Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Letters to a young(er) scholar: On (alternatives in) publishing


Published on

Presentation to the Young Academics, University of South Africa, 16 August 2018

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Letters to a young(er) scholar: On (alternatives in) publishing

  1. 1. Image credit: Letters to a young(er) scholar: On (alternatives in) publishing Paul Prinsloo University of South Africa (Unisa) @14prinsp Presentation to the Young Academics, University of South Africa, 16 August 2018
  2. 2. Acknowledgement I do not own the copyright of any of the images in this presentation. I therefore acknowledge the original copyright and licensing regime of every image used. This presentation (excluding the images) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
  3. 3. Imagecredit: These slides reflect my own personal sensemaking of thinking and living out loud as scholar and researcher – getting lost, being found, of finding, the constant fear of missing out, the perpetual precarity of being measured/watched and constantly (re) considering value: risk
  4. 4. Image credit: Young-Rainer-Maria-Rilke/dp/0393310396 Image credit: Young-Contrarian-Art-Mentoring/dp/0465030335
  5. 5. “I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
  6. 6. “In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?”
  7. 7. • Why do we do/want to do research/publish? • What changes/will change as a result of our research/publishing? • Who do we answer to when we do our research/publish? Who will hold us to account for our questions, our processes and our findings? • What will happen if we don’t do research/publish? Before we consider alternatives to conventional publishing, let us consider the following:
  8. 8. What are the alternatives to conventional academic publishing? What should we consider when going ‘alternative’? • Where does this question come from? • What are the rules in going ‘alternative’? • What are the costs – financial, reputation, and risk? • What are the benefits? • What are the links (if any) between conventional forms of publication and alternative forms? • How do I choose? How do I find my voice?
  9. 9. Why should we even think about alternatives in sharing our thinking, research and praxis? • Being a scholar in a networked world – abundance, risk and networks • The beauty (and danger) of the immediacy of living “onlife” • Brutal abuse by traditional systems of academic publishing • Alternative forms of publishing may support the more conventional forms of sharing/peer review • The nature of scholarship and the sharing of research/thinking/praxis has changed • Being a scholar has changed
  10. 10. “Hypatia[a] (born c. 350–370; died 415 AD) was a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, then part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was a prominent thinker of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria, where she taught philosophy and astronomy. She is the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded” Source credit: Central to the question of academic publishing, is the issue of scholarship… When is someone a scholar? How do we know?
  11. 11. On being a scholar • Having academic expertise in a particular field or fields/disciplines • Recognition of the expertise by institutions (e.g. awarding of degrees/appointment) • Acknowledgement by the gatekeepers in the discipline/field of inquiry • Recognition by peers • Maintaining and expanding expertise • Dissemination of thinking/research/praxis • Being a gatekeeper/peer • Developing and recognising expertise of others
  12. 12. Source credit: WARNING: The field is rigged – gender/race/power Image credit: -playing-monopoly-one-player-is-given-all
  13. 13. On being a scholar and the rationale for publishing • Having academic expertise in a particular field or fields/disciplines • Recognition of the expertise by institutions (awarding of degrees) • Recognition by the gatekeepers in the discipline/field of inquiry • Recognition by peers • Maintaining and expanding expertise • Dissemination of thinking/praxis • Being a gatekeeper/peer • Developing and recognising expertise
  14. 14. Conventional publishing (Un)conventional publishing
  15. 15. “Conventional” publishing in higher education • Monographs • Edited volumes • Peer-reviewed articles in journals on IBSS, ISI, Norwegian, Scopus “Unconventional” publishing in higher education • Blogs • Tweets • Opinion pieces • Letters to the editor • Articles in magazines
  16. 16. Soccer Rugby Baseball Hockey What are the rules? Image credit – diagram-green-307046/ Image credit – Image credit – svg _offside_1987_rule.png
  17. 17. ‘What’ needs to be shared? How urgent is the findings/message? ‘What’ are the reputational benefits and risks? How accessible will/should it be? Who will be the peer reviewers and how will peer review happen/impact? Who are the gatekeepers? Who is the intended audience and why? ‘Where’/’how’ does it fit into my career – short-term/ longer term? What are the rules? Going conventional, alternative or somewhere in-between?
