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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

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cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fitzpatrick, “Authority 3.0,” and Pessimism

Posted by Smurov, Guest Author, on 07/01/07 at 11:45 AM

Very interesting post this morning by Kathleen Fitzpatrick on Michael Jensen and “Authority 3.0.” Any scalable model of online scholarly review will not depend on the quality of the pre-reviewers, but on what could be called “peer-to-peer reviewers.”

That is, the pre-reviewer model is but the importation of the current mode of scholarly review—submitted articles vetted by one or two anonymous readers, sent back with vague notes based on arbitrary standards, etc.—but peer-to-peer reviews would be transparent and more democratic. 

The common complaint is that this would replace one fraught system with another, and to counter this, MediaCommons wants to develop “a schema for ‘reviewing the reviewers,’ for determining not just the authority of a text but the authority of the commentary on that text.”

To this end, Fitzpatrick asks:

[W]hat are the metrics we need to include both in the review of texts and in the review of the reviewers? How should those metrics themselves be evaluated? What is at stake for members of the network (whether authors, researchers, or more casual readers) in the inclusion and contextualization of those metrics? And what do we need to do, now, to communicate to our institutions that this is, in fact, the future of scholarly authority, and is thus a model of assessment that must be taken seriously by hiring, retention, and promotion committees?

As revolutionary as I would like this new model to be, I think its acceptance will depend on how successfully it grafts itself onto the traditional pre-review model.  The first generation of peer-to-peer reviewers must likely be cut from the same cloth as the current pre-reviewers—more to the point, they will need extensive experience as readers for major journals. 

Wooing such readers will be difficult, however, as they already have the prestige the Authority 3.0 crowd seeks.  The only solution seems to be that that some mensches do double-duty, climbing the traditional ladder while simultaneously building a better one. 


Thanks for the link, Smurov.  Your pessimism is well-taken, but—well, call me Pollyanna.  I can’t help but think that we have the ability to argue to our institutions that in our field—or, perhaps, *my* field, media studies, which is less entrenched in older models of institutional warranting, precisely because it’s relatively young—this is the way that authority is determined, where “this” equals whatever convincing combination of metrics we communally decide upon, provided that we simultaneously teach our institutions how to interpret and understand those metrics.

The question is, I think, less whether we can than whether we will, whether we’re fully convinced that such a new model of authority will have important effects on the future of the academy, and thus is worth fighting for.  I’m in this camp:  I think the old model is fundamentally broken, that it’s holding up rather than promoting the productive exchange of ideas both within the academy and between the academy and the rest of the intellectual world.

I’d also suggest, however—as I have before—that it’s the tenured folks who have the responsibility for starting this fight; probably the first reviews in which such a new model of authority is tested ought to be for reviews to full professor, rather than tenure or contract renewal reviews.

By KF on 07/02/07 at 04:47 AM | Permanent link to this comment

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