"What is crucial to understand is that academic publishing is not a free market. Researchers send papers to journals for free, because their jobs depend on it. Senior scientists don’t charge journals to review potential articles, thereby helping the editors to identify the best work, because that is a part of being an academic. Libraries have to subscribe, because the researchers they serve cannot work without access to the scholarly record. Academic publishers thus have a captive work force and a captive audience."
— From the same amazing Boston Globe piece, the quickest and clearest summary of academic publishing’s dysfunction I’ve ever seen. It is VITALLY IMPORTANT that everyone in the ecosystem understand these basic facts. (via arlpolicynotes)
"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field."
— Niels Bohr, Danish physicist (via adriantumble)
"Only 3% of the members of the American Congress have PhDs, compared to 20% in Germany. More than 100 have served in the military."
— In the German parliament, doctoral graduates are in unusually high demand. Far fewer American eggheads go into politics. (via theeconomist)
"At some point someone may actually ask you what you’re talking about. This risk faces all those who would speak postmodern and must be carefully avoided. You must always give the questioner the impression that they have missed the point, and so send another verbose salvo of postmodernspeak in their direction as a “simplification” or “clarification” of your original statement. If that doesn’t work, you might be left with the terribly modernist thought of, “I don’t know”. Don’t worry, just say, “The instability of your question leaves me with several contradictorily layered responses whose interconnectivity cannot express the logocentric coherency you seek. I can only say that reality is more uneven and its (mis)representations more untrustworthy than we have time here to explore”. Any more questions? No, then pass the cheese and crackers"
“How To Speak and Write Postmodern”
One of the reasons I was glad to stop at the master’s degree level (and in a “professional” program, no less). This piece by Stephen Katz, however, is full of gems.
"What’s worse, there are no faculty norms related to teaching. Many professors spend much of their lives teaching students, yet we live with the bizarre anomaly that they are never taught how to do it. The lucky ones may get a few days of preparation and some “tips for teaching” before becoming TA’s for the first time, in graduate school. After that they’re on their own, sinking or swimming each in his or her own way."
— Faculty Norms Inhibit Excellence - Measuring Stick - The Chronicle of Higher Education