Peer Review, Scholarly Publishing, and the Future of the Academy

I thought that Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s excellent work, Planned Obsolescence, raised several very valid and important questions and issues regarding technology, communication, and scholarly publishng.  When Fitzpatrick asserts that we must re-think the notions of ownership and authorship in order to develop a more succesfull system of scholary communication, she is spot on.  I  understand the ways in which the for-profit sector came to dominate academic publishing.  However, as Fitzpatrcik argues, it is time for scholars to stand up and end this oppressive system.   In order to combat this, scholars must move away from the notion of sole authorship and ownership of the ideas they “create.”   However, here is the real catch of the predicament of academic publishing.  If the academy can’t find a new way to evaluate and value scholarly work, instead of in the traditonal sense, then scholars will never have an incentive to develop new frameworks and methodologies for authorship.  It would be truly a sad fate to witness the death of academic publishing simply because the academy couldn’t coneive of a new framework in which to situate autorship.  Similarly, it would be equally disappointing if new, modern ideas about authorship and scholastic work could not enter the dominant ideological framework because the academy was stuck on an outdated and irrelevant model for such communication.  However, what can we as new scholars working in the field of Digital Humanities do to help facilitate such ideological and infrastructure changes (aside from standing up against peer-review in its current format and for-profit publishing structures) and help the rest of our peers see the light before it is to late, and scholarly work has been removed from public discourse entirely?

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