Deaf geographies, and other worlds.

Musings on publishing

For the last couple of years… and particularly since the end of my PhD loomed into sight, I’ve been musing on the need to publish.

This has surfaced some pretty large tensions.

Rather than labour the point by detailing all the to-ing and fro-ing… I’ve reached a point where things have reached stability, and I can now describe a clear problem…. and it is this:

Despite everything that recognition dictates… a traditional approach to publication is inappropriate for both the material I work with, and where I’m at in my academic life at the moment.

By that, I mean that the relatively standard advice; to take time, and publish small amounts of peer-reviewed material, particularly selected for its appeal to journals/publishers… and gradually work up a traditional academic publication profile, only fits with a small amount of the work that I do, and will ultimately prevent me being the academic that I want to be.

Unless things change to allow me to work on writing 100% of the time, what this type of ‘conformative’ publication plan leads to in the next ten years is perhaps 3 or 4 published journal papers, a couple of chapters, one book (that would be withheld until it was ready to print) and a number of semi-obfuscated blog articles that essentially try to ‘hide’ the core of my thinking to make sure that it still has the appeal of being ‘unpublished’.

I might still not have an academic position… and my work won’t be known beyond the few Deaf-Studies academics who care to read complex historiography and spatial theory.

Or, I can forget all of this and publish ‘transformatively’.

In other words, start to publish immediately, and prolifically… preferring peer-review to be carried out in public, publishing anything and everything that I work on… having little concern for a traditional publication profile, preferring simply to write for consumption by whomever wants to read it.

What this will lead to is possibly fewer paper-based publications (it might even mean more!). But it will mean a constant stream of material (along with its peer-review comments) which will gradually build into a bank of web-based publications… which will be accessible to both academic audiences and the Deaf community (who ultimately own the material I’m working on anyway) – it might even lead to a debate about the academe, and its approach to publication and the worth of academic knowledge.

Of course there are risks… Publishers might not want to publish material that’s already freely available (I don’t know if that’s true or not)… The quality control is in my hands, and not that of a publisher… peer review will be offered only by those who want to be involved… and I’ll probably have to fight myself for the sake of recognition at a later date… but I’ll try and do that publicly too…

Ultimately, I’ll be free to write what I want, when I want, and how I want… without following rules that don’t seem to built for this situation… and potentially find a new way to make material more accessible to those who are most concerned.

One comment on “Musings on publishing

  1. Pingback: A conclusion on publishing « Mike Gulliver

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This entry was posted on September 27, 2010 by in Musings and tagged , , , .
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