13.0135 online publication

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 12 Aug 1999 20:13:29 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 135.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Chris Ann Matteo <chrisann@walrus.com> (39)
Subject: Re: 13.0128 online publication

[2] From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk> (30)
Subject: free vs. proprietary publications

Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 20:14:11 +0100
From: Chris Ann Matteo <chrisann@walrus.com>
Subject: Re: 13.0128 online publication

My friend Bob Scott at Columbia caught me sneaking about the library halls
yesterday, and reminded me that I intended to let the list know what
became of my electronic pre-publication dilemma.

J-C Guedon offered a fascinating, and hopefully inspiring, account of the
various institutional issues involved. I can only share my own personal

I opted to mount the full-text of the talk on my own account and link it
to my online vita. Thus I coded and maintain both of these documents. I
gave the link to the webmaster of the conference website, and now it is
linked also to that source. The file is headed and concluded with very
scary (although perhaps vain) copyright statements. I plan to seek either
a peer-reviewed print or online journal, but it will remain as a
convenience, a part of my online record, until such a venue is secured.

I think this has a lot of advantages and limited risks. As long as I
remain active in seeking another publication venue for it, I think the
chances of being scooped by another qualified academic are slim -- after
all, several authoritative pairs of eyes and ears were at the talk.
Students might steal it, sure, but I have a hunch that Bakhtin's critical
jargon would be a clear tip-off.

As an advantage, folks whom I have met at the conference and I can
exchange work at a low cost. Like sharing my phone number, I can choose
with whom I share the link -- and likewise, it's not always possible to
avoid a random obscene phone call or an impertinent salesman. I have
chosen to do this for another paper I am scheduled to give at NASSR'99 on
Sunday. I have a rather unappealing time-slot in the program (one of the
last sessions on the meeting's last day...), so this way I can mention it
to folks I meet at the conference, in advance of the actual talk, and
perhaps I will be able to get some timely feedback even if audience
turnout is sparse.

Thanks for the helpful thoughts on electronic prepublishing.

* Chris Ann Matteo .("."). *
| chrisann@walrus.com ( \ : / ) The finest language is mostly made|
* Comparative Lit (`'-.;;;.-'`) up of simple unimposing words... *
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Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 20:13:56 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: free vs. proprietary publications

This is in belated response to Chris Ann Mateo's question about the
prudence of electronic pre-publication. A great deal depends on the field
one is in, its conventions and what one might call the rhythm of
publication in it -- for a given scholar, numerous rapid-fire, relatively
minor, conversational pieces in a field that moves very rapidly at the
level of granularity these pieces address, or a few, relatively major, more
formal essays in a slow-moving field. The concern in the former kind is, I
suppose, to get the ideas (or fragments of ideas) out there, into
circulation as rapidly as possible so that things can move ahead. I'd
suppose much also depends on how new the field or speciality is. In a very
new field, such as humanities computing, where the people in it are feeling
their way about as if in the dark, the need for discussion is great and
opportunity significant for getting known simply by having an idea and
circulating it.

Allow me to be an idealist for a moment. As such my point of departure is
the desire to communicate, which means to be taken seriously -- among other
things. Some of what I do simply wouldn't be taken seriously if it were
just put online and given away; it wouldn't reach those I want to reach
(and so, metamorphosing into a pragmatist, I wouldn't get the credit for
having done something recognisably scholarly and wouldn't move up the
ranks). So I don't give this stuff away, nor do I pre-publish it. Some of
what I do, however, is more likely to reach those I want to reach if it is
online; besides it's so tentative that my only realistic motivation for
publishing it myself is to stir discussion. Some of this reaches a point at
which it crosses the line, after significant changes and enhancements, into
proprietary publication -- because it reaches a point at which it needs
what that sort of publication offers in order fully to communicate.

The pragmatist manages the balance between the two. The idealist makes sure
that communication remains uppermost.


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