Friday, March 14, 2008

Publications and visibility

ETA: Read the comments if you haven't already done so. Thanks to my readers and commenters, there's really good stuff there! ETA (2): Ooh! And now Dr. Crazy and Horace have taken it up, and broadened the discussion beyond us medievalists. (I love Crazy's Star Trek / Lost in Space / Heroes analogy!)

In the comments to a post at In the Middle (unfortunately, I can't remember where or how it came up), JJC posited that the trifecta of article publications for a medievalist in literature was Exemplaria, JMEMS (ETA: that's Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies for the uninitiated), and Speculum. For me that's one down, two to go, and in fact, I've been thinking for some time that I need to develop two projects that I've only been toying with until now, and to develop them with eye towards each of the journals I haven't published in yet.

Other than the one journal I have published in -- my first article, actually; and now reprinted in a large collection of essays meant to represent the "state of the field" in that particular area (how cool is that?) -- my articles, both published and forthcoming, are all in essay collections.

That's not the way to be visible, is it? That's both a rhetorical question and a real one, because while that's my impression, I also want to know what you think. Do journal articles "matter" more than articles in collections in terms of visibility and weight on your CV? (And btw, I know there are different practices out there, but here I'm talking about essay collections that were peer reviewed, both at the individual article level and at the level of the whole collection. So in those terms, they have equal weight.)

And after tenure (assuming that the provost, president, and board sign off on mine -- still haven't heard from them), is publication visibility just about professional reputation and influence? And how much does that matter in promotion to full professor? I mean, presumably one wants one's work read so that it has an influence on the field, but beyond that, what choices should a person be making in terms of where to place things, and why?


No dogs were mentioned -- and certainly not harmed! -- in the creation of this post.


Thoroughly Educated said...

Ah, this is a question much on my mind at the moment, as I hack away at an essay with the thought that maybe this is the one I try to submit to Speculum.

I think that beyond the 300-pound gorrilla journals that are going to arrive in every medievalist's mailbox (i.e. Speculum, Speculum, and Speculum), there can be quite a bit of distance between what's visible in one's subfield, and what counts institutionally. In my dark corner of the field, one can actually gain significant visibility through pieces that scarcely count at all for tenure and promotion, like a festschrift, or an essay collection that's the only one-volume place to go on an underexplored topic - because people who don't reliably all read the same journals will nonetheless look forward to browsing in volumes of collected essays as a way of exploring the state of some portion of the field. That doesn't mean that such collections, especially festschrifts, will contain everybody's best work, but they may attract a surprisingly diverse audience.

Likewise, what's visible in your subfield may be invisible in mine. Confession: I had to look up what JMEMS was! I would accuse JJC of latism :-)

Susan said...

Like you, I have more often published in essay collections than journals. Fortunately, in my field, the big bibliography (Royal Hist. Soc. Bib of Publications in British and Irish Hist) indexes essay collections. I've missed major lit things because MLA does not index essays in collections....

So the answer is, it depends on the collection, how it's priced and marketed. But journals are usually more accessible, because people can ususally get them electronically.

Dr. Virago said...

I have now edited the post for the sake of anyone who might not know what JMEMS stands for. Btw, I think that they're open to early stuff, that "medieval and early modern" covers the broad swath, just as it does for Exemplaria. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong!) However, the articles from there that I know best, and why I think they'd be a good fit for me and my work, are ones that work in that medieval-early modern border area of the 15th and 16th centuries.

And you raise good points about the issue of "visible to whom," T. E. In fact, I have to say I'm not so much interested in publishing in journals that are much more narrowly focused on the things I work on because in some of those areas I think we're too cut off from the rest of medieval studies, even medieval literary studies. They don't hear what we've been saying lately because we're talking to ourselves. And that's sometimes the problem with essay collections, too. *But*, if they're like a Festscrift or have a broad thematic thread, you're right -- they might serendipitously attract a surprising audience.

It wasn't only JJC's comment that spurred my thinking on this, but also a comment in one of my tenure letters (we're allowed to see them in our open records state). The rock star who wrote glowingly of my work also noted that of my published works, one was not very visibly placed, and I felt like she was giving me advice. Now, she's a late medievalist who has largely worked in the same genres as I, so for her to say something wasn't visible was kind of interesting. (The article in question is in an interdisciplinary essay collection that might not obviously draw people working on the genre I was writing about.)

