Archive for June, 2010

A Waterloo for Publishing or for the University?

June 25, 2010

Cathy Davidson raised a series of issues in her reaction to a lawsuit known as Cambridge University Press, et al. v. Patton et al.

“My larger point?  We are in a confusing and damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t moment for publishing.  Scholarly publishing loses money.  Scholars who do not publish (at present) lose careers.  How do we balance these complex and intertwined issues in a sane way?  That is our question.”

Jim Groom has some thoughts on one aspect of this question — the issue of credit, or reputation, generated by journal publication:

“And, often times, but not always, that class [of author] is accompanied by three letters after their name and a long list of publications in similar journals which often, but not always, gives them entrè into the journal in the first place. Is this necessarily bad? No. Does it help certain ideas circulate to a particular audience? Yes. Are we putting too much power in the hands of these journals by reacting this way to the idea of credit? Absolutely.”

And as a result of highly valuing publishing in journals, we have created a system that is producing an avalanche of low-quality research.

Cathy’s question makes me think of the work of physicist A. Garrett Lisi, who is working outside the traditional academe system and who’s practice gave me insight to understand other ways of thinking about credit/reputation and also about gathering feedback for learning from a community:

“Lisi is developing social and intellectual capital by his strategy of working in public, and has posted a “pre-print” of some of his work in the highly visible High Energy Physics – Theory section of arXiv entitled ‘An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything.’

“The Wikipedia entry on Lisi’s paper gives a picture of how the work has generated social capital and become a focus of theoretical debate. The paper has been accumulating peer reviews (in the form of blog posts) and a number of citations including in refereed Physics journals as well as comments on the social news website”

So, I think Cathy is pointing us to a multi-faced conversation about moving beyond the University (see John Seely Brown or Charles Ledbetter or Clay Shirkey) each of whom is exploring forces that I think will probably address Cathy’s “damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t moment” by rendering traditional publishers in academe irrelevant.

In her post Cathy says

“Shouldn’t we be teaching the genre [scholarly monograph] to our undergraduates (because we believe it is intrinsically worthy enough to determine someone’s career in the academy) as an estimable form? … [If we] require at least one scholarly monograph in every English class, … we show respect to the genre we say that we live by and we give back something to the publishers who, right now, are expected to publish our work but who experience abysmal sales of it.”

Here, I think Cathy’s comment brings academic publishing into the national conversation about university accountability to stakeholders (the students and those investing in them). Molly Corbett Broad wrote in the Chronicle about the political landscape for accreditation and accountability “The administration has already indicated a willingness to take action when it believes that higher-education institutions are not adequately serving students’ interests.” (alas it is “premium content” that you may not be able to access) I think Corbett and Shirkey are talking about forces that may render more than just traditional academic publishing irrelevant.

It strikes me that the scholarly monograph, as a discipline for the mind, could be useful, but it might not be a form “worth studying in every English class.” It might be more useful for students to be developing skills in peer-to-peer pedagogies, based in forms like blogs and wikis, that operate in a context of information abundance rather than to be studying a form based on information scarcity and expensive publication; a form that will not be used by most students in their future careers.

Why do I focus on credit/reputation and legitimate peripheral participation rather than the academic monograph in a conversation about accountability for learning outcomes? Because, I think discovering conversations, contributing and getting feedback are important aspects of peer-to-peer learning beyond the university. Good feedback is a tool for growth, both for the author and for the community of lurkers (see John Seely Brown on legitimate peripheral participation.)

As to Cambridge University Press, et al. v. Patton et al., I think it will be a passing blip, swept away by much larger forces transforming learning.

PS. And thinking about feedback and peer-to-peer learning is why I’m posting this in my blog  (  )  and then cross-posting it as a comment in Cathy’s blog at HASTAC. HASTAC’s blogs do not appear to support Trackback, so  I can’t comment to Cathy in my blog, and consequently I need to post a comment in hers. Which means I need to create a HASTAC identity (see these objections to creating accounts everywhere). Further, a HASTAC comment does not track back to the people I cite – making it even harder for them to discover and join the conversation.

