Elaine Devine ~ Why Peer Review Needs A Good Going Over

Jan Steen  - The Village School

Jan Steen (1626 – 1679) – The Village School

Do you work in academic research? If so, you probably have a view on peer review. The system is at the heart of scholarly communication – and it elicits strong opinions from across the community. Many have concerns about the integrity of the process – as demonstrated by the popular hashtag #sixwordpeerreview, which mocks short, unhelpful feedback.

Our year-long research project set out to explore the best approaches to peer review, canvassing the opinions of academic authors, reviewers and the journal editors who oversee the process.

Researchers from across the sciences, social sciences, medicine and humanities were asked to complete a survey or take part in focus groups in China, the UK and South Africa. More than 7,400 responded, answering questions on the purpose of peer review, the prevalence of ethical issues, timeframes, and how comfortable (or not) they were with the different peer review models.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/why-peer-review-needs-a-good-going-over?

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James Garvey ~ Martha Nussbaum: The End Of The Humanities

kaftnussbaum“We are in the midst of a crisis of massive proportions and grave global significance. No, I do not mean the global economic crisis….I mean a crisis that goes largely unnoticed, like a cancer; a crisis that is likely to be, in the long run, far more damaging to the future of democratic self-government: a world-wide crisis in education.” That’s the opening blast from Martha Nussbaum’s new book, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities.

She starts by identifying a global trend. Policy-makers, universities, and even entire nations are discarding the humanities and focusing instead on academic subjects linked to economic growth. She then makes a case for a connection between liberal arts education, free-thinking citizens, and healthy democracy. Pull the plug on the liberal arts, and you no longer have the sort of people able to do the things required for democratic citizenship. Barely a page into the book and we’re warned that “nations all over the world will soon be producing generations of useful machines, rather than complete citizens who can think for themselves, criticise tradition, and understand the significance of another person’s sufferings and achievements. The future of the world’s democracies hangs in the balance.” Strong stuff. Are things really that bad?

“I don’t write in this alarmist way usually,” she says, “in fact in my book Cultivating Humanity the whole point was to say that insofar as higher education is concerned the changes that we’re seeing are on balance very positive. We’re confronting the new complexity of the world better. We’re educating ourselves about women, about race, about non-western cultures much better. But now, I feel, it’s not true any longer.”

Read more: http://www.philosophersmag.com/the-end

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Taiye Selasi ~ Don’t Ask Where I’m From, Ask Where I’m A Local

When someone asks you where you’re from … do you sometimes not know how to answer? Writer Taiye Selasi speaks on behalf of “multi-local” people, who feel at home in the town where they grew up, the city they live now and maybe another place or two. “How can I come from a country?” she asks. “How can a human being come from a concept?”

About Taiye Selasi:
A writer and photographer of Nigerian and Ghanaian descent, born in London and raised in Boston, now living in Rome and Berlin, who has studied Latin and music, Taiye Selasi is herself a study in the modern meaning of identity. In 2005 she published the much-discussed (and controversial) essay “Bye-Bye, Babar (Or: What Is an Afropolitan?),” offering an alternative vision of African identity for a transnational generation. Prompted by writer Toni Morrison, the following year she published the short story “The Sex Lives of African Girls” in the literary magazine Granta.

Her first novel Ghana Must Go, published in 2013, is a tale of family drama and reconciliation, following six characters and spanning generations, continents, genders and classes.

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Patricia Williams ~ Anti-Intellectualism Is Taking Over The US

CriticalRecently, I found out that my work is mentioned in a book that has been banned, in effect, from the schools in Tucson, Arizona. The anti-ethnic studies law passed by the state prohibits teachings that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” and/or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” I invite you to read the book in question, titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, so that you can decide for yourselves whether it qualifies.

In fact, I invite you to take on as your summer reading the astonishingly lengthy list of books that have been removed from the Tucson public school system as part of this wholesale elimination of the Mexican-American studies curriculum. The authors and editors include Isabel Allende, Junot Díaz, Jonathan Kozol, Rudolfo Anaya, bell hooks, Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin, Howard Zinn, Rodolfo Acuña, Ronald Takaki, Jerome Skolnick and Gloria Anzaldúa. Even Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience and Shakespeare’s The Tempest received the hatchet.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/anti-intellectualism-us-book-banning

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LERU ~ Christmas Is Over. Research Funding Should Go To Research, Not To Publishers!

LeruNowadays, European universities pay publishers significant parts of their university budget. Hundreds of millions of euro’s. Money which is not directly spent on research and education, even though it is largely taxpayers´ money. As Harvard University already denounced in 2012, many large journal publishers have rendered the situation “fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive”, with some journals costing as much as $40,000 per year (and publishers drawing profits of 35% or more). If one of the wealthiest universities in the world can no longer afford it, who can? It is easy to picture the struggle of European universities with tighter budgets. In addition to subscription costs, academic research funding is also largely affected by “Article Processing Charges” (APC), which come at an additional cost of €2000/article, on average, when making individual articles Gold Open Access. Some publishers are in this way even being paid twice for the same content (“double dipping”)
Is this how the EU envisions access to the results of academic research?

“Christmas is over”, says Prof Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary-General LERU: “I call upon the European Commission and the forthcoming Dutch EU Presidency to work with all stakeholders and bodies involved, to bring sensible solutions to the fore.”

In the era of Open Science, Open Access to publications is one of the cornerstones of the new research paradigm and business models must support this transition. It should be one of the principal objectives of Commissioner Carlos Moedas and the Dutch EU Presidency (January-June 2016) to ensure that this transition happens. Further developing the EU´s leadership in research and innovation largely depends on it.

Read more & sign the petition: http://www.leru.org/signtheLERUstatement/

 

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Ikki’s eiland. De horzel van het Koninkrijk

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De horzel van het koninkrijk
Aristoteles noemde Athene een paard en waarschuwde de regering van die stad dat hij als een horzel de heren zou blijven lastigvallen. En dat doen (ex-) koloniën ook. Ze blijven hun moederland aan een moeizaam onderdeel van de geschiedenis herinneren.

Maart 2015. De komende maanden ga ik me buigen over de stand van zaken op Bonaire; vijf jaar na de keuze om een deel van Nederland te blijven.
De verkiezingen op 18 maart jl. waren vermoedelijk de laatste waarbij de ‘oude’ bevolking (de in Caribisch Nederland geboren inwoners en de Europese Nederlanders die al geruime tijd op Bonaire woonachtig zijn) in de meerderheid was. De bevolkingsgroei is spectaculair. O.a. door een sterke toename van nieuwe Europese Nederlanders op het eiland sinds 2010. De houding van deze groep wordt door de Bonairiaan en de oude Europese Nederlander met enige verbazing bekeken om het maar vriendelijk te formuleren.

De wijze waarop de Nederlandse overheid het beleid in de praktijk brengt, zal tegen het licht worden gehouden. Dat zal leiden tot opmerkingen over de rol van taal en bijvoorbeeld de psychologische capriolen die nu eenmaal horen bij het dekolonisatieproces.
Iedere medaille heeft twee kanten.
In de gesprekken houdt de Bonairiaan zichzelf ook een spiegel voor. Corruptie, de oude politiek, criminaliteit, alles komt ter sprake. Waardoor er, voor zover haalbaar, een evenwichtig beeld ontstaat.

Ga naar: http://ikkiseiland.com/

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