  18. 18. Making these choices require that we understand the ‘field’ Image credit:
  19. 19. Image credit: In research there are Superheroes (and rituals to celebrate them) (and rules that define them)
  20. 20. Image credit: The imposter Those that do not quite fit in, don’t play according to the rules, and live to carry the consequences of not ‘fitting’
  21. 21. Image credit: A strange land where novice researchers ‘[f]ake it till you [they] make it’ (Ivana, 2016)
  22. 22. Image credit: Those that go ‘alternative’ The deviants
  23. 23. Image credit: Higher education as ‘field’
  24. 24. Source credit: 30 October 2017
  25. 25. Source credit:
  26. 26. Source credit: petition/427059/
  27. 27. Source credit: cancelled-journal-subs/3008505.article
  28. 28. Source credit:
  29. 29. Academic disciplines in our time have been subjected to the principle that more productivity is better, and a lot more is better than better, giving rise to a kind of productivity syndrome. Quantity is so much easier to evaluate. Professor X has 18 articles, 12 book reviews, 21 conference presentations, two monographs, and an edited volume. The university’s T&P committee is going to be impressed. End of story. Source credit:
  30. 30. “Academic culture — like American culture more broadly — has become monomaniacally infatuated with productivity as the marker of a successful life, and quantitative measures have become central to determining what counts as success. Although academics can be found resisting (mildly) the metrics of productivity foisted on them by administrators, they also enthusiastically measure themselves.” Source credit:
  31. 31. Source credit:
  32. 32. “Academic labor and performance anxiety”: where the “shame [of not performing] becomes a central tenet of everyday academic life” (Richard Hall, 2014a, par. 2) Academics “overwork because the current culture in universities is brutally and deliberately invested in shaming those who don’t compete effectively…” in stark contrast with the heroic few who do, somehow, meet the shifting goalposts (Kate Bowles, 2014, par. 7-8) Image credits: You are either /or
  33. 33. Source credit: ebook/dp/B01JE3SI20/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1526806112&sr=8-1&keywords=metric+power+beer “…we are created and recreated by metrics; we live through them, with them, and within them. Metrics facilitate the making and remaking of judgements about us, the judgements we make of ourselves and the consequences of those judgements as they are felt and experienced in our lives. We play with metrics and we are more often played by them” (Beer, 2016, p. 3).
  34. 34. Image credit: “Those things that cannot be counted are rendered invisible, and those that can be counted achieve visibility” (Beer, 2016, p. 59).
  35. 35. Image credit: When numbers are used alone, “when the world is reduced to numbers, a measure, to what is calculable and laid before us; when humans are summed, aggregated and accounted for; then much remains forgotten, unsaid, concealed” (Elden, 2006, in Beer, 2016, pp. 59-60).
  36. 36. Source credit: What are the opportunities to talk back, to claim back stolen identities, stolen dreams, stolen time?
  37. 37. Image credit: Some considerations for alternative scholarship in a networked age Overlay image credit:
  38. 38. Networks do not only include but also exclude While not everyone is included/connected, everyone is affected See Castells, M. (2009) Communication power .Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press Image credit:
  39. 39. Don’t underestimate the tribe Image credit:,_Ottawa,_1914.jpg
  40. 40. Scholarship in traditional networks • Old (white) boys networks, glass ceilings • Disciplinary connections/gatekeeping/journals • Institutional reputation and networks • Legacy privileges/drawbacks – race, gender, class, country of birth • The role of individual reputation (as result of the previous three) • Social gatherings (by invitation only), conferences (depending on funding and gatekeeping) • Water fountain meetings, cafeteria discussions, bus and train conversations
  41. 41. Don’t underestimate ‘accidents’ Image credit:
  42. 42. Connect to the “Connectors”: The “Connectors” have the ability to span different worlds which is a combination of their personality, curiosity, self- confidence, sociability and energy. These people not only have feet in different worlds, but the ability to bring these worlds together (Gladwell 2000, pp. 49-51).