My Arms Still Hurt

June 9, 2010

I need to find a place to document what is happening with my arms (both the left one operated in Feb and the “good” one). My hope is to see a pattern, or that one of my readers will see a pattern or understand the mechanics and provide some coaching.

History of my case can be found here. Surgery to removal of sling, and a report on the physical therapy to regain motion. I am under orders not to do strengthening exercises. I am continuing my stretch exercises post-PT and am increasing the range of motion, especially elevation over my head.

There are two observations (pain & popping) that I’m making on the left and right sides, each. These have been going since the surgery, or perhaps before. I am going to make notes of things after today June 9 (Surgery was 4 months ago, Feb 3)

Pop: like cracking a knuckle, a physical jolt and I hear a sound. It involves the shoulder joint. The pop is associated with a temporary sensation that does not rise to the level of pain. Some times the discomfort from the pop lasts seconds, other times it might still be there an hour later.

Pain: is in the muscle, not in the joint. It occurs in two locations: 1)  on the front or the outside corner of the shoulder, in a 1/2 inch line running down the roundness of the rotator cuff muscles. 2) in the front of the main mass of the bicep muscle, several inches below the joint. This pain is a slice, 1-2 inches long. Each pain is transitory and ends when the triggering action ends.

UPDATES I realized that I need to try to track the events that are repeat causes and easily described and then check over time if they continue to happen, so, I’m dating each item each time it happens with the hopes of seeing patterns.

Left Arm – Pop

1. Sitting in a chair, lifting left elbow to rest it on the back of the adjacent chair. June 9

2. Best example of pop. I was reaching for a loaf of bread at the back of the kitchen counter. I used both hands, arms fully extended, directly in front of my body. I needed to lift the loaf 10″ to get over something at the front of the counter. Each hand started the lifting movement, but the left got “stuck” and didn’t rise for a moment, then popped. July 2.

Left Arm – Pain

1. Corner of shoulder. Holding fridge door open with right hand, reaching sideways to upper shelf to get cat food can. I tell myself “Hold shoulder down, raise hand” which might help with the movement if not with the pain, June 9, June 15

2. Corner of shoulder. Left hand scratching left ear, elbow straight in front. Takes a little while for the burn to build up. June 9 June 15

3. Corner of shoulder. Lying on left side so shoulder is down and bearing weight. Pain is mild, but I can’t lie that way more than 10 minutes. I’ve been noticing it for at least a week running up to July 9.

Right Arm – Pop

1. sitting in driver seat of car, raising arm to place hand on top of passenger seat back June 9

2. Lying in bed on left side, reaching right arm down to thigh to move blanket and sheet off prior to getting out of bed. Moving from behind midline to front. June 9

3. Wiping kitchen counter, moving left across in front of stomach. June 9 June 15

4. Wiping counter, moving right out away from body June 15

5. Grabbing top corner of car door to swing it open, starting with arm partly extended, shoulder high, and moving left across body. June 15

6. The general statement about popping is when I make large arm movements, often with no particular load applied, like waving goodbye, or the examples above. These are continuing to happen as of July 9, but no one event is easily reproduced.

Right Arm – Pain

1. Corner of shoulder. Turning steering wheel right-handed. Turning the wheel left, with right hand moving from 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock position. Turning the wheel right, with right hand moving from 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock position June 9

2. Corner of shoulder. Reaching behind midline, rotating outward to reach waist high toilet paper dispenser June 9 June 15

3. Bicep. When standing, reaching down at full extension of arm, ahead of mid-line, to flush institutional toilet. June 9

4. Corner of shoulder. Leaning on elbow on arm rest of a chair (the “thinker” pose) June 9

5. Corner of shoulder. Lying on right side so shoulder is down and bearing weight. Pain is mild, but I can’t lie that way more than 10 minutes. I’ve been noticing it for at least a week running up to July 9.

Actions I choose not to do

I do not make any rapid arm movements, e.g., tossing a wad of paper to the trash can. I’m afraid of popping more than pain. I tried tossing a stone with my daughter, it hurt the right arm.