I think this is also raising all sorts of issues about (inter)disciplinarity, too. Although medievalists like to talk about how we've always been interdisciplinary, we still break down into these little sub-disciplines and aren't always as visible to people in our broader fields (e.g., medieval literary studies, or even medieval *English* literary studies).

It's a quandary. Maybe it does come down to asking oneself "who do I want to read my work."

Alison said...

I, too, have my articles in essay collections that are also peer-reviewed. This is kinda an off-topic question, but on your CV, do you mention that the collection is peer-reviewed? It just seems that if these things aren't created equal, then we should be saying so in our CVs.

squadratomagico said...

I usually aim towards the broad end of the spectrum. When I compose an article, I try to use medieval data in the service of an argument that, ideally, could be of interest to scholars working in quite different fields and languages. So, for example, if I were to write about medieval mappaemundi, I would first read some general theory about ways that ideas of spatial organization and representation intersect with culture; then I would try to address both the maps themselves and make an argument about the more abstract category of "space." In theory, I would hope that not only medievalists, but also folks working on, say, ancient Chinese maps, might find something interesting there for comparison.

My favorite line from my tenure letters was one that addressed this: "few scholars manage to be so broad and so finely-tuned at the same time."

I've never published in a purely medievalist journal -- everything I have out is in "general" history journals. I do have some edited-collection pieces as well, which usually are targeted to a somewhat narrower audience. At OPU, there is a definite bias against edited collections -- my department disputes this, and often manages to make the case that such venues are peer-reviewed and equal in quality to journal publications. But it's never a "given" that such publications will be regarded as significant; they have to be "argued for." It's wrong-headed and annoying, but it's indicative of how some folks think, FWIW.

Anonymous said...

I had no tenure trouble with my "Absent Triumphator" piece in Rob Stillman's 2006 Spectacle and Public Performance collection from Brill (note how I provide sufficient bibliographic information for anyone who might be interested in consulting the piece). We simply pointed out that Brill had sent the collection to an outside reviewer who then recommended publication. The trouble came (as you know, Dr. V.) on the beancounting side of things: several members of the college committee had trouble grokking the idea that humanists follow different publication patterns and argued that I had too few publications in print. In fact, the beancounting mentality was so strong that another colleague, who had been worried that her grad school articles (published just as she got her job here in 2001) wouldn't count, discovered that, to the committee, such distinctions (work done prior to the probationary period) didn't matter. Numbers alone counted. So there's an alternate date point.

JMEMS is a hard journal to publish in--primarily because of the number of special topics issues they do each year. I think they're averaging about 1 open-content issue per annum. Exemplaria, though, has gone to 4 issues a year, so they may become an even more important publication outlet.

Karl Steel said...

JJC argued for the trifecta here. Observing that this was the trifeca perhaps because it's his trifecta, I argued for some other lists, e.g., the interpretative t.c. (Exemplaria/JMEMS/SAC [or New Medieval Literatures]); there's the hard-core traditionalist (or the sitzfleisch) t.c. (Speculum/Traditio/Annales [better suggestion?]); and the all-Latin triple crown. You may select from any 3 of the following:
Medium Aevum
Medievalia et Humanistica

If you are a grad student, you may substitute Comitatus and a presentation at Vagantes for any two of the above.

I don't know about tenure yet--since at BC one really has to work NOT to get tenure--but my inclination is to want to publish in anything that makes itself available online as pdfs (so that's part of my happiness over Exemplaria switching to the new publisher). Anything else isn't going to be read nearly as much; certainly festschrift are unlikely to show up in minimally stocked libraries (e.g., BC). They'll be read only by our current colleagues, but not by our FUTURE colleagues (students).

Steve Muhlberger said...

I subscribe to no journals and find articles in other ways, so I look at this from an accessibility to my undergrad students point of view. I don't buy essay collections for our library very often at all -- to costly for the potential benefit. However vast numbers of journals are available to my students in searchable form.

The relevance to your question it seems to me is the accessibility question.

I have an article in my advisor's festschrift and that FS got around I'm sure because he's famous and his ideas are provocative and original. For late antiquity historiography people, it's a FS that was bound to be read. Other FSs have different audiences but one must suspect that some don't find one. But they all cost $100.

Anonymous said...

Karl, it's worth noting that anything you publish will be made available to your colleagues and your outside reviewers--so publication venue will not affect your tenure review in the sense of access. It's also worth noting that P&T committees beyond the department level will probably not read your work directly, preferring to rely instead on your internal reviews, your outside reviews, and your own research and teaching statements to make their decision. (I insert a "probably" here because individual institutions may have different P&T practices--but I've yet to hear of an extra-departmental committee reading the candidate's work directly.)

