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Author Topic: Independent Scholars Support Thread  (Read 233642 times)
secretweapon
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« on: January 16, 2009, 4:16:42 pm »

This thread is for independent scholars - people who engage in scholarly research but are not regularly, formally or frequently attached to a university.  I've started this thread in Research Questions because independent scholars, though they may sometimes teach at the university level, are defined by their participation in research activities.

Independent scholars may or may not be seeking more permanent work in academe.  Some do not intend to pursue TT jobs.  Some, like me, think of themselves as between jobs, and hope that their ongoing research will eventually get them positions in higher education.  Some are happy in their positions, some are miserable.  However, all are independent scholars by choice: research doesn't just happen, and independent scholars face special challenges to getting research done.  These are, principally: lack of institutional financial support, lack of access to resources like libraries and labs, exclusion from grant competitions due to lack of institutional affiliation, isolation from a community of scholars, and snobbism about independent scholarship.   

Please post your wisdom, advice, encouragement and experiences of being an independent scholar. 

This thread is inspired by the following brilliant post by Bibliothecula:

If someone really cares:

I am an independent scholar who adjuncts when the work is available. I've taught at private and public universities. As a "trailing spouse" to a scientist, my pay on the TT would never match his in industry, so we've decided that where he goes--and his company shuffles people around fairly frequently--I go. Therefore, I'm not on the market for a TT position, nor do I ever foresee being so. I conduct research and produce books and articles in the humanities. I go to all of my annual national conferences and present. I do a ton of service work: reviews, committees, grant evaluators, you name it. I've been employed as a development editor for several textbook publishers, have worked and continue to work as the editor of scholarly journals and publications, and do freelance academic editing. I've served as an academic consultant on non-academic projects and with non-adacemic publishers.

If that makes me a non-academic, well, pfffft.
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treehugger1
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2009, 4:29:02 pm »

Since I plan on becoming an independent scholar soon (as soon as the diss. is done), I'll be following this thread.

Thanks, secretweapon!

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secretweapon
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2009, 4:32:54 pm »

Thank you, Treehugger1!  I don't know why I didn't start this sooner.  I really miss having academic colleagues, and that's the main reason I post here so often.
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omgacademe
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2009, 4:37:23 pm »

Do adjuncts count?  I am (somewhat) associated with a university but support for research?  Pfft.  I am at school today working on revising one of the two papers I hope to get submitted before the semester starts week after next.  I've been asked by three seperate people what I am doing here since school isn't in session.  Never mind that I am sitting at a computer with a stats program open and scribbled-on pages all around me.

Of course, at least I have a room with computers and stats programs to use... So, yeah.  Do adjuncts count?
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Secretweapon (2008)
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neutralname
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2009, 4:41:36 pm »

So scholars with full time jobs at community colleges and 4 year colleges (not universities) are independent scholars?  Sometimes I feel like an independent scholar, but I don't think I qualify really.
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secretweapon
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2009, 5:05:26 pm »

I'm not really interested in shaping up a tight definition.  I'm interested in support and to know that I am not the only one plodding along by myself. 

If you go to a conference and don't have an institutional affiliation to list (and get a horrid "independent scholar" nametag), you are definitely an independent scholar.

If you have an institutional affiliation but are treated, or feel like, an independent scholar, then by all means join in this thread.

I hope that this thread will generate advice about how to be a more happy and productive IS.  I always thought that I was interested in research for research's sake, but it's been harder to remained motivated without colleagues to share my interest.  Going to conferences helps a lot, but I miss the casual interactions by the photocopier, too.

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bacardiandlime
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2009, 5:11:45 pm »

Secret - I think it's a great idea for a thread. Maybe it can be made a sticky to keep it visible.
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secretweapon
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2009, 5:13:01 pm »

Secret - I think it's a great idea for a thread. Maybe it can be made a sticky to keep it visible.

Thanks, Bacardiandlime!  How does one do that?
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bacardiandlime
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That makes me more gangster than you


« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2009, 5:17:17 pm »

Message the moderators, they did it for the AHA meetup thread (I just clicked 'report post to moderator' and explained). I'm not sure how to contact them otherwise, I've sent PMs to 'moderator' but haven't had a reply.
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bibliothecula
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2009, 1:53:21 pm »

Secretweapon, thanks for doing this! I say, welcome all!

We are none of us alone.
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malcha
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posting live from her FCFU


« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2009, 2:38:19 pm »

I'm posting here now so that this will still be showing up on my New Replies thread when I have rashly resigned from academe and am trying to research articles while Malchakitty works three jobs to support me.

Seriously, this is a good thread.
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promovenda
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2009, 12:17:49 pm »

I'll follow this also. I'm writing the diss at the moment, but am an academic spouse and older person. For various reasons I don't anticipate doing more teaching that adjunct when I'm done (if I get that much) but hope to keep researching and writing. So I'd be interested in supporting independent scholars and hearing about their lives.
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dept_geek
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through a glass darkly....


« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2009, 3:31:37 pm »

Posting so I remember to follow this thread.

My colleagues just roll their eyes when I tell them I am working on a paper.

Good idea, and good thread.
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dellaroux
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2009, 3:42:35 pm »

Good idea; I'm also posting to get it on my 'daily reading list'
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herophilus
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2009, 4:33:02 pm »

You might be interested in the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.  http://www.ncis.org/   I don't know if they have a listserv, but it looks like some of their linked research groups do.
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