New Writings

I still need to revise, slightly at least, the talk I gave at the Object-Oriented Ontology symposium. That is why I have not posted it here yet.

However, my talk at the Debt conference is available here (pdf).

Additional note: the papers from the Debt conference are supposed to be published as an edited volume. But according to the schedule that the conference participants were given, publication will not occur until January 2013 (!!!). This is because the schedule involves endless rounds of reviews and revisions, plus the fact that the eventual publisher (Indiana University Press) works at a glacially slow pace. This seems completely, outrageously unconscionable to me — there is absolutely no excuse, either for the sclerotic and overly baroque review process, or for a press that processes books at so slow a speed, it is as if the technologies of the last thirty years didn’t exist. So I have decided, in protest, to withhold my text from this volume (just as I have already started the practice of withholding texts from volumes that are published at outrageously high prices).

The fact is, that many academics (especially younger academics) are compelled to publish work under ridiculous conditions (taking way too long to appear in print, or appearing in volumes that nobody can afford) because they have to — they need such publications on their Vita in order to get tenure or promotion, or to survive in academia at all. However, I am in a position where I can afford to neglect such considerations. Which is why I have decided, as has been the case several times before, to simply publish the article in question on my website, list it in my Vita as an “electronic publication,” and refuse to collaborate with a decrepit academic publishing system. If I don’t do this, who will? And if nobody does this, how will the system ever change?

5 thoughts on “New Writings”

  1. In the sciences, there have been some effective steps away from the unconscionable system you describe. Journals (where most science appears) publish more and more rapidly, and more and more manuscripts are deposited in databases before being published by the journals. By not taking these steps, the humanities are further marginalizing themselves.
    You ask how the system can change—If we simply have to wait for a major fraction of people to be like you and refuse to participate, change may take a very long time. A parallel strategy is for universities and other funders to require that researchers deposit their manuscripts in institutional repositories prior to publication (
    I am a scientist and don’t know how effective this may be in the humanities, where publication practices are different and research less frequently funded by grant-making bodies responsible for some of these mandates.

  2. Amen, Steve! I applaud the actions you are taking to undermine this creaky, outmoded system.

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