Thoroughly Educated said...

Dr. V. (and commentators): All good points. As an Anglo-Saxonist, I find myself torn between wanting to do what Sq does - make larger theoretical points to a broader audience - and wanting to be read by the other people who work on the texts that interest me. Those people tend to be Anglo-Saxon historians, so publishing in a more general literary journal is just never going to get me there. Speculum would, or ASE; as I move down the food chain of journals, I always come back to interdisciplinary early medieval journals, because that's where I can remain in conversation with my textual community. Probably not so good for my career, but maybe better for my work.

Anonymous said...

Karl's mention of SAC (the unfortunately acronymed Studies in the Age of Chaucer) reminds me that YLS (Yearbook of Langland Studies) is another high-profile venue for Middle English specialists--if narrower in focus than SAC.

The biggest problem with these venues (and with other top journals like New Medieval Literatures and Viator) is that they're annuals, reducing acceptance rates and potentially increasing publication delays. (Not that quarterly journals don't frequently take 2-3 years after acceptance to publish a piece--I have a colleague whose article was accepted in 2003 but only appeared in Fall 2007, a 4 year wait.)

Anonymous said...

In my several years on the market, I've thought a bit about this (I don't have a t-t job, but have managed to piece together various gigs here and there).

While I do have a few things (3ish) in collections of the type mentioned (external readers and read for individual contributions and on the whole), on the

advise of my graduate programme I have made a concerted effort to get things (5ish) in a range of journals, both medieval and general (in English); I was

told that those would count much more towards getting a permanent job. I like to think it was worth it because it does often take more work to go

through the process of working with some journals (fwiw one collection actually took the most *time* to see through, but only because some

contributors were two years late). The external reviews I've had for the collections have been generally speaking (but not exclusively) much more

perfunctory than most of those for double-blind journals, which for the most part (but again with exceptions) have been thorough, and more importantly

have helped me produce much more polished articles. This could simply be luck of the draw or be reinforced by a bias towards the journals perhaps.

I do think JJC's list is a bit latist and theorist, or biased towards one type of medievalist however one calls it. For some people Early Medieval Europe is

a good hit (although yes, it's more historical). Amongst people I know JEGP is usually considered part of building one's career. Viator? Mediaeval

Studies? in some quarters those ain't nothing to sneeze at. Journal of Medieval Latin? Medium AEvum (yeah, I know some people call it Medium

Tedium)? None of these would beat Speculum in most anyone's list, but they might compete with the other two in some estimations (Yeah, now I'm saying what others have said--I type slowly and post belatedly).

Also important is where one is. It seems to me that in Britain more people have more things in collections (presumably because the RAE assesses the

quality of the work independent of where is necessarily appears), where hiring committees in the U.S. appear to be more impressed with something in

an 'important' journal (this is at least what I have been repeatedly told). In Scandinavia, where I presently work, quantity not quality is more important and

people tend to publish more in collections that are organized in their departments or research networks (although this is beginning to change as journals

and presses receive scores from the universities). It's somewhat frustrating because it truly does limit the circulation and influence of the work. There

is a certain amount of prestige attached to publishing in English, but little importance placed on seeing that people who read English in fact have access

to the work. Indeed, theses in some countries will get ISBN numbers and the university will print a dozen or two copies, so in some respect it can be

considered a 'book', but in reality outside the home country, it will only exist as a photocopy, if anything, on a few bookshelves.

As an aside the European Science Foundation is developing a European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) which may have some influence on

where things go, especially at universities where departmental funding structures are dependent on how much and where members publish (for example,

my department gets a small bonus for anything I publish based; the amount is based on the 'rank' of the publication). I think some universities or

administrators may use another index to determine how important the work of the faculty is (Thomson's Arts and Humanities Citation Index--the much

mythologized snag in this system is that if you write a really bad, inflamatory article (say proving spontaneous generation) you'll get more citations than

a defendable, but less controversial article, because, let's face it, even with peer review howlers get through)

For NAmerica, I've been told that a medievalist is well served at least before tenure to do something in wide-ranging literary journals so I placed things

in Modern Philology and The Review of English Studies. Obviously PMLA or the American Historical Review would be a coup, but what if one could

land something in Narrative or Representations, or perhaps more likely New Literary History, things that people outside the period can recognize.

