Author Topic: Publishing and Ethics  (Read 4489 times)

Offline SQuid

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Publishing and Ethics
« on: March 22, 2009, 04:39:07 pm »
EXCELLENT points about commerical publishing. I add that academic publishing is actually more a case of "writing for money" than mainstream writing is! The adage - make that admonition - in the academic world is "Publish or perish!" That translates exactly to one's income (and ego)! Either you publish, fairly regularly, or your job - thus your money - is on the line! Academia is a realm of altered egos, often detached from the mundane realities the rest of the world shares. (I am speaking from 12 years experience.) Furthermore, until those writing about Indians for other academicians actually get the same "approval" from their "subjects" that mainstream media also often lacks, it's all still part of the same ball of sticky wax; people talking about other people without the tribal seal of approval. Moral: books (and forums) are good for a reflection of the authors' ethics and biases more than an unbiased factual and encompassing representation of the topic. That still makes them valuable - just read in that context. Mr. Heaven, after reading you here, I anticipate reading some of your books too. Thank you for bringing your refreshing forthrightness to this topic.

Offline Ross

  • Posts: 22
Publishing and Ethics
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2009, 06:24:55 pm »
PS. (Sorry, another PS!) 'educatedindian', may I ask how much you make from your 'academic' books?

Offline educatedindian

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Publishing and Ethics
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2009, 09:07:54 am »
On the side note about publishing:

I've written a history book, a chapter in an anthology, 3 book reviews, 8-10 other articles, and perhaps 100 encyclopedia entries. I doubt I've been paid $1000 total for all my writing. The book alone was written over the course of seven years, perhaps 5000 hours put into research and writing.

Any way you figure it, it's sure not writing for profit. Contrary to squid's naive claims which seem to from listening to right wingers who hate the fact that they can't control academia, most professors don't publish much. Community colleges and others that emphasize teaching don't have any requirement to publish. It's not "publish or perish". It's just publish if you want tenure, which most universities offer less and less, both because it's cheaper and it's a way to bust unions. Seriously, in Texas a high school teacher makes more than a public university professor. So to say that we do it for the money is ridiculous.

I do it because I aim for my writing to make a difference. I seek for my work to help others understand NDNs, and to help Native causes. (By coincidence, I'm doing an ency entry on the ties between the miliita movement and New Age, which I'll be posting in a few days.) That's not only me, that's the great majority of NDNs (and many others) in academia. It's a proud tradition, going all the way back to Sara Winnemucca.

Offline SQuid

  • Posts: 11
Publishing and Ethics
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2009, 12:48:31 pm »
Educated Indian - I am only speaking from my own learned observations which reflect those documented and validated in the online encylopedia excerpts below:

"Publish or perish" refers to the pressure to publish work constantly in order to further or sustain one's career in academia. The competition for tenure-track faculty positions in academia puts increasing pressure on scholars to publish new work frequently.

Frequent publication is one of the few methods at a scholar's disposal to improve his or her visibility, and the attention that successful publications bring to scholars and their sponsoring institutions helps ensure steady progress through the field and continued funding. Scholars who focus on non-publishing-related activities (such as instructing undergraduates), or who publish too infrequently, may find themselves out of contention for available tenure-track positions.

A scholarly writer may experience pressure to publish constantly, regardless of the academic field in which the writer conducts scholarship. One physicist, for example, sees evidence of shoddy scholarship in the field.[1] In the 1990s, graduate students and untenured assistant professors in the humanities and social sciences may have experienced more pressure than academics in the sciences, but after 2000, the pressure spread into other disciplines and the phenomenon came to influence the advancement of tenured associate professors to the coveted full professor title in the United States. Because of declining enrollments in MBA programs, business school professors are also significantly under pressure in the mid-2000s.

The phrase is thought to have originated around 1950 with Dr. Kimball C. Atwood III, then a geneticist at Columbia University.

Research-oriented universities may attempt to manage the unhealthy aspects of the publish-or-perish practices, but their administrators[who?] often argue that some pressure to produce cutting-edge research is necessary to motivate scholars early in their careers to focus on research advancement, and learn to balance its achievement with the other responsibilities of the professorial role. The call to abolish tenure is very much a minority opinion in such settings.

There are a number of criticisms of this phenomenon, the most notable being that the emphasis on publishing may decrease the value of resulting scholarship, as scholars must spend more time scrambling to publish whatever they can manage, rather than spend time developing significant research agendas.

The pressure to publish-or-perish also detracts from the time and effort professors can devote to teaching undergraduate (and some graduate) courses. The rewards for exceptional teaching rarely match the rewards for exceptional research, which encourages faculty to favor the latter whenever they conflict.

Many universities do not focus on teaching ability when they hire new faculty, and simply look at the publications list (and, especially in technology-related areas, the ability to bring in research money). This single-minded focus on the professor-as-researcher may cause faculty to neglect or be unable to perform some other responsibilities.

Another important aspect of professorship is mentorship of graduate students, an aspect rarely assessed when new faculty are admitted to a department.

Next, my equally learned opinion of so-called university presses versus what has been elsewhere mislabelled "vanity" presses; There is nothing quite as unfoundedly vain as an author who claims validity based on  having a "university" press publish his/her words. A simple look back at the atrocities committed against Native Americans by way of those very same university presses and one realizes it will take another century of knowledgeable Native writers (published by any presses with which they align) to undo those  damages wrought by the so-called "educated" writers of academia.