I noticed last week a certain amount of disgruntled tweeting about the British Sociological Association, mainly to do with the cost of attending the annual conference and the rather rigid membership fee structure. Several anguished souls also opined that the BSA was becoming irrelevant. Personally I've always believed that to be the case. I've never been a member nor felt the need to become one and I couldn't name a colleague that is a member - though they might just be hiding a guilty secret.
On the topic of relevance I'm prompted to wonder how long it will be before the BSA's journals become largely irrelevant? This thought was occasioned by someone mentioning to me that my original blog about the Great British Class Survey is already featuring on undergraduate reading lists - a quick Google search confirmed that this was true - and in teaching materials intended for A level students.
I suppose this is some sort of vindication of academic blogging. But it also raises the question of why, even with the widespread adoption of online first publication, it takes so long for traditional journal articles to see the light of day?
A case in point is the comment on the GBCS I have forthcoming at one of the BSA journals. Almost 6 weeks ago I received the page proofs with a request to turn them around in five days. I did it in three and a half hours and yet more than a month later there is still no sign of it and no indication of when it will appear. It will, of course, be years before it enters the print version of the journal, but why the delay in publishing online first? Perhaps it's being saved up for a bit of first anniversary GBCS puffing. Cui bono?