There's no shortage of ways to go about it, I guess. But when someone names anything as the 'trifecta' in a field that has such as range of possibilities, in

my opinion it's just a way of saying here are the three journals I use most often, or consider most important, or am most consistly impressed by, or

something along those lines. Personally, I really favour journals especially if they have a good on-line presence; I've seen too much good work tucked

away where it will never be read in books too expensive for small libraries and in collections that aren't worth buying for the one or two chapters that

might interest an individual. I like to think what we write isn't just a line on the c.v. that then makes it's way straight into the recycling bin. On the other

hand, I have spoken with people who effectively admit that after tenure it's simply less hassle for them to publish in collections where their

contributions are effectively invited even if there's a pro forma reader.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:03
My sincere apologies for the formatting. Very impolite on my part. I didn't think pasting from notepad would do such a thing. Mea culpa.

Matthew Gabriele said...

Great, and important, thread methinks.

Anyway, I know that journal articles are more valued where I am because I've been told so. I do plan on making the point, however, that edited collections are still peer-reviewed. We're not in the business of vanity publishing here... :-)

Also, I think there's something to be said for spreading your stuff around -- different journals and some edited collections -- simply to allow lots of different people to see your stuff and follow your footnotes to your work elsewhere. I'd guess I find quite a bit of stuff through sheer dumb luck, combined with other people's good footnotes.

And I do have an article coming out in the next Viator (2008), if anyone's interested.

Anonymous said...

I don't have enough publications really to weigh in on this question, but it's a fascinating one. There is of course a difference between different edited collections - I have a piece in one collection that is cited all the time (the collection, not my essay) (no thanks to my essay! It's just a good press and it has all "the" people who write on the subject - and me) and has been reviewed in good places (even Speculum, which doesn't usually review essay collections), and I have a piece in another collection which I suspect flies beneath almost everyone's radar. I have no idea if T&P committees can make such distinctions, though. (It's also perhaps complicated by the fact that I'm the only historian in the first collection and everyone who reads it assumes I'm a literature person - probably a not very sophisticated/theoretical one!)

Personally, I've found it a hell of a lot easier to publish in edited collections - they've all happened through various conference experiences/connections - but they've all been peer reviewed collections. Does that mean they're less valuable than journal pubs I'd have to suffer more for? I can't say I think the journal articles I've read are qualitatively any better than essays in collections, but then, I would say that.

I do actually read a lot of stuff from essay collections, just as much from journals, I think - one of the things I love about Kzoo is going to the book stalls and perusing essay collection TOCs.

(I'm a huge fan of JMEMS, myself.)

LanglandinSydney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LanglandinSydney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LanglandinSydney said...

Shameless plug alert: thanks to Barrett for the plug of Yearbook of Langland Studies! You're swell as always Rob. Just to make sure folks know YLS has broadened its ambit beyond good ol WL much as we love the guy. Recent published essays on, for instance, the Findern MS and Lollard sermons (plus Wittgenstein, textual studies, 16c plowman writings, etc); the 2008 volume, about to go to press, has essays on Rolle and the decline of alliterative verse in the 16c. Rockin and rollin. Check out for your latest fix and to become a member of the Intl Piers Plowman Society and to get you thinking of YLS as a good outlet. BTW YLS's acceptance rate is no less as an annual than it would be if it appeared more often. Rigorous peer review, yes, but no one gets turned down because we're an annual. One of the benefits of being a niche journal.

(those deleted comments were mine, this is the corrected version --LW)

Anonymous said...

Just to put the accessibility issue into a different perspective. Indeed, many collections will be cited within the field and read by our peers, who work at comparable institutions, but more often than not they can cost now ca. 90 euros, or well over 100 dollars (I'm thinking Brepols, Ashgate, Brill).

John Miles Foley told me about how once they made Oral Tradition open access on-line, they started to reach people they had never had the possibility of reaching before, in for example India, Pakiston, Sri Lanka etc.

My wife once went to a conference where a woman from Iran attended. Her university, where she teaches comparative literature, has essentially no library. She presented a paper where a lot of her secondary references were culled from the internet. Her own ideas were fascinating, but it gave her paper less sex-appeal than those who were quoting the most recent rock star, obviously.

Even if we think more narrowly of the Middle Ages, consider places like Central European University in Budapest, the Medieval Centre in Prage, colleagues in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and so on. These essay collections are by and large simply not in the budget. Admittedly, their journal subscriptions are very limited as well, but sometimes they can afford the single item fee for an artcle that is important or the temporary personal subscription to the journal to quickly download an item. There are other options as well of course, this is broadly speaking. But our/their research and the course it takes is directly dependent on the types of things one has quick and dependable access to.

