I don't really want to start in again on my own rejections. As you
say, there are probably perfectly good reasons why my articles are
not acceptable, and they can probably be explained in ways that are
perfectly civil and reasonable, without any aspersions on my
commitment to the scientific enterprise or slights on my personal
What I really want to start in on is a serious suggestion that may
bring that day closer. If we are going to dedicate a portion of the
journal to reviewed articles which meet officially approved standards
for pseudo-communicative acts that are universally accepted as
evidence of academic seriousness, then we can also dedicate a portion
of the journal to unreviewed articles which do not meet those
standards and which can, therefore, flout them.
This could be done by, say, merging the editorial with the commentary
section. Instead of being an occasional feature, which as Roth
pointed out, merely allows people to let off steam and can easily be
ignored, this could be made a regular and even central part of the
journal. Having the editorial as commentary would not only give the
commentary a certain gravitas, it would keep the editors from falling
into the trap of trying, redundantly, to write introductions to all
the articles in the issue; instead of a kind of meta-abstract,
editorializers might have a chance to really start a rumpus that we
could continue here on xmca or which could even be made to reflect
the rumpuses we have here. If the editors feel uncomfortable in this
role, they could invite commentators from xmca to contribute.
I don't think this is a destructive criticism, Andy; on the contrary,
all I am suggesting is expanding a feature that already exists in the
journal. It's a feature that YOU have made use of (in your response
to Roth's celebration of Heidegger and phenomenology) and I have done
too (in my response on deconstructionism). Along with book reviews,
it is the only way I have been able to contribute to the journal (and
despite what others think I do feel I have something to contribute).
Sometimes in my ex-department at Seoul National University of
Education we would put our students between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand, they had to be be objective and descriptive and
realistic about what the teachers and students are doing and can do,
given the curriculum, in the classroom, else our research has no
generalizability. On the other, they were supposed to make radical
suggestions for actually improving teaching.
So in the end students had to offer radical suggestions based on
nothing but theoretical prejudices, because of course there was no
data to support it. If they tried to get data to suppor it, their
studies would, by that very fact, have no external validity; they
could not be representative of the general teaching situation which
in general is poor. So then if the theoretical prejudices in question
agreed with those of the examining professors, our grads would get a
pass. If for some reason they did not...well, the grad also got a
pass, but the path to a pass could be very long and unpleasant
indeed. No wonder most of our work was so dull.
It always seemed to me that the way out ot this dilemma lies actually
in the data itself rather than in any radical reconstruction of our
degree programme (I suppose, though, that this may only reflect my
own Obama-like timidity). We just needed research methods which
valorized the ATYPICAL in the data as well as the typical, modal, mean.
In any spoken corpus (and in any written corpus like MCA) there are
lots of atypical acts. Some of them don't go anywhere (and I think a
fair amount of what I write does fall into that category and can be
justly excluded for that reason). But when newness comes into the
world, it always, necessarily, appears as a singularity, and only
some sense of what is coming next will tell you which singularities
are the dragonflies which are harbingers of the typhoon season.
I certainly can't agree that all of the articles I read in MCA are
"swimming against the stream". I think that if that WERE true then
only articles that were swimming WITH the general cognitivist stream
would really be against the MCA stream. Instead, I see a rising tide
of mediocrity, and I think this is both causing and caused by the
factor of "impact factor".
As with any data base, though, there are significant singularities,
and these can very fruitfully be expanded if there is editorial will
to expand them. For example, Eugene Matusov's response to the impact
factor issue in his commentary "Too Many Notes" was the delightfully
appropriate expression: Mazel tov!
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
--- On *Fri, 8/19/11, Andy Blunden /<firstname.lastname@example.org>/* wrote:
From: Andy Blunden <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] FW: MCA on Thompson Reuters ISI list
To: "Culture ActivityeXtended Mind" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Friday, August 19, 2011, 6:38 PM
The ISI listing was a process started in Michael Roth's tenure.
While I personally don't have any strong feeling about the
listing, I know that for a certain section of our valued community
of authors it is important as it helps their academic career. I am
happy that they will be happy that's all. But it certainly never
influences either the editors or our reviewers in their assessment
While you make a generalisation whose truth is undeniable, I
cannot accept that MCA reviewers can be tarred with such a brush.
All of us are swimming against the stream, that is a fact.
David Kellogg wrote:
> I don't really see how this is GOOD news, Andy. From my point of
view, it builds the wall around MCA even higher, and makes it even
less likely that I will ever be able to publish there.
> But I HAVE published in highly ranked impact factor journals,
and I'm a reviewer for half a dozen of them, including several on
the Thompson Reuters ISI list. I can tell you this: the vast
majority of articles that pass through our review process and into
our pages are what I would call pseudo-communicative acts.
> That is, they are designed to tell you things that you already
know in such a way that you will recognize at a glance their
versimilitude and erudition as a copy of your own. They are
probably the biggest single reason for stagnation and attrition in
professional knowledge, and if that is the kind of impact we are
talking about, I rather hope our impact factor is as low as
> I think this makes it more urgent than ever that the editors,
and above all the reviewers, of MCA open their pages to genuinely
communicative acts, of the sort xmca is made of, even if these are
couched in terms that might seem glippant or flib to reviewers. I
don't think we can measure the commitment of our writers to a
scientific vision by lexical choice and style alone.
> If this isn't workable, perhaps we could greatly expand the
"Commentary" section? Or how about a few cutting edge editorials?
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> --- On *Fri, 8/19/11, Andy Blunden /<email@example.com
> From: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Re: [xmca] FW: MCA on Thompson Reuters ISI list
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com
> Date: Friday, August 19, 2011, 4:50 AM
> I am one of the editors, Arthur, and we are learning all
> you! :)
> Bakker, A. (Arthur) wrote:
> > No, sorry, I don't. The Publisher writes: "next year MCA
> receive its first ISI number and rank."
> > I know of other journals (e.g., Educational Research Review)
> that between the announcement of acceptance until citation
> there can be a considerable time lag (more than a year). But I
> have also heard impact factors of journals that were not
> the ISI list (e.g., Educational Studies in Mathematics), so
> publisher then has computed such figures themselves.
> > Anybody else? Editors of MCA?
> > Arthur
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> > Sent: vrijdag 19 augustus 2011 11:50
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: Re: [xmca] FW: MCA on Thompson Reuters ISI list
> > Arthur,
> > I found (today) MIND CULTURE AND ACTIVITY listed as a
> covered by
> > the Web of Science, Social Science Index, but I still
> find an
> > index, Impact Factor, or such like. Do you have any idea
> > rated MCA?
> > Andy Blunden
> > Bakker, A. (Arthur) wrote:
> > >> Good news, confirmed by the publisher: MCA is now
> Thompson Reuters' Social Sciences Citation index (SSCI)
> >> Arthur
> >> My name is Jacob Harte, Editorial Assistant for Mind,
> and Activity. I'd like to thank you for your interest and
> for MCA.
> >> Recently I was forwarded your query and I'm proud to
> that MCA is now included in Thompson Reuters' Social Sciences
> Citation index and next year will receive its first ISI
> >> Should you have any further questions please feel free to
> contact me directly.
> >> Kindly,
> >> Jacob
> >> Jacob Harte
> >> Editorial Assistant
> >> Education, Arts & Humanities
> >> Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
> >> 325 Chestnut St, Suite 800
> >> Philadelphia, PA 19106
> >> Phone: (215) 625-8900 ext. 379
> >> Fax: (215) 625-2940
> >> Email: email@example.com
> >> > __________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
Joint Editor MCA:
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
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