Rozenberg Quarterly: The World Is Not Made Up Of Statistics Alone



October 2014. Although a large part of our content is written by academics, let us start out by saying that Rozenberg Quarterly is not an academic journal in the traditional sense.
We aim to show that science can and should support and advance journalism. In order to do this, we have abandoned several rules that are the norm in the world of academic journals. For instance, we do not limit ourselves to one subject nor do we involve ourselves with ranking-, citation- and review systems.

Academics do not live in an ivory tower. In the information society, science should play a supporting role as well as provide a service by delivering information. In our view, this should even be considered one of its main tasks: Make information widely available. Journalism has evolved from merely bringing the news to analyzing it. Science and academics can and should claim their place and expand their role in this process.
Rozenberg Quarterly aims to show that news analysis and investigative journalism benefit from academic articles and books. And it’s beneficial for all parties involved: Journalists gain access to extra (background) information and delve deeper, while academics are able to show that they do not function isolated and outside of mainstream society.

We started this website in 2011, as a platform to promote Rozenberg Publishers’ publications. After a year, we had the idea that it could evolve into a broader platform.
We made this change for several reasons. First of all, we thoroughly enjoyed the concept as it was crystalizing while we were working on it. The second reason is our conviction that we are doing something new in the world of publishing. Third, we want to show that the time has come to start sharing academic information in a different way than it has been traditionally. Last but certainly not least, we would like to contribute to social debates by making high quality material widely available.
In the past two years we have slowly rolled out this concept. We started by making informative, mostly academic articles and full books available for free. We also created separate, dedicated sections focused on relevant social issues, such as the consequences of urbanization, changing health care policies in the Netherlands, and the dilemmas facing the constitutional state.

Role of social sciences
The last few years have seen an attack on the humanities or social sciences. The neo-liberal society has little eye for the ‘soft’ side of science. Rozenberg Quarterly aims to show that society cannot function without social sciences. The world is not made up of statistics alone.

Role of academic publishers
In the world of academic publishing, the publisher plays a curious part. Academics have succumbed to the fact that the publisher puts a value on articles through review- and ranking systems. The fact that the publisher should provide a service seems to have been forgotten.

The open access culture
Since the open access culture (making academic material available for free) will determine the future of academic publishing, it is time to start looking at the publisher’s role. The Dutch government for instance is demanding that from 2016 all academic publications are available for free. However, as of yet there is no demand or intention to debate how that will work. The system, and thus the role of the publisher, has not changed (yet).

The role of science in society
Academic journals are usually very narrowly limited. For each segment of science, there is a journal. It appears that different disciplines should not be combined.
The argument that offering more than a part of something diminishes the quality of the offering, is a strange one. By setting up and using a good network it is possible to offer readers quality information from different disciplines. We choose a relatively broad selection of subjects in order to highlight the social function of science.

The information society
In today’s world, the sheer quantity of information available to readers is mind boggling, but not always easy to find or easy to read. We want to contribute to the media landscape by making unique information available in a clear, accessible and technologically simple manner in order to reach as many readers as possible.

Global & Local
Rozenberg Quarterly has made the choice to be bilingual, by offering texts in English as well as Dutch. Mostly English, in order to serve the world. But since we are based in the Netherlands, we have also created several Dutch sections. Subjects such as health care and the constitutional state play a part in all our lives. Our approach of these subjects, offering research and background information to the news, is another way of showing how science and society are intertwined.

The role of Rozenberg Quarterly
Rozenberg Quarterly sticks its neck out by showing that the combination of different disciplines creates a unique platform where journalism and science advance and promote each other.

The state of business
The success of Rozenberg Quarterly is quantifiable. In May 2014 we surpassed the 10,000 monthly visitors mark for the first time. It means that this year we will have over 100,000 visits to the website. We expect to double this number in 2015.

The future
We have clear plans for the future. Whether we can realize those is mostly dependent on funding. Everything takes time and money, and so far we have mostly invested our own. Besides asking our readers for donations, we are researching the ways in which RQ could be funded with subsidies. We are debating whether or not we should offer parts of our content behind a pay wall, as well as the question whether to put ads on our site.

We are very happy with how Rozenberg Quarterly is evolving. At the time of writing the site has 256 pages (1536 articles in 17 sections/categories), monthly increasing visits and an increasing number of articles and full text books are submitted for publishing (which we would be happy to do). The fact that 54% of our readership is under the age of 35 is an interesting and fun detail. People are still reading and they will continue to do so.

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Academia Debate

AcademiaJune 3,  2014. Economy, food, environment, energy, water – whatever keyword you choose, the word crisis fits right behind it nowadays. In other words, ‘crisis’ can be attached to every single important social issue.
It goes without saying that as an institution, universities are not immune to this trend. Universities are a part of society and as such are confronted with the same consequences of choices made in the past that society has to deal with. After all, ivory towers do not exist.