Dr. Virago said...

Wow, everyone, thanks for all the thoughtful comments. You're bringing up things I hadn't even thought of -- especially accessibility outside of western research libraries, and accessibility to students. I'm definitely one of those annoying people who's spent her entire academic life in research unversities -- although I'm teachable, I swear -- and so a lot of this hadn't occurred to me. Even here at Rust Belt, although our student body is a regional-comprehensive-uni kind of student body, our university is categorized as a research institution. Plus, though our library isn't the most extensive in the world, we're in a state that has the best statewide borrowing system ever -- even my profs in CA had heard of it, raved about it, and said I'd love it -- so I basically have the access of an R1.

So, yeah, I was thinking like a myopic R1-er and really only thinking in terms of my professional identity. And you've all given me good stuff to think about, stuff that I *want* to be thinking about.

And btw, I didn't mean to make this a debate about JJC's "trifecta" comment per se. It's just that that's what reminded me that I'd been thinking about the where-to-publish issue for some time and that it was blog-worthy. So Jeffrey, if you read this, I didn't mean to set you up!

And also, I wanted at least one post on the front page that was about something academic! :)

medieval woman said...

Dr. V this IS a good post and comment thread! I think T.E. et al. are completely correct - it depends on what's good for you or your subfield. I've got a piece coming out in Modern Philology and another coming out in a (pretty damned particular) peer-reviewed medieval collection from Brepols next year. But I've been thinking about future article venues as well - I'd like to place something in a field journal, but for me that would also include JEBS (Journal of the Early Book Society) as well as the toppies. I find Speculum to be more history-oriented, personally (nothing against my history peeps for sure!). But the big thing for me at the moment is the book - sans book, tenure is a no-go! Thanks for posting this - I'm happy to hear what other people think on this subject!

Jeffrey Cohen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffrey Cohen said...

I'm reading this, but as always I am late to the party. It's a great set of questions, Dr V, and I'm glad that my frivolous comment masquerading as a Speech Act helped spur something deeper.

Anything peer reviewed typically counts highly to both a college/university tenure committee and to an outside reviewer of a tenure case. Period. It doesn't usually matter at all whether it is a journal or a collection of essays so long as it has been declared kosher via this secretive process which only allows truth to emerge.

Personally, I think this reliance upon the magic phrase "peer reviewed" is an excuse for evaluators NOT to use their own brains, read something, and judge it for themselves. Anyone who thinks about peer review for more than ten seconds will immediately realize what a fallible, crazy system it is, susceptible to abuse and to favoritism at every turn.

As to the Trifecta: what Karl doesn't know is that when you complete it as I've outlined, a secret committee of medievalists who watches over such things sends you a small bouquet of flowers, a medal, and a certificate suitable for framing.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

One more thing: it was JMEMS's obsession with special topics that allowed me to place something there (a cluster on medieval race, just as I was working on medieval race); Exemplaria worked because I proposed and assembled a cluster myself (on medieval noise) ... and Speculum accepted my piece because for a short while there was a sympathetic editor there who I suspected would send my essay to readers who would take it seriously, and not to some dessicated crank who would inveigh against use of theory, style, or whatever else was making them dyspeptic on that day. Thus, I believe, did the first mention of Deleuze and Guattari make its way into Speculum ... although writing for that journal was really an exercise in adapting my methods to its love of Latin and its copious footnoting of obscure works. It was a lot of fun to do that essay, a little piece called "The Flow of Blood in Medieval Norwich."

On a related note, that same Speculum editor is the one who plucked my edited collection The Postcolonial Middle Ages out of the "Also received" bin (where the books go that will not be reviewed in the journal, that list of doomed orphans at the back of each issue) and reviewed it himself, sympathetically. Peer review gone right? No, a further example of the fallible chain of human actors who have a profound influence upon work they may or may not take with appropriate seriousness. I could go on and on about the license to be crazy that the anonymity of peer review can grant ... but want to stress that these three essays say light of day not because peer review declared them to be True, but because of strategy, opportunity, and realization of the human actors behind publishing.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

ay light of day = saw light of day. See, true peer review would never allow a speller as baddd az I amm too publishh.

Anonymous said...

Anon from above.

I'd just like to nod emphatically to what JJC said on peer review. Although I like journals for accessibility, the peer review system is all that he says. Finding the sympathetic editor and the right day for reviewers...

