12.0546 guidelines for evaluation

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Sat, 10 Apr 1999 18:50:23 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 546.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: <cbf@socrates.Berkeley.EDU> (50)
Subject: Re: 12.0544 guidelines for evaluation?

[2] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> (43)
Subject: criteria

Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 18:52:07 +0100
From: "by way of Humanist <humanist@kcl.ac.uk>" <cbf@socrates.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: Re: 12.0544 guidelines for evaluation?

The faculty senate at UC Berkeley has addressed the question of electronic
publications. I don;t have the exact statement to hand, but the gist is
that they are to be evaluated and weighted exactly as print prublications

Thus if they appear in a peer-revewed electronic journal, they are to be
iven exactly as much credence as if they appear in a peer-reviewed print

Charles Faulhaber Department of Spanish UC Berkeley, CA 94720-2590
(510) 642-3781 FAX (510) 642-7589 cbf@socrates.berkeley.edu

Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 18:52:24 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: criteria

Charles Davis' question is a good one, because it leads to several other
questions I don't think we as a community have faced.

The easiest kind of e-work to accept without much effort is the conventional
scholarly article. If it is simply moved into electronic form without
significant innovation the only real hurdle is peer-review. Many academic
e-journals are now peer-reviewed, so I would think that no real problem
remains here. I would suppose, however, that if a scholarly article were to
incorporate computational features impossible in paper form, our more
conventional colleagues would begin to get uneasy. I am thinking, for
example, of links to online databases that deliver to the reader the data
under discussion, or incorporation of charts, showing e.g. the distribution
of a word or set of words across a text.

The reaction of some adventurous senior academics to resistance from their
colleagues is simply to publish online independently of any reviewing
process. Why not? As the number of such useful online articles increases,
what happens to the peer-reviewing process? What happens as a result of the
increasing tendency of even conventional publications to cite these articles?

Materials used in teaching pose a different sort of problem. Previously
these have hardly counted toward promotion and tenure, though teaching as
such has at least formally been counted. Online class handouts become,
however, a form of publication in a way that photocopied handouts are not.
If these online handouts are thus in circulation well beyond the confines of
the class for which they were made, then do we give them more importance,
count them as a kind of publication?

What happens to primary electronic resources, e.g. databases, textbases,
electronic editions and archives? If these are truly innovative, then how
possibly can we expect our colleagues, who may not have any basis on which
to understand what they are, to evaluate them sensibly? If these scholarly
works help to answer questions that no one previously would have bothered to
ask, since getting an answer was out of the question, then how can we expect
these colleagues to recognise their merit? Indeed, how can anyone at all
know what their merit might be?

Pure research, I suppose, has always been risky. How do we encourage the
taking of risks? (In my neighbourhood, one can simply go to The Three
Blackbirds and get a pint of Courage, but not everyone is as blessed in this
respect as I am.)


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, King's College London
voice: +44 (0)171 848 2784 fax: +44 (0)171 848 5081
<Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> <http://ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/>
maui gratia

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