Publishing Scholarly Work Digitally


Reposted from Hybrid Pedagogy:

Vetting and gatekeeping has become as valuable a process in the social contract of academic publishing and scholarship as the work itself. The digital threatens to undo that by refiguring authority, by making knowledge open access and public, by constantly inspecting and pushing upon the boundaries of academic work, its location in culture and its relevance to that culture.

Academia must push past its archaeological origins. What logic, what sense at all is there in digital work being presented upon a flat page, where it loses not only its relevance to its own subject matter, but also its vitality? The digital is above all else changeable, hackable, as renewable as a natural resource. To confine it only to print — or only to letters and words — is to deny it its own action, the premise of its research, the effect of its affect.

Our attention was recently drawn to an effort by Kairos editor Cheryl Ball to create a guide “to useful scholarship on evaluating digital work for T&P purposes that people across the humanities can refer to.” An annotated list created in a collaborative Google document and advertised through social media, the guide itself is exemplary of digital work. Here are scholars working together not only to share information across the Humanities, inter-institutionally, but also to bolster the validity of work being done digitally. The first note in the document reads: “Annotations should provide enough information so that folks know how they might USE that piece to help make arguments/cases for digital scholarly activities at their institutions.” Because we must make arguments and cases despite the fact that this work forwards understanding of our fields, our practice in communities of scholarship, and our work in our classrooms.

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