Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scholarship Overhaul (front page)

"After all, the development of peer review was an outgrowth of the professionalization of disciplines from mathematics to history — a way of keeping eager but uninformed amateurs out."

Scholars Test Web Alternative To the Venerable Peer Review

What they won't tell you is how much, surely where the humanities are concerned, the (quite often "uninformed") academy owes to independent scholarship by dedicated, acutely studied, and non-funded outsiders who perhaps, if placed before a tenure panel, would stand out as anything but amateurs. I don't mean to say that the bureaucracy and benchmarks should completely disappear from selective reviewing, but if the professional gatekeepers want their institutions to continue providing dynamic, challenging, and (yes) with-it learning opportunities, they should be less afraid of having to trudge through the great influx of truly original ideas and perspectives that exist with or without academist sanctity. Of course, such a meager proposal would require professionalized scrutiny before even being considered, since, as Laurie Anderson puts it:
"Only an expert can see there's a problem,
Only an expert can deal with the problem."

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