Welcome back everyone! This week’s readings feature my usual selections: some of the problems with innovative forms of peer review, commentary on higher education, technology and issues of gender and the cost of motherhood. And a lovely Oatmeal cartoon which reminds us all about the importance of good email etiquette. Enjoy!
- The Journal of Digital Humanities: Post-Publication Review or the Worst of Peer Review? “The problems of traditional peer review are well known. Peer review is not transparent; it takes too long; the true blindness of peer review is questionable, especially in small fields; its gatekeeping function encourages the conservatism of scholarship. To address these concerns, the Journal of Digital Humanities published its first issue in Winter 2011 as an effort to work through some of these problems. JDH champions a “post-publication” model of review where its editors collate some of the best existing DH work and publish it in journal form. How well does this publication model work in practice?”
- Pushing Up Ivies: Institutional Prestige and the Academic Caste System: “Previous research has continuously reinforced the importance of institutional prestige as a major factor in hiring job candidates. Arthur Stinchcombe likens the process of placement to clan-like marriages where PhD candidates, “correspond to women as being people of low status and power,” are, “exchanged partially to show mutual respect [between institutions], partly to improve each others’ material positions,” between appropriate institutions. Shin-Kap Han shows that academic exchanges represent markets organized by the “prestige principle” such that a structure similar to Immanuel Wallerstein’s World Systems Theory emerges. There is a core of Class I departments who are true peers and place ubiquitously, a semi-periphery of Class II departments who are in a continuous state of competition with one another and place accordingly, and a large periphery of Class III departments who struggle to place even within their own class.”
- Kid’s Can’t Use Computers… And This Is Why It Should Worry You: “I handed back the MacBook and the woman opened up Safari. ‘The Internet’s not working,’ she stated with disdain. I’ve heard this sentence so many times now from students and staff, that I have a stock reaction. Normally I pull out my mobile phone and pretend to tap in a few numbers. Holding the handset to my ear I say: ‘Yes, give me the office of the President of the United States…. NO, I WILL NOT HOLD. This is an emergency…. Hello, Mister President, I’m afraid I have some bad news. I’ve just been informed that The Internet is not working.’
- Feminist Disney smashes the patriarchy in your childhood favorites: “Five Signs You Might be a Disney Feminist: 1. You’ve gotten upset over a princess redesign… for reasons other than the excessive glitter. [...] 3. You can’t count the number of times you’ve replied along the lines of, “BUT CHAMELEONS…AND FLOATING LANTERNS…AND ACTUALLY EUROPE HAS NOT BEEN ALL WHITE SINCE FOREVER?” when other fans say that there are logical reasons Tangled and Brave (and potentially Frozen??) have all white casts.”
- Mothers are not ‘opting out’—they are out of options: “Here is how raising a child in America has changed over the past decade. Between 2004 and 2010, the average out-of-pocket costs for delivering a baby rose fourfold, making it the costliest in the world. Two decades ago, insured American women, on average, paid nothing. Today the average out-of-pocket cost with insurance is $3,400, with many insured women paying much more, and uninsured mothers charged tens of thousands of dollars. The average American woman begins the journey of motherhood paying off mountains of debt. One could argue there is indeed a “choice” at play: the hospitals and health insurance companies can choose to stop inflating prices, charging for unwanted procedures, or refusing to cover necessary ones. But with the health insurance industry facing little accountability, the burden of “choice” reverts back to the mother. The skyrocketing cost of childbirth corresponds with the rise of the homebirth movement, which, while appealing to some women for personal, non-economic reasons, is also a way to try to dodge the hospital bill (for women with complicated deliveries, this “choice” is quickly curtailed).”
Finally: the Oatmeal reminds us about what not to do when sending emails:
More email Oatmeal fun here.
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