[Humanist] 26.919 open access

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Mar 28 07:23:30 CET 2013


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 919.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Daniel Allington <daniel.allington at open.ac.uk>            (23)
        Subject: Re:  26.914 open access

  [2]   From:    "James O'Sullivan" <josullivan.c at gmail.com>              (216)
        Subject: Re:  26.914 open access


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2013 09:15:27 +0000
        From: Daniel Allington <daniel.allington at open.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re:  26.914 open access
        In-Reply-To: <20130327061307.2C98B2DD9 at digitalhumanities.org>

> 
> --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 11:39:59 +0100
>        From: Patrick Sahle <sahle at uni-koeln.de>
>        Subject: Re:  26.903 open access
>        In-Reply-To: <20130323073910.3A8E32DD9 at digitalhumanities.org>
> 
> allegations in it. People who will decide on whether to hire you are not 
> stupid. They know about the reality of peer-reviewing: that it is often 
> fake, often driven by who knows who, who likes who, or by other social, 
> political or psychological factors. Nobody is hired for having dull 
> articles in peer-reviewed journals. People are hired for having created 
> the impression that they are creative, intelligent, effective and that 
> they will fit to the requirements of a certain position. It's more 
> likely to leave that impression with a thoughtful blog or an innovative 
> article in a not-peer-reviewed journal than with a mediocre article in a 
> peer-reviewed journal.

I've been quibbling with James over the meaning of 'free' and the desirability of openness as an end in itself, but I must stick up for him here. In the national context with which I am familiar (which is, I think, the one in which James is hoping to find work), people are hired (at least as far as research is concerned) for having published articles - dull or otherwise - in the right peer-reviewed journals and monographs - dull or otherwise - in the right publishers' lists as well (let's not forget it) as for having received external research grants. Non peer-reviewed articles count for virtually nothing, and a blog for even less. Being creative, intelligent, etc may count for something but only in choosing between people who've ticked the right boxes in terms of publications (and, ideally, pulled in some grant income as well). 

People on hiring committees behave this not because they are stupid but because they are given very clear instructions not to do otherwise. And that is not an allegation: it's what the committee members say. They say it to unsuccessful applicants and they say it to their colleagues. I've heard it any number of times in both capacities.

Perhaps things are different in Germany.

Daniel

-- 
The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2013 11:59:56 +0000
        From: "James O'Sullivan" <josullivan.c at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  26.914 open access
        In-Reply-To: <20130327061307.2C98B2DD9 at digitalhumanities.org>


I'd have to agree with Daniel, when he says that "creators of all kinds may
have very good reasons for wanting to restrict the proliferation of
derivative works." Indeed, as Daniel points out, open access isn't always
feasible for a project. This was my initial point - that while open access
is all well and good in principle, the reality is such that many creators,
as Daniel says, have reasons why they don't want / can't release products
as open source. Economic reasons, to my mind, are at the fore of this list.
But I suppose that that could well be debated.

I have to disagree with Patrick. From what I have seen as a researcher,
peer-reviewed publications are at the cornerstone of employability. Patrick
is of course right when he says that people "are hired for having created
the impression that they are creative, intelligent, effective and that they
will fit to the requirements of a certain position", but to say that this
impression is more likely to be achieved through "a thoughtful blog or an
innovative article in a not-peer-reviewed journal than with a mediocre
article in a peer-reviewed journal" isn't quite accurate. Peer-review is at
the heart of scholarship - it's the process that we depend upon for
validation of your work as scholars. Something that isn't peer-reviewed may
well be scholarship, but it is not validated scholarship. Patrick is right
of course when he points to the failings in the peer-review process. Many
of our field's biggest conferences, for examples, aren't blind, or you see
the same band of colleagues appearing again and again. Names carry more
weight than content, for sure. At DH this year, I had a proposal rejected,
and of my reviewers, all but one admitted to not being familiar with the
topic. So I had 4/5 reviewers considering a proposal on a topic that they
admittedly had no familiarity with. This same proposal has recently secured
acceptance to a journal of significant standing (with minor revisions). So
yes, the peer-review process isn't without fault. BUT, we need peer-review
if we, as a community of scholars, are to at least attempt to validate each
other's work; if we are to strive towards a model of scholarship based on
some sense of objectivity. Venues that don't offer peer-review do not
satisfy this critical scholarly requirement, and thus, I genuinely think
that employers don't place as much weight in them. They want to see a track
record of community-validated scholarship, and only peer reviewed journals
can provide that, and many of the journals that carry the most prestige are
still not open access. There is no doubt in my mind that a good article in
an OUP journal is far more use to my resume than an amazing article posted
on my blog. And of course, then there is the book. Since starting my PhD I
am yet to find a book, outside of Siemens and Schreibman, that I require
that is open access. Not only are most books not open access, they are
extraordinarily expensive. But saying this, I know that if I am ever in the
position to have a book published, I will grasp at the opportunity with
both hands, knowing that it will add another dimension to my CV.
Unfortunately, my commitment to open access will, again, *have *to take a
back seat. It's easy for tenured professors to talk about open access --
it's another for younger scholars who have yet to secure a long-term
position. For us, it's all about our resume as scholars.


-- 
*James O'Sullivan *
@jamescosullivan  http://twitter.com/jamescosullivan **
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