In the last few weeks, I have read some thought-provoking articles/essays/posts on scholarly publishing. My ideas are still percolating but I invite you to check out these links and contribute your thoughts in the comments about some of the questions raised by these writers:

If, as the MLA has repeatedly recommended, we should be moving away from the proto-book model of graduate dissertations, what should we be moving towards?

How do we, as scholars, ensure equitable and open access to our published research?

Has it been your experience, like Aimee Morrison’s (below), that “the more you write, the more you write”? (That is, that writing that doesn’t “count” because it isn’t peer reviewed, for instance, can facilitate increased writing output in the kinds of writing that do “count”? )

How have you successfully integrated blogging (and twitter?) into your research and teaching?

How have you been addressing these various issues of access and digital publishing  in your own publishing practices?

1) Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Networking the Field. Planned Obsolescence.

“But imagine for the moment what our writing lives might be like if we did each have our own platform. What if you were able to subscribe to a particular scholar, following her work over time and engaging with her as it comes into being? What if she followed your work as well, and the conversations you had around your shared work were able to produce more new collaborative projects? What if others were able to follow those conversations in process, providing additional input as you worked? What if those conversations produced a community of scholars that you trusted, a community that you could rely on to alert you to new work by new scholars to whom you ought to start paying attention?”

2) Laura McKenna, “Locked in the Ivory Tower: Why JSTOR Imprisons Academic Research.” The Atlantic.

“Step back and think about this picture. Universities that created this academic content for free must pay to read it. Step back even further. The public — which has indirectly funded this research with federal and state taxes that support our higher education system — has virtually no access to this material, since neighborhood libraries cannot afford to pay those subscription costs. Newspapers and think tanks, which could help extend research into the public sphere, are denied free access to the material. Faculty members are rightly bitter that their years of work reaches an audience of a handful, while every year, 150 million attempts to read JSTOR content are denied every year.”

3) Jonathan Sterne, “Work for Hire and Oxford University Press.” Superbon.

“Steven Shaviro recently posted about pulling out of an Oxford University Press collection because they wanted to define his contribution as “work for hire.” This is objectionable for lots of reasons, but in particular because academics should retain the right to be associated with the ideas we produce, and so long as we’re above board about it, we should be allowed to develop those ideas and republish them in other forms (for instance, as part of a monograph).”

4) Adeline Koh, “The Challenges of Digital Scholarship.” Profhacker.

“These challenges are both important and productive. They encourage new, heated and serious debate as to what constitutes standards of excellence in the humanities. The answers to these questions cannot be easily answered, and require the interrogation of many of our long-held beliefs about value and relevance. By challenging us to rethink our notions of merit, digital work will ultimately lead to strengthening our understanding and configuration of the profession.”

5) Aimee Morrison, “The More She Sleeps, The More She Sleeps.” Hook and Eye.

“Looking around at my friends and colleagues online and off, the conclusion I’ve come to is this: The more you write, the more you write. I’m thinking particularly about the relationship of informal, lower- or different-stakes writing to the much higher-stakes academic writing, the peer-reviewed articles, the dissertations, and the books. Extra-particularly, I’m thinking about the role that blogging plays in my practices and productivity as a writer. I have written a ton more, in a ton more venues, and a ton more easily* since I began blogging. That’s the truth!”

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2 thoughts on “Links Round-up: Digital Platforms, Open Access and the Future of Scholarly Publishing

  1. Great post! I’m not sure how realistic it is, but I like the idea of different forms of dissertations. It used to be possible (and I think still is in the UK) to edit a piece as a dissertation.

  2. Here’s another link to add to the list–

    Tenured Radical has a post about how she writes — and makes time for writing — during term time. She, like Aimee Morrison, finds that blogging helps her write more:

    “The more I write the more I write. I think this has something to do with being comfortable in several different writing voices, being able to switch between them with some facility, and not thinking that it is such a big deal to sit down and write. It also has to do with self confidence. Writers write every day, and there’s a reason for that: they don’t lose touch with their writing voices, and they don’t lose touch with the pleasure of getting ideas and words out of their heads and onto the screen.”

    Check out the post here: http://chronicle.com/blognetwork/tenuredradical/2012/02/so-you-think-you-can-write-during-the-semester/

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