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?

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

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

Stephanie Kitchen ~ Guest blog: ‘Publish Or Perish In African Studies: New Ways To Valorize Research


publish-or-perish11The well attended panel (with standing room only) raised a number of salient points and debates about publishing in Africa and African Studies. Hartmut Bergenthum introduced the panel that aimed to bring together academics, publishers and librarians to discuss the changes from traditional (print) to new (digital) publishing models and how they are used to support and valorize research.

Jos Damen (ASC, Leiden) helpfully identified the main current models of journal publication. Journals are funded by (i) subscriptions, (ii) organizations and institutions, or (iii) are open access funded by authors; or else they are a hybrid of these models. Looking at the top ten journals in African Studies as measured by Impact Factor, it is noticeable that only one of these is fully open access – Africa Spectrum, funded by the German GIGA Institute of African Affairs.

Read more: https://tondietz.wordpress.com/publish-or-perish

Michael Eric Dyson ~ Think Out Loud. An Emerging Black Digital Intelligentsia Has Embraced Online Technology To Change American Ideas


bulbTWENTY YEARS AGO, less than two years after I’d received my doctorate in religion from Princeton, I appeared with Cornel WestDerrick Bell, and bell hooks in an illustration accompanying an article in The New Yorker about the rise of a new generation of black public intellectuals. Those were heady times. “A new African American intelligentsia has become part of this country’s cultural landscape,” wrote literary scholar Michael Bérubé. “It’s a development as noticeable as the ascendancy of the New York intellectuals after the Second World War.”
The comparison was apt. Like the New York intellectuals, we had come to prominence as a group, our race a defining feature of identification and struggle in the same way that their Jewishness had supplied inspiration and subject matter. Many New York intellectuals were leftists searching for a Marxist and anti-Stalinist alternative to Soviet communism; many black public intellectuals were also leftists, who grappled with the enchanting, if insular, siege of black nationalism while combating the unheroic ubiquity of  white supremacy.

Read more: http://www.newrepublic.com/think-out-loud

Patricia Faasse & Barend van der Meulen ~ Voor iedereen een universiteit


studentenHet huidige Nederlandse systeem met dertien universiteiten, die allemaal hetzelfde doen en willen, heeft zijn langste tijd gehad. Het wordt tijd voor een omslag van ‘een universiteit voor iedereen’, naar ‘iedereen zijn universiteit.’ Dat stellen Patricia Faasse en Barend van der Meulen van het Rathenau Instituut, in een essay over de toekomst van de universiteiten.

Het rommelt, bromt en stormt aan de universiteit. Dat is misschien van alle tijden, maar de afgelopen jaren was de kritiek hevig en kwam ze opeens van alle kanten tegelijk. Van binnenuit, door onderzoekers, die meenden dat de universiteiten zich teveel met zichzelf en rankings bezig hielden en te weinig met maatschappelijk relevant onderzoek. Van buitenaf, door werkgeversvereniging VNO-NCW en de toenmalige minister van Economische Zaken Maxime Verhagen, die vonden dat de universiteiten hun onderzoek meer moesten afstemmen op de Nederlandse industrie. Van adviseurs, die vonden dat het hoger onderwijs te homogeen was en meer ruimte moest laten voor differentiatie en ambitie. Van studenten, die het rendementsdenken aan de kaak stelden en pleitten voor meer aandacht voor echte kwaliteit en voor meer inspraak. En vanuit het buitenland: daar vinden dezelfde discussies plaats. Kortom, niemand lijkt nog tevreden met één van de oudste instituties van onze samenleving.

Wat is er aan de hand? Waarom staat de universiteit zo ter discussie?

Lees verder: https://rathenaunl.wordpress.com/voor-iedereen-een-universiteit/


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