Friday, March 02, 2007
More on the "Publish or Perish" Dilema
I've written about the need to revise publication expectations for professors seeking tenure.
Now The Daily Princetonian, and Magna Publications, have also joined the discussion:
Rethinking Scholarly Publication for Tenure
The Daily Princetonian reports on its Web news page a story about the Modern Language Association’s task force recommendation regarding “ways in which universities should rethink how they ‘admit’ professors and later decide on their tenure.” Rosemary Feal, executive director of the MLA, said, “We wanted data that we could analyze in light of the changes in the scholarly community.”
Now, lest you think this is yet another effort to jettison the tenure system from the “scholarly community,” let me hasten to assure you that is not the object of this MLA report. After all, tenure foes are much more likely to come from outside academe than from within—and the MLA is about as “within” as anyone can get. No, this is an effort, as Feal puts it, to respond to the “major changes in the way scholarship is published.”
Because colleges and universities—especially top-tier and/or research-oriented institutions—are increasingly emphasizing scholarship as a condition for tenure, and because it is increasingly difficult for professors to find traditional journals willing and able to accept narrowly focused research articles (partly a consequence of shrinking library budgets), a broader definition of “publication” is desirable. Princeton itself seems comfortable with its current scholarship requirements (according to Dean of the Faculty David Dobkin) primarily because, as Feal observed, “it can attract the greatest experts in their field,” those who have ready access to scholarly journals for their work.
But what about the lesser lights, those faculty squeezed out of the most prestigious research journals? This problem is what the MLA’s efforts might rectify.
You can read the full article here.