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3:54pm on Friday, 18th November, 2005:



One of the problems of being a computer games academic is that there's nowhere to public research into computer games. Nearly all the journals are for other subjects, and you have to report the games from their perspective. I know of three that don't.

Firstly, there's Game Studies. This is excellent, but doesn't count for Research Assessment Exercise purposes as it doesn't have a hard copy. Yes, we're talking this degree of antiquated academic snobbishness here...

Secondly, there's the Journal of Game Development. This does have a print copy, and is up to issue 2. It concentrates heavily on game development, though, as its name suggests, and it's only published 7 articles in those 2 issues. The review board has no names on it I recognise, but I expect it would accept papers on my kind of subject matter (the first edition had an introduction by Ted Castronova).

There's a new games journal coming out shortly, Games and Culture. I'm actually on the editorial board for this one, and there are plenty of names there I know. I'm hoping it's going to be a success.

Anyway, I thought I'd try to get Games and Culture taken by Essex University library, along with the Journal of Game Development if possible. After all, if we're expanding into computer game research, we should have the journals we need to hand.

I'd have had more chance recommending them to buy all 3,000+ Perry Rhodan novels.

It turns out that the library has cut back on journals somewhat. It asked all departments to tell them which journals they didn't need, then later it told them to get rid of a certain percentage of those they were still taking, and then it kept chipping away and chipping away until all departmental journal subscriptions were cut to the bone. This year, its own budget was cut by £75,000. Now if a department wants to subscribe to a new journal, it has to cancel an existing journal of a similar yearly subscription fee to make room for it; of course, as all departments are already operating at maximum pain threshhold, that's not going to happen. In my case, it's worse in that my department (Electronics Systems Engineering) is accredited by the Institute of Electrical Engineers, and they'd want to know why a journal sponsored either by them or by the IEEE was cancelled to make way for one that wasn't.

Ah, the life of an academic.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).