract.
  • The most surprising development is the "submission fee:"
A non-refundable submission fee of $25 (per proposal) will be charged whether your proposal is accepted or not. The money will be used to help offset clerical expenses for editing the proceedings.

A typical journal will finance publication of articles by a mix of page charges and subscription costs.  The page charge is based on the number of pages in the finished publication after the paper passes peer review and layout is done.  The alternative open access model charges a larger publication fee to authors and gets rid of the subscription costs.  Anyone on the internet can get an open access paper for free.  In creationist publications, the cost has been born by donations to the publishing organization and subscription fees.  Until now, there have been no author publication fees that I'm aware of for creationist journals.  (Then again, I haven't published anything in JC, ARJ, or CRSQ in quite a while, so things might have changed by now.)

So the ICC's submission fee is a big departure from pretty much any other scholarly publication that I know of.  Maybe somebody's tried this before?  Art shows maybe?  I don't know.  I can imagine what went into their deliberations on this: ICC is expensive, and they need support for professional editing/layout/proofing of papers.  But they don't want to charge a huge publication fee to the authors, which most can't afford.  So they charge a smaller fee at the abstract level, because there are more abstracts to bear the cost.

I get it.  I understand that expenses aren't free, and this is a creative way to keep costs down.  But it's also a deterrent.  Any time you charge for something that used to be free, you're going to discourage potential "customers."  Especially when people are already paying hundreds of dollars to come to the conference.  At the last ICC, I submitted three of my own papers and two others that were co-authored.  Roger Sanders also submitted a paper.  Since Core Academy is poor and heavily dependent on donations, we couldn't do that much this time.  I'd have to think very carefully about this.  Maybe we could submit one paper each.  I don't know.

I suppose you might say, "Oh come on, it's just $25."  I get it, but as a poor person, I also know that $25 could do a lot of good for Core Academy.  Submitting at the level we did last time (six papers) would cost $150, which is a heavy deterrent.  It's easy for a multi-million dollar creation ministry to pay those fees, but we're a multi-dozen dollar ministry that needs to be very careful how we use donor money.  That's just the way it is.

I also foresee a whole new way to complain.  Part of the reality of ICC editing is that there's always somebody furious that their work got rejected.  Now they have to pay a non-refundable $25 submission fee and get no appeal of their proposal rejection.  That's asking for a whole different level of trouble.  John Whitmore, bless your heart, I hope you're ready for this.

I am very interested to see how this "submission fee" experiment works out.  I can imagine a lot of people will be good sports about it, and I can imagine a bunch that will not.  As for Core Academy, our submissions to ICC (if any) will comply with the submission fee.

I would also like to say that submissions to the annual Origins conferences and the Journal of Creation Theology and Science will remain free.  Publication in those venues will also remain free.  The costs are paid by membership fees and conference registrations.  I do not foresee any change in that model.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com. If you enjoyed this article, please consider a contribution to Core Academy of Science. Thank you.