Modern Language Association
Viewing convention Program information from 2009

Session Details

Wednesday, 30 December

748. Ranks, Brands, and the Editorial Process

1:45–3:00 p.m., 310, Philadelphia Marriott

Program arranged by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals

Presiding: Bonnie Wheeler, Southern Methodist Univ.

Speakers: Nicholas Birns, New School

Maurice A. Géracht, Coll. of the Holy Cross

Batya Susan Weinbaum, State Univ. of New York, Empire State Coll.

Jeffrey R. Di Leo, Univ. of Houston, Victoria

Nathan Grant, Saint Louis Univ.

William Craig Howes, Univ. of Hawai‘i, Mānoa

Thomas Lawrence Long, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

Respondent: Laura M. Stevens, Univ. of Tulsa

Author Comment
Subject: In media res
Prior to the convention, I posted on my blog site the remarks that I had prepared for this session of CELJ: http://thelongview.tv/2009/12/21/in-media-res-browsing-grazing-and-googleizing-scholarly-knowledge/
Subject: enjoyed the session immensely!
I enjoyed the energy in the room and how our thoughts all merged, and especially the idea of our giving ourselves our own ratings and awards. When I came home and finished my paper, which I just did today, I thought we should develop a "give back to the community" award for a journal that speaks back to and interacts with the community from which it came. I was going to upload my paper here but I see that I can't. The general idea that emerged while writing was, since the folks who are teaching on contingency lines are outnumbering those whose scholarship is reviewed for renewal and retention purposes, the function of publication for job security and hence the role of journals in that is dwindling, or at least changing, so how else can we rank what our journals respectively do? Batya Weinbaum weinbaumb@ecu.edu
Subject: Scholarship of Teaching
Batya raises an interesting question. Perhaps one approach might be to ensure that the scholarship of teaching and of application (as well as the traditional scholarship of discovery and of integration) are adequately represented in learned journals. Boyer famously distinguished among four types of scholarship: discovery, integration, application and teaching (the third and fourth of which typically are not high on the list for a tenure portfolio).
Subject: yes and how about a section on the politics of work
Thanks for your thoughts, Tom. nice to be heard and to spar like this. One idea I had in my article as well was that in ranking our own journals, we give a gold star (or whatever we are going to be giving) to journals that devote a special section or themed area to articles that discuss the changing nature of work, or simply the nature of work, within our institutions. Femspec had recently a special issue on discrimination, and then we are doing a series of follow up articles; NWSAjournal did a special issue on the tenure process. These issues came out about the same time as another special issue of WSQ. All three journals normally just publish straight up research of discovery but for some reason all of the different editorial groups found separately the need to take stock and look at what was going on in the academic workplace, concurrently. The recent Thought and Action of the NEA did as well, although it is usually dedicated to teaching. So integrating what we do in our journals, making sure we are balanced, would be a gold star category, in my view. Thoughts?
Subject: Gold Star?
I guess I'm wary of (re)creating our own ranking system, given that learned journals are so varied in scope, mission, culture, as well as the material conditions of production. In lieu of ranking, maybe what we need is our own version of USDA food consumer information: Ask CELJ member journals to identify every volume year what page percentage the journal devoted that year to each of the four types of scholarship identified by Boyer. (With the caveat: Past performance is no guarantee of future results!)
Subject: yah that is a good idea...I am against ranking too
That's really creative, what you came up with, Tom. I didn't like the Gold Star notion because it sounded like coming from the military too, or capitalism, as in a five star hotel...so let's do it, I suppose. Each our own is what you suggest?
Subject: Product Info
If journals published stats on the percentage of their pages devoted to specific kinds of scholarship (Boyer's four categories are well established, so would provide a useful template) readers, librarians, and potential contributors would assess the value of the journal to each's "consumer's" particular purposes. Each journal preserves its culture and values.

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