the notion of validity by process became more important than the idea of contribution TO the process
This is very important.
It is one of the major things that gets in the way of actually getting stuff submitted. It’s what motivates your gremlins to say “no one reads journal articles”.
I want to write more about this. However, this morning I was catching up on blog reading and read a very thought provoking article that I think makes excellent background to such a discussion. It’s about scientific publishing, which is the model that humanities and social science researchers are being compared to implicitly or explicitly. And it illustrates some very serious issues in relation to this question of validation.
Don’t think that because you don’t co-author or are not fraudulent, it is not relevant.
I am a sociologist. I read that article and I see structural issues that complicate things considerably:
- the need for researchers to publish, especially in high-ranking journals, to advance their careers (or even have careers)
- a disconnect between what reviewers can reasonably judge about a paper and what the public expects them to judge (e.g. reviewers cannot validate data nor confirm that the methods were actually carried out as written)
- a disconnect between scientific values that treat all published work as in progress and subject to revision based on further investigation and public expectations that this is incontrovertible truth
I leave you to read it and comment either there (on the substance of Mike’s post) or here (on the implications for humanities and social science research dissemination in the light of new media and new pressures for wider impact).
I do have more to say. I just need to let some ideas mull so I can speak relatively coherently.