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Collaborate and Revolutionize

January 31, 2012

Whoa, hold the new vocab, Roger, and let’s hark back to that which the humanities are still chewing on: collaboration.

In 2006, the MLA (yup, back to that) Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion issued a report whereby it listed 20 recommendations to forestall a crisis of concurrently increasing and narrowing demands for research. Recognizing that “[t]he percentage of departments ranking scholarship of primary importance (over teaching) has more than doubled since the last comparable survey (1968) […] from 35.4% to 75.7%,” and that “the monograph as a gold standard is confirmed by the expectation in almost one-third of all departments surveyed (32.9%) of progress toward completion of a second book for tenure” (Report, 10), the Task Force calls for “a more capacious conception of scholarship” (#3), the appreciation of “scholarship produced in new media, whether by individuals or in collaboration” (#4), and for departments and institutions to “facilitate collaboration among scholars and evaluate it fairly” (#14). This was 6 years ago. Are we there yet?

‘Tis a glacial pace out there for us humanists, despite all forkers and skywriters and Elsevier-bashers! Let’s face it, to a great many humanists, information sharing (aka, proto-forking, forking, remixing, or skywriting) looks like this:

And just in case anyone gets too excited about new technologies, innovative thinking or blasting everyone’s blinders, here’s one for the vast majority of academics to digest:

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One comment

  1. Well, collapses tend to accelerate. . . but I concur about the glacial pace!



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