A blog is one way to write about the latest research, but the rule for a good blog post is that it should be similar to a mini skirt: long enough to be proper, short enough to be interesting. Every now and then one wants to get the whole story out there. In academic circles that could be via a working paper, journal article or chapter in a book. An alternative process that staff of the School of Economics have recently been a part of is to publish your own Kindle e-book.
Proff Riaan Rossouw and Waldo Krugell have a paper that gives an overview of the history of CGE modelling in South Africa. The work was part of Riaan’s Master’s dissertation and Waldo was the supervisor. The trouble is that the dissertation is not an effective way to disseminate results. Anyone who is interested have to request it via their university’s inter-library loan desk, get it days (or weeks) later and keep it for two weeks before snail mailing it back. We think that students, researchers and policymakers should be interested to know more about the issues and the CGE models used to examine them in South Africa, but journal editors do not care much for reviews. Economics journals want current analysis with new results for their readers. History journals want more about the people and the context, of for example the trade negotiations in which CGEM’s were used in the mid-1990’s, but in this case it was impossible to get from published accounts. Thus they decided to make the overview available through the e-book option.
Over the past few months Riaan took the lead, formatted the Kindle Single and engaged with Amazon’s publishing service. The end result is now available online and we are very happy. The work is out there and available for everyone to download and read. For a specific type of academic content the e-book is the future!