13.0458 quality-control in humanities computing

From: Humanist Discussion Group (willard@lists.village.virginia.edu)
Date: Wed Mar 01 2000 - 20:12:07 CUT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 458.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: Michael Fraser <mike.fraser@computing- (16)
             Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities computing

       [2] From: Jan-Gunnar Tingsell <tingsell@hum.gu.se> (32)
             Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities computing

       [3] From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance) (26)
             Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities computing

       [4] From: "Malcolm Hayward, English, IUP, Indiana PA 15705" (11)
             Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities computing

       [5] From: "Price, Dan" <dprice@tui.edu> (18)
             Subject: RE: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities computing

       [6] From: Richard Giordano <Richard_Giordano@brown.edu> (6)
             Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities computing

             Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 19:57:32 +0000
             From: Michael Fraser <mike.fraser@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk>
             Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities


    Yes, I agree that this situation more than occasionally occurs. One could
    (almost flippantly) say, depends on what you think the purpose of
    humanities computing is. However, that won't help much except to say that
    one might respond by recommending some changes to the proposed paper to
    emphasise the methodology given that at the humanities computing
    conference there will be few specialists in Y present but that method X
    will appeal across the disciplines so represented.

    At school, when undertaking maths problems, did you get marks awarded for
    showing the working out of the answer even though the answer was wrong?

    Humanities Computing conferences and journals do, for the most part,
    concentrate on process rather than results. I have often wondered whether
    some of the more 'statistical' articles in LLC have ever been submitted
    (and accepted/rejected) by, for example, journals more firmly in biblical
    or classical studies.

    Best wishes, Mike

             Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 19:59:13 +0000
             From: Jan-Gunnar Tingsell <tingsell@hum.gu.se>
             Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities

    > Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 455.
    > From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
    > >
    >Allow me to pose the following hypothetical situation called to mind by
    >recent involvement in reviewing paper proposals. It is NOT a situation I
    >have faced in quite the form described, but it does illustrate a problem I
    >think we face.


    This is just a reply to you about your message about quality-control in
    humanities computing. You may quote it if you want. It is interesting you
    raised this question, as I have been thinking of it a great deal.

    As a reviewer for some years I have met problems similar to what you
    described. There seems to be many proposals of very low scientifical
    and methological quality, BUT some of them would be of great interest
    to discuss from a humanities computing point of view. One or two I
    have suggested as poster sessions, but some of them don't fit into
    this kind of demonstration. Then I have suggested them to be refused.

    Is it possible during the conference to set up some kind of seminars
    where it is possible to discuss things of interest but without the
    stamp of "quality control". I think this could be a forum for researchers
    as well as young students to get input from scholars' competence which
    isn't availible at their home departments. My interpretation of the
    situation is that, when someone wants to discuss use of computers
    in the projects or dissertation writing, they can receive very little
    help. Can we (ALLC/ACH) be of some help for them?


    Jan-Gunnar Tingsell                     <tingsell@hum.gu.se>
    Centre for Humanities Computing tel: +46 (0)31  773 4553
    Gteborg University                     fax: +46 (0)31  773 4455
    URL: http://www.hum.gu.se/hfds/

    --[3]------------------------------------------------------------------ Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 20:01:04 +0000 From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance) Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities


    > > case. Is there a middle ground?


    There is however the ability to pass on reviewers comments to the submitter. Of course this is a practice that is usually associated with the publication of monographs and articles. Given the ability to automate the tracking of submissions and the document management associated with them, should be no problem to adopt such feedback practices to conferences and colloquia. Indeed I recall a presentation of such a software suit at the Beyond Print conference a couple (or more) of years ago.

    Many conferences also create spaces for "posters." This would be one venue to accomodate interesting but incomplete scholarship. Hey, a gutsy entrepreneur might even offer a "salon des refuses" by posting a list of submissions that didn't make the final program due to space and time limitations. Folks could then access an url and/or contact these submitters. It is a nice way of recognizing effort without inadvertantly censoring or burying intellectual work. Of course, a submitter could request that the fate of the submission not become public knowledge. No coercion.

    Quality remains uncompromised. Access to feedback is widened.

    Where was that moral and professional conundrum?

    -- Francois Lachance Post-doctoral Fellow projet HYPERLISTES project http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~hyplist/

    --[4]------------------------------------------------------------------ Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 20:01:35 +0000 From: "Malcolm Hayward, English, IUP, Indiana PA 15705" <MHAYWARD@grove.iup.edu> Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities

    Willard poses, as always, a very interesting question regarding the evaluation of conference submissions. In journal editing we've got the possibility of asking the author to "revise and resubmit," but of course the time-frame of conference proposals don't allow such a luxury and no session organizer, I think, would want to get into all of that. Yet when I attend sessions, I think I am more interested in what sorts of ideas are generated rather than in acquiring some finished knowledge. I'd rather come away saying, "That opens up some new areas," than saying "That finishes up that issue." So I'd say "accept" with the recognition that conference attendees will be able to do their own winnowing. Malcolm Hayward

    --[5]------------------------------------------------------------------ Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 20:02:10 +0000 From: "Price, Dan" <dprice@tui.edu> Subject: RE: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities

    Well, how about being straight forward to give your analysis--the understanding of topic seems to be flawed while the real interest is in the application of the method.

    Then one could continue on to suggest a simple bit of editing to refocus the paper into a more acceptable designation? One could always encourage the use of the phrase "a hypothetical analysis," even in the title of the presentation and a reworking of the first few paragraphs as well as the conclusion.

    --dan Sincerely, Dan Price, Ph.D. Professor, Center for Distance Learning *********************************************************** The Union Institute (800) 486 3116 ext.222 440 E McMillan St. (513) 861 6400 ext.222 Cincinnati OH 45206 FAX 513 861 9026

    <http://www.tui.edu/Faculty/FacultyUndergrad/PriceDan.html>http://www.tui.ed u/Faculty/FacultyUndergrad/PriceDan.html ***********************************************************

    --[6]------------------------------------------------------------------ Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2000 20:02:38 +0000 From: Richard Giordano <Richard_Giordano@brown.edu> Subject: Re: 13.0455 quality-control in humanities

    I don't see the problem. Give the person explicit direction on what's wrong and how the work can be improved (perhaps, for example, the paper needs to be recast from a different perspective) and encourage the person to resubmit. Don't tell the person what to write, but help the person understand what needs to be done to improve the argument. For conference papers, there's always next year; for journal articles, authors very much depend on advice from peer reviewers.

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