Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Oct. 7, 2021, 7:44 a.m. Humanist 35.286 - publishing & academic predicaments

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 286.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2021-10-06 06:53:51+00:00
        From: Ioana Galleron <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.281: publishing & academic predicaments

Dear Willard McCarty,

I have once proposed, in a meeting of a COST Action (ENRESSH), to shift towards
a system where one starts his/her career with a limited number of books/ papers
he or she is allowed to publish over a certain period of time. Everybody can
publish as much or as little they want on a personal blog or other online
facilities, but submitting research to formalized peer review can be done just
once or twice a year (let’s say - precise figures could be thought upon and

I can easily figure many inconvenients related to such a system (we do not
produce in linear ways, some research periods are more fruitful than others,
blogs and para-scientific publishing may become as hype as some papers nowadays,
etc.), but I still believe there is something that should be reflected upon in a
collective way.

There is also an urgent need for taking into account in evaluation everything
that is not a formalised paper. In many countries, curating digital materia
counts for nothing. With other colleagues, I worked on a digital vocabulary of
literary genres: until we announce it in a paper, it just does not «count» as
scientific work. The only purpose of the paper will be to say «hey, this
exists, take a look at it» - but still, the paper will trump the major work
that has been done in the preparation of the thesaurus...

Best regards,
Ioana Galleron

> Le 6 oct. 2021 à 08:34, Humanist <> a écrit :
>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 281.
>        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
>                               Hosted by DH-Cologne
>                Submit to:
>        Date: 2021-10-06 06:23:28+00:00
>        From: Willard McCarty <>
>        Subject: academic predicaments
> John Whitfield's "Replication crisis - shoddy papers" in the current
> issue of the London Review of Books (7 October) begins with and mostly
> focuses on problems in the natural sciences. Indeed, one wonders if it
> even occurred to the author that 'research' happens outside these
> sciences. The word 'humanities' is not mentioned once. But much of what
> is described will be recognisable by most if not all of us -- the
> problems of getting published, the push to publish before one is ready,
> the tenuous appointments that depend on and drive all this. Yes,
> indeed, as the author writes, something must be done. Is it not up to
> the senior people among us to do what we can?
> Not long ago, on Humanist, our Oxford colleague David Zeitlyn wrote
> about hurling books across the room, or something like that. I'm afraid
> I am not so demonstrative. I merely put the
> should-not-have-been-published (with OUP, CUP or any other) books in a
> shopping trolly that I take to the local charity shop every once in a
> while. And these are not cheap things, these shoddy productions
> immaculately produced. Sure, online accessibility to books, legal or
> otherwise, helps in one respect, indeed greatly, while in another it
> allows the weak-willed, like me, to flood oneself with things that get
> filed away and forgotten -- and provide no such book-flinging pleasures.
> Publish less, please. I'd say, stop advertising one's latest, if it not
> for the fact that this flood of intellectual detrius will, if one does
> (I fear), obscure the good stuff, which is abundant too...
> Comments?
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> Willard McCarty,
> Professor emeritus, King's College London;
> Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist

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