Some initial thoughts for a talk i’m doing tomorrow:
– what goes into producing a chapter or a paper? Lots of ideas, conversations, extracts from texts, chunks of writing etc. some of these have a social existence, in so far as they emerge out of formal or informal academic conversations, however most are private and few, if any, are meaningfully public?
– why is this status as public largely restricted to such ‘formal’ outputs? Is it some intrinsic characteristic of the activities which go into producing a paper or a chapter? Inevitably some significant cross-disciplinary variation here which I don’t feel qualified to make a conclusive statement about because it is an empirical question. However
I would contend that at least SOME of this largely private production can be ascribed to the restrictions of the communications infrastructure traditionally available to academics with these restrictions ossifying over time into seemingly ‘obvious’ norms of academic practice.
– these norms tend to restrict dialogue to the post-publication stage which, given the opportunity costs involved in engaging seriously with a paper, inevitably restricts the dialogues that emerge
– so why not try and seek dialogue at the pre publication stage? This would lead to a much broader array of dialogues because of the much lower opportunity costs attached to engaging with, say, a blog post rather than a paper
In the rest of the talk I will discuss:
– technical infrastructure required to do it
– benefits and costs to individuals
– its significance for impact
– my own experiences of trying this