  43. 43. Imagecredit: Image credit: Connect to “mavens” – a Yiddish word for someone who accumulates knowledge (Gladwell, 2000, p. 60).Mavens are “information brokers, sharing and trading in what they know” and “data banks. They provide the message. Connectors are social glue: they spread it” (Gladwell, 2000p. 70).
  44. 44. A personal journey in ‘alternative’ scholarship Image credit:
  45. 45. Imagecredit: Source credit: the-risks-and-the-unknown Resource 1
  46. 46. Source credit: 894f-a3eb0889ba81&v=&b=&from_search=6 Resource 2
  47. 47. Imagecredit: Goodier, S., & Czerniewicz, L. (2015). Academics' online presence: a four-step guide to taking control of your visibility. [Third edition] Retrieved from Resource 3
  48. 48. Imagecredit: Image credit: Our digital footprints…. The (un)informed and (un)intentional, (non)actions we take
  49. 49. Imagecredit: Image credit: Our digital shadows…. Content that are collected from us (by other human and non-human actors) and that are stored, analysed, combined with other sources of information (including our digital footprints) to compile digital dossiers
  50. 50. Imagecredit:
  51. 51. Imagecredit: Some scholars say that Twitter ‘does not work’ for them… This reminds me of walking into a library and expecting books to find you Image credit:
  52. 52. Imagecredit: Image credit: Image credit: Using Twitter as scholar requires effort, dedication, a careful selection of who to follow, a willingness to be surprised, and dealing with an abundance of stimulation
  53. 53. Imagecredit:
  54. 54. Imagecredit: Image credit: The increasing disappearance of public/private/professional/personal Using Facebook as scholar…
  55. 55. Imagecredit:
  56. 56. Imagecredit:
  57. 57. Imagecredit:
  58. 58. Case in point: Slides prepared for a group of 30 bored academics in a small stuffy venue. One year later, 10,773 views
  59. 59. Imagecredit:
  60. 60. Imagecredit:
  61. 61. The art of alternative scholarship: some pointers Image credit:
  62. 62. Imagecredit: Image credit: Central to our strategy to take (more conscious) control of our digital footprints and shadows is the need to understand the choices we have, the (sometimes irrational) reasons why we choose specific options, the downstream effects of our choices and the choices we don’t have Pointer 1
  63. 63. Imagecredit: Image credit: Going ‘dark’ or ‘offline’ is increasingly impossible. For a scholar, going ‘dark’ is not really an option. We need to understand what is (not) in our control , the (ir)rationality of our choices, the (un)foreseen downstream use of our data Pointer 2
  64. 64. Image credit: Pointer 3
  65. 65. Source credit:
  66. 66. Image credit:
  67. 67. Imagecredit: Image credit: Weighing the opportunities with the risks; weighing the abundance with the peril Pointer 4
  68. 68. Source credit:
  69. 69. Source credit: microcelebrity-and-digital-sociology-in-the-matrix-of-domination.pdf
  70. 70. (In)conclusion Image credit: Final advice to a young(er) scholar: On (alternatives in) publishing
  71. 71. Imagecredit:
  72. 72. THANK YOU Paul Prinsloo (Prof) Research Professor in Open Distance Learning (ODL) College of Economic and Management Sciences, Samuel Pauw Building, Office 5-21, P.O. Box 392 Unisa, 0003, Republic of South Africa T: +27 (0) 12 433 4719 (office) Skype: paul.prinsloo59 Personal blog: Twitter profile: @14prinsp