In this section we want to present an overview of ongoing debates at universities, as well as offer a platform, by publishing articles that not only analyze how we got to this point, but also consider possible solutions.
Because one thing is clear: A lot of time and energy is focused on pointing out the cause of present issues. Simply put, neo-liberalism is supposed to be the source of much evil. And yes, before you can think of solutions, you have to get to the root of the problem.

Mankind succeeds in making the world a better place, one tiny step at a time. Even if we sometimes feel we are not moving very fast. At those times we see that progress stumbles, but proceeds to pull itself together in order to make another good-natured attempt.

One would expect us to learn from history. That from all those attempts, we manage to keep the good things and get rid of the bad. But it has always been, and will always be, a struggle to come up with solutions that work for all of us. That is what we want to focus on in this section, finding solutions. Besides analyses, we hope to receive ideas that will help all of us move forward. Ideas that prove universities are willing and able to help shape social debate. And ultimately, by doing that, help solve social issues.

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RQ – The Next Phase

RQLogoMaart 2014. Rozenberg Quarterly is doing well, as visits to the site are increasing. In December 2013 we were very content with 5000 visits a month, now in March, we are surpassing 8000 monthly visits.
We are offered more and more material for publishing. Coming soon, among many other articles, is a full text book about colonial education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a collection of essays dealing with the independence struggle in Indonesia. We are also working on two new sections. One about the dilemmas facing the constitutional state (rechtsstaat), the second will contain papers about the relationship between China and the rest of the world.

We have added three sections in the past two months. In the Affordable Housing Section we keep up with news about the consequences of urbanization. The Zorglab2015 section looks at the radical changes awaiting Dutch society now that health care will become a task of local authorities instead of the central government. Radical because this change coincides with massive budget cuts. Finally, in the Orbis section we present 70 essays organized around universal themes from cultures the world over.
Last but not least we still have 400 essays waiting for publication and a lot of plans and ideas for expanding and improving our website.

Rozenberg Quarterly will continue to offer this material for free. Now and in the future.
In order to make this possible, you can help by making a donation to support Rozenberg Quarterly. We welcome and appreciate any donation, you can set the amount yourself or use our 10 or 20 euro donation buttons. See:

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2013 – The Year In Numbers

‘Tis the season for making lists.

Rozenberg Quarterly had 1041 visitors in January 2013. Today, December 18, the stats show 4534 visitors have found us this month. We will reach 5000 monthly visitors for the first time, which makes us more than content. Our goal is to have 10.000 monthly visitors by the end of next year.

Read more

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The Trade, The Dream And The Money

LogoRQSeptember 2013. It’s tempting to begin with a classic from my generation. The times they are a-changin’. And indeed, the times are changing.
In this article I will limit myself to the opportunities those changes can bring to our line of work – academic publishing.
Some of the main subjects of discussion within the trade form the basis of the idea behind Rozenberg Quarterly.

Rozenberg Quarterly (from now on: RQ) is based on the free distribution of academic texts, the open access culture.

Besides academic texts, which strive to tell the readers something about our world, the RQ offers (investigative) journalism and cultural subjects in order to further illustrate the fact that science and academics are not separate from the world in which we live.

The RQ went online in 2011. Initially the website was set up as a marketing tool for Rozenberg Publishers and others. However, we soon realized we could turn it into a “real” magazine, something I always wanted – publish a newspaper. Read more

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Het vak, de droom en het geld

LogoRQJuli 2013. De verleiding is groot om met een klassieker van mijn generatie te beginnen. The times they are a-changin’. En inderdaad, de tijden veranderen.
In dit stuk beperk ik me tot de kansen die de veranderingen binnen het vak  – het wetenschappelijk publiceren – ons bieden.

Twee van de belangrijke onderwerpen waar het vak over discussieert, vormen de basis voor het idee achter de Rozenberg Quarterly.
De Rozenberg Quarterly (vanaf nu: RQ) is gebaseerd op het gratis aanbieden van wetenschappelijke teksten, de open access cultuur.

Dat de RQ naast wetenschappelijke teksten ook (onderzoeks)journalistiek en cultuur aanbiedt, is om te illustreren dat wetenschap niet los van de wereld staat. Op hun beurt vertellen wetenschappelijke artikelen de lezers weer iets over de wereld waarin wij leven.

De RQ ging in 2011 online. De site was bedoeld als marketinginstrument voor o.a. Rozenberg Publishers. Al snel bleek dat het veel leuker was om er een ‘echt’ tijdschrift van te maken.

In april 2011 zijn we opnieuw begonnen en nu met het plaatsen van artikelen, enerzijds gebaseerd op boeken die Rozenberg uitgaf of uitgegeven heeft en  anderzijds op artikelen van mensen uit ons internationale netwerk. Langzaam maar zeker groeide de RQ. Read more

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    Rozenberg Quarterly aims to be a platform for academics, scientists, journalists, authors and artists, in order to offer background information and scholarly reflections that contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue in a seemingly divided world. By offering this platform, the Quarterly wants to be part of the public debate because we believe mutual understanding and the acceptance of diversity are vital conditions for universal progress. Read more...
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