And for that matter, I hasten to add that some very so-called prestige publications don't blind peer review, *cough* Anglo-Saxon England *cough*, and if you were say to send in an article proportedly debunking Lapdige's career of Aldhelm, guess who the first reader would be? The second reader would then probably be whoever he reccommends. I make sure I know the policy ahead of time now.

Truth and human actors, indeed!

Anonymous said...

The first anonymous commentator here is so close to my thinking that I was faintly worried I'd already commented in my sleep, or something. Obviously everyone has a different trifecta in each field: I think mine would be Early Medieval Europe, Past and Present and, yes, Speculum, perhaps the one US journal that European readers take with equal seriousness as their own, though Viator is close behind, jostling with European hardcore like Frühmittelalterliche Studien. The fact that Viator, despite being US-homed, is actually published by a European house probably has something to do with that. As for Speculum's appeal to all ages, I think this probably comes from its readiness to define medievalism large; you never know what you may learn from it because all kinds of fields may be represented, though not often archaeology I guess, an omission which EME is now working to fix.

Obviously my perspective is very different to that of other commentators here, partly because I am so unseasonably Early, but also because of being in the UK. That UK perspective does give me a very mercenary perspective on the question Dr V originally asked however. As you may know in the UK the government runs a four-yearly review exercise called the Research Assessment Exercise, and a department's score in this can materially affect its chances of future funding. This focuses attention to publication very seriously. It also means that:

(1) whereas someone above was saying that in a review they had, pre-employment publications were also useful to count, in the UK only stuff since the last RAE is of real relevance; so if you've been inactive or slow to produce because of some personal difficulty, you are in real danger even if you have a good record before then;

(2) close to the RAE deadline one's potential employment chances hang on recent publication more than almost anything, whereas immediately afterwards one's research plans get much more of a hearing; and

(3) people rate output the same way as the RAE does, and the RAE grades journal articles higher than it grades contributions to edited volumes. So in the UK the answer to Dr V's question will always be: yes, journal articles count for more, that's just how it is.

Now why the RAE made that last decision is more obscure; there is certainly the consideration of better exposure and also tougher review; most journals review double blind and get too much material, unsolicited, whereas book submissions have trouble getting enough material and solicit it, so their review is rarely blind and rarely double, and the pressure of selection much lower. But because the RAE has made it, the discipline falls in with it, and reinforces it, and this erases other factors like target audience, whether students can get it, and so on. Those are things you can think about when you know the next RAE rating is in the bag, and not before.

Though, RAE or not, the things that count the most are still book-length monographs, even they are likely hardly read and circulate much less widely. They stand nonetheless as proof that you can complete a large task of research, and that money given you will not fall into a void but see results, and for some reason that counts for more than evidence in journal form that your discipline rates your work and you have an audience among your peers and maybe beyond...

Karl Steel said...

First, JJC on sympathetic editors: I'm presuming he means Rick Emmerson, the guy who's more responsible than anyone else for my being a medievalist. If I drank champagne before noon, he'd get a toast; as it stands, I raise my coffee to him.

it depends on what's good for you or your subfield

I'm having two different conversations here:

a) one is what's good for tenure--and this just doesn't grab me, because, well, my department has something like a 90% tenure rate. If I stay there, do my work, and keep to the publishing schedule I've set myself, I'd have to kill a student or maim a colleague (or the other way around?) not to get tenure. And, while concentrating on tenure is NECESSARY, since we have to have jobs in order to change the profession, the profession, as I read everywhere, could be improved.

b) thus, conversation #2, one that's happened online a LOT and is therefore perhaps unnecessary here, despite how much I want to have it: please let's concentrate on what's good for the field but especially what's good for other scholars (and readers) in general, particularly keeping in mind the needs of people who aren't at R1 places and who aren't in Western Europe/North America, or who are there but without the means to get their hands on the festschrift with the one perfect article. And here I want to promote exposure:

b1) against the monograph-as-tenure-ticket (particularly the publication of the barely revised dissertation, whose publication so far as I can determine serves almost no one but the author and perhaps his/her dept, who have now been saved the trouble of having to do another search):

b2) and FOR a call for tenure-review people to CONSIDER THE QUALITY of the work of the person they're considering: see Lindsay Waters (hitting a point in IHE that he's been hitting repeatedly (or here) at least since this century started);

b2) and also for replacing the "publish it and watch it disappear" mode of the last few decades with what John Holbo calls "a generous gift culture."

Jeffrey Cohen said...

"A generous gift culture" also sounds like blogs, as Eileen pointed out ... and as you emphasized, Karl, when you made your Exemplaria essay free for all via an ITM link.