Error during command authentication.
Error - unable to initiate communication with LISTSERV (errno=111). The server is probably not started.
Jeremy Butler writes: >A very interesting piece on grad students, >blogging and academe turned up in the /Chronicle >of Higher Education/ recently: "Bloggers Need >Not Apply." It's been further discussed in >"Blogging and job prospects" in Ars >Technica. In essence, the articles are about >the negative impact blogging can have on the job >prospects of graduate students. What surprises me is the implicit belief in both of these articles that the recruiters of junior academics would either know or care if an applicant spent his or her spare time writing a blog. I'd certainly be suspicious if someone made the point of telling me about it in an application, as this would strongly imply that the candidate doesn't have what it takes to publish its contents the conventional way. We all hold beliefs and values which others disagree with, and most of us can work out when it is and isn't constructive to express those views in the workplace (in fact, sometimes the most effective thing is simply to act on them without saying anything out loud). As far as I'm concerned, these beliefs and values are none of an employer's business UNLESS they demonstrably affect the employee's ability to do their job. For example, if someone applied to be a lecturer in public health and had written a blog, sponsored by a tobacco company and extolling the health benefits of smoking, I'd say it would be legitimate to take that into account when assessing the application. But if that same person applied to be a lecturer in film studies, it most certainly would not be. All the public sector organisations I've worked for assess applications against a published set of qualifications, competences and duties, and only those issues which are directly related to those can be taken into account during shortlisting or raised at the interview. When I took the interview panel training course for my institution, it was made absolutely clear that I could not ask any question that was not strictly related to the requirements of the post and the applicant's materials, so if writing a blog is not mentioned in the personal statement or CV, it isn't relevant. Jeremy Butler writes: >In the past 10 years, we've witnessed >skyrocketing subscription prices for academic >journals--causing college libraries and scholars >to cut back on the titles they >carry. Simultaneously, we've witnessed the >growth of an inexpensive distribution system: >the Internet. Some e-journals have popped up in >our field and many of them do not charge for >access. Some, such as Postmodern Culture, began >as a free service and then subsequently came to >limit access to paying customers (in PMC's case, through Project Muse). The bottom line is that academic research costs money to produce and distribute. Therefore, if the end product is to be distributed to anyone who wants it without charge, someone, somewhere, has to absorb those costs. I don't think the issue is anywhere near as simple as that of comparing the operation, content and professional standing of freely available online academic resources with traditional journals that cost up to £200 per year for an institutional subscription. It raises the underlying question of who pays for academic research to be carried out, why they do so, and the role of the researchers themselves in all of this. The overwhelming majority of academic research carried out in any discipline is - surprise surprise - done by people who working in universities and similar institutions. These institutions generally pay for the books, journals and other paid for research products generated in the humanities and social sciences. Thus the traditional system broadly works well, unless for some reason you are not an employee or student of one of these institutions and want access to their researchers' work. Another relevant point is the intellectual property represented in humanities research does not usually have a significant cash value, which removes a big potential barrier to a form of publication which is free at the point of delivery. But while the sort of research we do usually doesn't lead to lucrative patents and development, its value is more commonly assessed in terms of peer kudos, hence Jeremy's question, 'Does the price on a publication affect its prestige? Are free publications deemed unworthy by tenure-review committees?'. I'd speculate that the relevant criterion here is not so much the cost as the existence (or lack thereof) of a system of checks and balances before something gets published. For the first decade of its life as a mass-medium, the Internet has been characterised by the culture of free-for-all. Anyone can publish anything on it at relatively little cost (a domain name, 50mb of server space and unlimited bandwidth can be rented for as little as £100 a year); and unless you're a paedophile or a Moslem fundamentalist with some beheading videos to share, there is virtually no content regulation. As with the blogs issue above, this culture carries with it the implicit assumption that anything published on the Internet ended up there because it wasn't good enough to be published the traditional way. I can gradually see that changing as the Internet becomes more firmly established with a mainstream track record. When websites that carry peer reviewed material and to which access is in some way regulated (even if this is simply through an institutional registration system and doesn't involve any money changing hands) have been going for 10-20 years, the ones which distribute meaningful research will have established a reputation for doing so, and will at that point become accepted by the establishment in the way that paper-based journals are now. Leo ---- Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu