69 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2016
    1. politically progressive humanities scholarship and activism in favor of the manufacture of digital tools and archives

      Is this more than the traditional politics vs. formalism argument re-hashed? Much digital work can be truly progressive. Like the "minimal computing" initiatives that seek to extend access to humanistic collections to those without sophisticated computing resources. Is that not progressive?

      Or is progressive here defined as writing about how various revolutionary concepts appear in works of fiction and then selling them in books that cost up to $100?

      I've done both kinds of project and value them both. I wouldn't pitch them against one another. But I see more change from the former than the latter.

    2. Alan Liu

      See AL's own tweet stream for his dislike of you using his work in this way.

    3. We say this knowing that we will be read — despite two of us having long histories as digital researchers — as outsiders who do not know what we are talking about, as zany zealots with no real knowledge of the field, as people with no right to comment, whose views are anyway retrograde and irrelevant.

      This is just an attempt to avoid the very critique that you claim you want to persist.

    4. the insistence that academic work should be critical

      The most compelling part of Felski's book for me was her summary of Latour on Climate Change (in "Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam") where he notes that science/tech-studies and constructivist arguments are used by climate change deniers to sink the world.

      That said, I think you've elided a number of paradigms here and made them supposedly representative of DH.

    5. level of institutional support may be exceptional

      Except you yourself earlier said that it isn't. The NEH's DH programme is the smallest etc.

    6. outdated

      Again. Who said this?

    7. It unavoidably also suggests that other approaches in the humanities fit less well into the contemporary university, because the implied measure of success is economic

      So you've claimed, multiple times, without any clear evidence that this is really the case. Just because you feel threatened does not mean that DH is threatening.

    8. explicit justification

      Except for the published rationales of these Foundations.

    9. Despite the Office of Digital Humanities being the smallest office in NEH

      So it's gone from being a massive engine driven by funding to "actually, there isn't that much funding, but it IS very effective"....

    10. require wages

      As opposed to making people work for free? So these projects require more people than other types of scholarship and they must be paid. That doesn't seem very terrible to me.

    11. enhances their employability

      As, I'm sorry to say, do traditional humanities programmes now... Blaming DH for this is very strange since. say in the UK, it is driven by government.

    12. One of the simplest ways to justify the need for graduate students is to set up a named lab

      Not that simple, actually...

    13. one of 15 members

      So 7% of the council is comprised of DH specialists. Is that a big deal?

    14. After heavily funding Digital Humanities projects for almost a decade, the NEH founded an Office of Digital Humanities in 2008, setting up a permanent and separate funding stream devoted to the kind of work promoted under the Digital Humanities brand.

      As Brett Bobley, who runs the DH unit, testified at a recent event, though... DH makes up a relatively small portion of the NEH's activities.

      See also the book Miller, Stephen, Excellence and Equity: The National Endowment for the Humanities (Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2014) that charts the constant swings between populism and esotericism in the NEH's funding strategies.

    15. enthusiastically supported

      While still supporting traditional scholarship to a far larger degree.

    16. which tend to be distinguished by the comparative modesty of their claims as much as by their attention to questions of validity

      But earlier, you seemed to chide such work, claiming that it didn't do enough interpretation...

    17. One day, creating [and] maintaining platforms to enable the dissemination of [and] engagement with scholarly content will ‘count’ as scholarship.

      This would be a true co-productive and progressive society. One called a "mass intellectuality" by Virno in The Grammar of the Multitude. A space where intellectual labour does not isolate itself in the academy but instead works alongside other workers to see intellectual labour emerge wheresoever it can, not just in the sealed university.

      The notion advocated here seems to be one in which, as Virno puts it, "[t]hinkers must live estranged from their community".

      Virno, P., 2003. A grammar of the multitude: for an analysis of contemporary forms of life, Cambridge, Mass: Semiotext (e), p. 38.

    18. technical support

      Now, the labour that you previously said was exploited is put back in its place by your denigration.

    19. PhDs for competence in programming alone

      Has anyone got a Ph.D. in a DH programme for writing a computer program without an accompanying thesis? I don't think so...

    20. computational tools should qualify as a replacement for scholarly writing

      Except many DH scholars also write papers and books about their work. With interpretation and all...

    21. The unavoidable implication was that other humanists were wrong

      Why? Many different forms of scholarship co-exist without intimating that other forms are invalid.

    22. and managerial expertise

      Hang on. Where did managerialism creep in here. That's just a stealth association by assertion.

    23. Digital Humanities and established textual scholarship as the discipline’s core concern

      This is such a narrow definition.

    24. publicly funded

      Why is it necessary to point this out as public funding?

    25. support functions for the humanities as the very model of good humanities scholarship

      So above, the problem was that the labour wasn't recognized, it was just exploited. Here, the problem is apparently that it is seen and visible. "But it's not scholarship".

    26. the standards, procedures, and claims of leading literary scholars

      As often is any new practice in any discipline.

    27. attempt to force the system to accommodate them

      As the Theory crowd once did, too? As the postcolonialists had to? As EVERY change to a discipline has to, thanks to conservative notions of what disciplinary boundaries should look like. In the model you seem to propose, we would never see any new practices and might assume that English studies is currently the best of all possible worlds.

    28. every single version of every single Rossetti work

      Except that McGann knows -- as well as anyone -- that any archive is never complete; it is always expanding and subject to revision. The desire to totalize might be there, but the practictioners knew the potential impossibility of achieving closure.

    29. And it certainly didn’t hurt that the object of all this effort was the canonical oeuvre of a dead white man

      OK, so early DH projects weren't exclusively postcolonial in their outlooks...

    30. Such work required tremendous amounts of primary scholarship

      I thought you claimed that this didn't happen in DH, as above?

    31. while bracketing off the work of interpretation to a later moment or leaving it to other scholars

      This is such a broad generalization that I am very unsure what to say. Except for that the books, articles, and self-critical DH works that emerge are evidence against this.

    32. anti-interpretive

      Sometimes, yes, sometimes no. There is never any "data" that speaks for themselves. They always requires interpretation. How explicit that is the DH scholarship that you are referring to, I can't tell, because you haven't mentioned any.

    33. It is telling that Digital Humanities, like Hirsch, and like Bowers, has found an institutional home at the University of Virginia

      So, this build up is just to say that there was a strong history of apparently conservative textual scholarship at UVA. DH found a strong foundation at UVA. Therefore, DH is probably also conservative.

      That's a pretty broad assertion.

    34. o understand the politics of the Digital Humanities, it is necessary to understand the context from which it emerged. One crucial point

      This assumes a singular politics from multiple origins, of which only one is even handled here.

    35. But that’s not my Digital Humanities!

      I'm not sure that your humanities are my humanities.

    36. the superior form

      Actually, in most cases you have to be able to do both. DH scholars find it hard to get posts in traditional departments because the work they produce is not recognized as humanities scholarship. So they write traditional books to legitimate themselves and so that they can even have a voice at the table. This piece is a presenting a strong gatekeeping view of what should be allowed to be called "humanities".

    37. digital or quantitative methodologies to answer research questions in the humanities

      So Matt Jockers (in Macroanalysis), Franco Morretti, Jim English, and others are not answering humanities research questions with their computational approaches? I thought that knowing about patterns through texts, their similarities to other works, their spatial geographies and other elements were perfectly valid humanities questions.

    38. despite its explicit claims

      False consciousness or are you saying that DH scholars have made explicit claims about what constitutes a humanities research question with which you disagree? Again, this is just so abstract and hand waving that it's hard to discuss.

    39. a leading role in the corporatist restructuring of the humanities

      Given that you are focusing on English/Lit here... it really hasn't. Especially in the UK, the number of DH-Lit people is tiny. The majority of scholars are far more traditional in their practices. And they have played far more of a role in shaping departments and their practices than the few people trying, say, stylometry.

    40. producing forms of knowledge with less immediate economic application

      There's an assumption here that DH does projects so they can be monetized. I'm really unsure that that is the case.

    41. the unparalleled level of material support that Digital Humanities has received

      Is it really unparalleled? The NEH's DH programme is relatively small. I've sat on peer-review panels at the AHRC as well and it's not as though it's the "DH = you get a grant" culture that you here claim.

      Furthermore, many radical traditional literary-critical projects have also received large quantities of funding from institutional centres during the ascent of neoliberalism. To selectively single out DH here hardly seems as though you are taking all the evidence.

    42. Advocates position Digital Humanities as a corrective to the “traditional” and outmoded approaches to literary study that supposedly plague English departments.

      Ventriloquizing a false opponent into being is a bit of a straw argument tactic. There is diversity in the non-digital humanities and most DH people just do their thing quite happily without proclaiming that, say, traditional Lit Crit is dead.

    1. The bugle is a small trumpet implicated in the military industrial complex. ↩︎

      I think that's a muted post-horn, actually.

  2. Apr 2016
    1. What I don’t hear much about, though, is what a citation represents for the scholar writing a research article

      Just to flag that I do some work on this in my book, Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future (Cambridge UP, 2014), pp. 26-29.

      An opening taster: "For instance, the uses of preceding work through citation in both the humanities and the sciences remain broadly the same: (1) to inform the reader of the existing body of work upon which the new research rests, along with its applicability to or difference from the new material; (2) to refute existing work when inaccuracies of fact are alleged or disagreements over interpretation have arisen; (3) to credit the preceding work and author(s) with value and novelty or to discredit through dissent; (4) to create a chain of verification whereby the claims upon which the new work rests can be checked. It is worth unpacking these statements so that some of the purposes of scholarly communication and ‘publication’ of research can be defined for this discussion."

      See also Anthony Grafton's book on the Footnote.

    1. Do we mean free open access?

      Yes; this isn't hard. That is what all well-established (over a decade old) definitions of "open access" mean.

      The comparison to inter-library loan both is and isn't helpful. It is helpful because it shows that libraries have never been purely competitive spaces. It is less helpful because the digital environment fundamentally alters the way we disseminate material and shifts the vast majority of costs to labour-to-first-copy, rather than in the dissemination phase.

  3. Nov 2015
  4. Sep 2015
    1. The move by Deloitte is the latest in a wave of changes by graduate recruiters wanting to look beyond academic results.

      Well, yes, except that it isn't. By hiding the name of the university, they're not "looking beyond academic results", just beyond the institution that awarded those results.

    1. it was only a problem for researchers in the developing world

      the problem of predatory open access seems highly contained to just a few countries

      -- Shen and Bjork, "'Predatory' open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics", http://mailman.ecs.soton.ac.uk/pipermail/goal/attachments/20150910/6b26c21e/attachment-0001.pdf

      I agree with the broader point that just because this affects certain regions more, doesn't mean it's a problem. However, it's more a result of the structural incentives of: 1.) accreditation by publication; and 2.) the Anglo-American dominance of the research space at present. Researchers from elsewhere are being badly advised (and then scammed) on how to play the Anglophone system. You might just as well say that this should be addressed, rather than making it the OA community's responsibility to fix the proxies-for-quality problem

    1. Finally, something I haven’t used much yet, but which I imagine could be really useful for close reading, analysis, or debate, is Hypothes.is, an annotation tool for web documents.

      Indeed! The only tricky thing is the current bookmarklet, but this can be integrated into sites themselves.

    1. In the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, for example, where universities are under effective control of neoliberal states, academic freedom has no legal standing

      This doesn't seem to me to be accurate. The UK's Education Reform Act of 1988 sec 2(a), still in force as far as I know, is written in law "to ensure that academic staff have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges they may have at their institutions;"


    1. Keyan Tomaselli does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

      As people have pointed out in the comments, author is Editor in Chief of Critical Arts. Relevant for potential conflict of interest given this paragraph:

      Taylor & Francis in particular, via a development strategy with selected South African journals, initially facilitated by the National Research Foundation and Unisa Press, helped to position many of these titles as global, rather than only local. In so doing, they catapulted South African authors into global research networks.

  5. Aug 2015
    1. In an academic world ever more infiltrated by fraudsters, con artists and pirates, one can still trust the content and academic integrity of scientific society journals and long-standing corporate publishers. They protect against article and journal cloning, identity theft, bogus journals, forgery, author substitution, fake metrics, and prevent outright intellectual property theft.

      This is an incredibly conservative stance that seems to imply that only existing entities can ever be trusted. These same entities, however, are often for-profit, making over a billion dollars per year profit, even while universities cannot afford to subscribe to all the material they need.

      Furthermore, using publisher brand as a measure of trust is not sound, as the recent cases of mass retractions and peer-review scams show: http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/43761/title/Another-Mass-Retraction/

    1. Journals in which all peer reviewed scholarly articles are online available without any restrictions and for which an Article Processing Charge (APC) has been paid.

      This is not what gold OA means. Gold OA refers exclusively to material made OA by the publisher. It does not refer to any particular business model. This is a gross misclassification.

  6. Jul 2015
    1. High intensity training helps ease arthritis pains

      Although it's possible to infer, from the description of CRP markers, that this article pertains to rheumatoid arthritis, this is not specified anywhere in the piece. Without this differentiation, people with osteoarthritis could end up hurting themselves further as the process is entirely different.

    1. I think it is possibly too early to tell.

      As Steven Hill of HEFCE recently suggested, it might be far better for UK institutions to reject these tables: "What if all UK institutions made a stand against global rankings, and stopped using them for promotional purposes? The reputation of the UK’s higher education sector would stand firm, and a really strong signal would be sent to the rest of the world. Not drifting, but steering purposely through the metric tide." http://blog.hefce.ac.uk/2015/07/08/the-metrics-dilemma/

    1. Gold open access provides everyone with access to articles during all stages of publication, with processing charges paid by the author(s).

      As conceived of in most of the literature, "gold open access" refers to the means of dissemination (done by the publisher), not any one specific business model. Gold open access does not intrinsically mean, however, that the author pays and, indeed, this was not integral to the term as it was coined by Stevan Harnad. At the time of writing in mid 2014, the majority of gold venues listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals do not operate on the basis of article processing charges and instead fund their operations through other means.

      For more on this, see:

      Suber, Peter. Open Access. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.

      Eve, Martin Paul. Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

      (Both books available freely online; gold open access.)

      http://blogs.egu.eu/network/palaeoblog/files/2015/02/OpenGlossary1.pdf http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm

    1. cf. actor-network theory

      Actor Network Theory is a powerful framework under which we can understand complex socio-technical assemblages. To justify using it through an extreme reductionist interpretation that "critical theory = absolutism" doesn't seem to do it justice.

    2. If you think everybody answers the same way, you may be an advocate of critical theory.

      I do not think a single person I know who has read any amount of critical theory or even agreed with it would really think that people would ascribe universal values onto words and not understand that value systems are historically and socially inflected. They might, as do Adorno and Horkheimer, consider the holocaust to be an absolute moral evil, but if that's something that Lyotard is here supposed to free us from, I don't quite know what we gain.

    3. So how can you be beyond critical theory, given that it generally aims “to explain and transform all the circumstances that enslave human beings?“

      I think the definition that you give of critical theory here, from the Stanford encyclopedia, is just wrong. Adorno's /Negative Dialectics/ begins, for example, with an epigraph that rejects the totalities that you here ascribe to Critical Theory: "The whole is the false", thereby countering Hegel's Absolute.

    1. Put simply, various stakeholders seem to have different perspectives on how research assessment works currently and how it should work in the future. In order to move forward, we must first identify and then address a number of misunderstandings.

      This might be of interest, a project that we've put together for the Scholarly Communication Institute this year titled "The Qualities of Quality – Validating and justifying digital scholarship beyond traditional values frameworks": http://trianglesci.org/2015/05/15/the-qualities-of-quality/

    1. newspaper column inches given over to literary critics have shrunk

      It's probably also worth adding that the influence of the academy in canonising contemporary fiction is certainly waning...

    1. based on a scientific analysis of citation data

      JIF is discredited in many reviews. See for example http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00291. A recent independent review of metrics for the Higher Education Funding Council for England also strongly recommended against the use of measures like JIF: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rereports/Year/2015/metrictide/

    2. impact

      "Impact" here is not well defined. In the UK context of academia, we use the term "impact" to refer to demonstrable behavioural change, not the reach of dissemination. JIF measures a certain type of academic influence, not any other kind of impact.

    3. Basil Moftah

      Head of IP and Science at Thompson Reuters, who run the Impact Factor. I feel there's more than a little conflict of interest here...

  7. Oct 2014
    1. ‘short-termism

      Interesting point on n-gram-type usage: books such as this will also contribute to the frequency of the term "short-termism" in their denigration of it...

    2. Business generally seeks return on investment over a period of a few years

      Isn't this what the marketisation of HE worldwide aims to achieve, though? (i.e. to transform HE into corporate, business-like entities)