Reconstructing the mandates and activities of urban “healthscapers” between roughly 1250 and 1500, Roads to Health contends that preventative healthcare emerged from a steady concern for populations’ wellbeing. It challenges the view of the Black Death, let alone the Industrial Revolution, as a unique trigger in public health history.Read More
Editors, often relying on reviewers’ labor and input, tend to spend more time and energy waging a defensive war on their journal’s identity and quality than actively discovering exciting new work. Field-specific preprint repositories are one way to streamline editorial boards’ activities, allowing them to identify and curate collections from a far greater pool of papers—and potentially at earlier stages of gestation—than is their current habit.Read More
With less pressure to publish or perish, arts and humanities scholars can play a pivotal role in developing truly open preprint services, as one element of sustainable infrastructures for scholarly communications. Private, commercial repositories are not a viable alternative.Read More
A creative use of preprints can benefit authors and publishers of monographs, as well as the scholarly community at large, no less than preprints are currently benefiting those working with journal articles. This is a good in and of itself, but one that may also help pave the way to a constructive dialogue with publishers about the production, work flow and marketing of monographic literature and edited volumes.Read More
If you have a pressing need to read an academic paper that’s hiding behind a paywall, your quickest course of action may well be to use Sci-Hub. Less myopically perhaps, you should also ask the paper’s authors why they continue to cooperate with those for-profit publishers whose high prices have made breaking the law your path of least resistanceRead More
The academic book workshop for pre-tenured staff risks becoming yet another exercise in branding under a thin veneer of learning. Here are some suggestions on how to avoid that.Read More
The PhD defense or viva voce examination is the Humanities’ ultimate rite of passage. In part, a court of your own, soon-to-be peers; in part, a speech act conferring and in some less lucky cases denying the status of a Philosophiae Doctor. Despite its arcane name, the variety of graduation formats and procedures is surprisingly broad, and it tells arguably more about the granting institution and its surrounding culture than the discipline, department or quality of research being evaluated.Read More
The neighborhood bully has won. In coming to terms with it over the past few days, my main source of comfort and concern as regards the elections’ impact on Europe are one and the same: the electoral system and its role in the public sphere.Read More
Students in top US colleges are famous for being over achievers. But the emotional pressure on them (and staff) means that campuses are less likely to be safe havens for developing curiosity and daring to fail.Read More
Weg met die belachelijke cultuur van 'winnaars' en 'verliezers' die is ontstaan aan de universiteiten, vinden hoogleraren Guy Geltner en Thomas Vaessens.Read More
Despite a welcome increase in transparency and openness at the UvA/HvA, its stonewalling Supervisory Board (RvT) remains both a symptom of old-school politics and a cause for unrest well beyond Amsterdam. The situation at our institution exemplifies a problem common throughout the Dutch public sector: top management operates unconstrained by any meaningful form of democratic accountability, as crucial decision-making power is held by inaccessible political appointees drawn from entrenched elite business circles.Read More
Early last week I uploaded to my Academia.edu homepage a brief note signaling and explaining my decision to close my account on that site. As a medieval historian, I had been an active and enthusiastic member since 2010, with moderately high exposure, and while “On leaving Academia.edu” was meant as a provocative goodbye, I hadn’t expected it to draw much attention. In the four days that elapsed between uploading my note and closing my account, however, the text was accessed more than 22,000 times and the critical discussion board accompanying it (known as a Session) was still going strong, attracting some 2,000 active followers making numerous contributions, including from the site’s founder and CEO, its Product VP, and of course hundreds of engaged scholars and academics from around the world.Read More
Rond middernacht trof ik in mijn straat in De Pijp in Amsterdam een jongeman aan in diepe slaap, geleund tegen een invalidenwagentje. Blijkbaar was hij eerst van zijn fiets gestapt en daarna op een veilige plek op het trottoir gaan zitten. Misschien was hij met opzet zo neergezegen. Als je bloeddruk plotseling afneemt, is het slimmer je op de grond te laten vallen dan de klap af te wachten. Zo vonden wij hem, ik en een stelletje uit de buurt dat kort daarvoor was komen aangelopen, nu iets meer dan een maand geleden.Read More
Net als veel academici, word ik regelmatig gevraagd een wetenschappelijk artikel te 'peer reviewen'. In tegenstelling tot veel collega's baseer ik mijn reactie op een dergelijk verzoek sinds kort op de vraag of de uitgever zijn kopij beschikbaar stelt aan een breder publiek.
Waar we voorheen bezorgd waren dat het grote publiek ons werk niet begreep, is het probleem vandaag dat de geïnteresseerde leek het zich niet kan veroorloven. Het merendeel van de tijdschriftartikelen verdwijnt achter betaalmuren.