RE: [xmca] Do academic journals exist?

From: Michael Glassman <MGlassman who-is-at>
Date: Tue Jul 08 2008 - 09:36:00 PDT

Right, but that is the gatekeeper argument - that there are entities
that are capable of vetting knowledge simply because they are those
entities. I have been following this issue far more within the
political realm as I watch the slow dissolution of the cache once held
by The Washington Post and the New York Times. I myself used to pretty
much accept everything that was in the New York Times, believing that
there was a vetting process for information and the Times stood at the
top of the hierarchy. If they had great reporters, who were considered
great by - well the New York Times - then they must be gatekeepers.
Political ideas then were passed down to me from a great clearing house
of ideas - sort of a top down approach. What I have watched, as
information has become more available, and more non-linear, is that the
New York Times offers one complex perspective, and I have to understand
the ideas they dispense as just another source. If I read an idea that
does not sound right to me, I first look for links (which are rare in
the Times) and then go on the internet to search out the ideas. I may
find the best work on a blog that writes for maybe a few thousand
people, has no cache, but at the same time offers an excellent argument
and multiple hyperlink sources. For instance the blog Emptywheel is far
superior to the New York Times on the FISA issue (sorry to those living
outside the United States - a critical political vote that is happening

What I am saying is that perhaps academia is going to have to catch up
to this model. The more we depend on old media vetting I worry the
further we fall behind and become irrelevant.


-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Peter Smagorinsky
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 11:24 AM
To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
Subject: RE: [xmca] Do academic journals exist?

At the risk of saying too much in this's not the
itself being valued, but the vetting process it provides for a piece of
work. So even if you never see the Journal of Reproducible Results as a
hardbound entity and only grab articles that interest you, what makes
articles published under its auspices respected is that readers know the
rigor of the review process involved in moving that individual piece
to publication.

Peter Smagorinsky
The University of Georgia
125 Aderhold Hall
Athens, GA 30602

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Behalf Of Michael Glassman
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 12:01 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: RE: [xmca] Do academic journals exist?


I think you make an incredibly salient observation. If connectionism is
right, the building of our knowledge systems is non-linear and dynamic.
One of the troubles we have had has been that historically publishing
has been monolithic and hierarchical. The whole idea that an article
must be good/important because it is published in a specific journal
really, when you think about, seems kind of absurd. Brilliant,
innovative ideas can be anywhere, and they often are. So in many ways
the journals themselves controlled how we viewed knowledge and the
accumulation of knowledge, acted as gatekeepers, in much the same way
say The New York Times or Washington Post acted as gatekeepers for our
political knowledge.

The internet seems to be changing all that on a number of levels.
Usually when I am interested in a topic I will go to Google Scholar and
type in words or phrases and surf around. Within the course of a day I
can usually find what I am looking for - but the actual journal doesn't
enter in to the search at all, other than it was the vehicle leading to
the publication. I think as we continue to evolve it will be hyperlinks
within articles that lead us to other articles and things to read,
moving even beyond Google Scholar.

It strikes me as odd that our assessments then are not in any way
keeping up with our technology - as a matter of fact it is holding us
back. To succeed in academia we must cling to old media, even as it
becomes less and less relevant and connected to the world that we live


-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Eugene Matusov
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 10:47 AM
To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
Cc: 'Bob Hampel'; 'UD-PIG'
Subject: [xmca] Do academic journals exist?

Dear xmca folks-


Our discussion of "publish and/or perish" and the ISI "web of knowledge"
makes me think about the nature of academic journals and my personal
professional practice of using them. As a reader of academic journals, I
must admit that for me, academic journals do not exist. I rarely read
academic journals (and it's getting worse). Rather I hunt for particular
articles of my interests using either recommendations coming from other
articles (regardless journals where they publish) via their reference
OR databases such as ERIC and PsyINFO OR recommendations by my
like you. I've noticed that my reading practice becomes more and more
that after our university library vastly increase journals available
electronically on-line. For me, as a reader, now, "journal" becomes an
accidental assembly of unrelated papers.


However, as a writer, I still treat journal as a particular institution
a particular direction, particular editor, possible body of reviewers,
particular "readership". If my experiences are not unique, I wonder if
later is my myth by now, forgetting that I, myself, do not belong to any
journal readership anymore.


Are your reader and writer experiences similar with regard to academic
journals? I wonder what consequences and new opportunities these changes
bring to the academia.


What do you think?





Eugene Matusov, Ph.D.

Professor of Education

School of Education

University of Delaware

Newark, DE 19716, USA



fax: 1-(302)-831-4110





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Received on Tue Jul 8 09:37 PDT 2008

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