[Humanist] 28.175 "silos" of knowledge

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Jul 4 00:35:36 CEST 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 175.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2014 12:28:30 +0100
        From: Martin Wynne <martin.wynne at it.ox.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re:  28.167 "silos" of knowledge
        In-Reply-To: <20140701203515.8346C3A60 at digitalhumanities.org>

On 01/07/14 21:35, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
> I was very amused by Joanna Williams claim in the review:
> *****
> Disciplines provide the structure for managing the process of peer
> review that dictates which academics get hired, published, awarded
> grants or promoted.
> *****
> I am assuming she missed the Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this
> year that suggested a lottery would be just as effective as the NIH
> peer review process for research grants:
> http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/news/10.1063/PT.5.8042
> While the op-ed was an opinion piece, the authors were relying upon
> empirical studies of the grant process.

The apparent malfunction of the academy's processes in one country (in a 
domain very different to the humanities) hardly invalidates the basic 
point which you quote. In fact, this would only be valid evidence if the 
existing review process in the NIH was strongly based within traditional 
disciplines and entirely isolated from, and unaffected by, current 
trends towards interdisciplinarity, which I doubt.

The key point made in this respect by Jacobs is that authority for 
hiring and rewards in inter-disciplinary centres tend to shift from the 
realm of academics and into the hands of administrators. That might 
sound worse than a lottery to some.

Martin Wynne
IT Services, University of Oxford
Oxford e-Research Centre
The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities
Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics
Director of User Involvement, CLARIN ERIC

martin.wynne at it.ox.ac.uk

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