Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Progress in the ISA Blog Situation

The President of the ISA, Harvey Starr, has indicated that he propose at the Executive Committee meeting in two months (at the start of the Annual Meeting) be referred to the Committee on Professional Rights and Responsibilities.  This may or may not be what the ExCom decides, and in any case this matter will be on the Governing Council's agenda.

I had circulated an email to the GC before Harvey's that suggested an ad hoc committee consider the issue, as (a) I had not thought about which ISA committee made sense for this; and (b) the ad hoc committee I described would have both folks who served as editors in the past and folks who partake of web 2.0 (bloggers, tweeters).  My idea was driven by the notion that the original proposal reflect a lack of experience with the blogging world.  I know some of the folks on the CPR&R committee, and I have a great deal of respect for them, so I am not entirely opposed to Starr's suggestion.  I still would prefer a committee to include people who have blogged.

Of course, the funny thing is this: my basic position is that the problems raised by the Ex Com are not unique to blogging but are generic--any outreach can become a controversial conversation that ISA may not want to be tied to--a TV interview, an op-ed in a newspaper, a blog post, a tweet, a public speech.  So, perhaps we don't need bloggers on the committee, because the issue is not really about blogging but about the larger challenge of having editors who are engaged with the world.

Anyhow, this is where things stand.  I will not be lobbying every GC member as I think the issue is not going to need a mass mobilization.  That and I received enough emails from GC members directly and enough that were circulated to the entire GC to convince me that I do not need to lobby them.  If a vote was held today on the initial proposal, I am pretty sure that we would win.  Of course, if I felt that there would be such a vote, I would do some more work to be sure of it.  But for now, I think we can stand down a bit and get back to the work of making fun of NYT and WashPo columnists and writing letters of recommendation and everything else we do.

Thanks again for all of your support--the outpouring has been pretty amazing.


Eric Cox said...

Excellent work by you to bring attention to this issue. Many thanks.

Steve Saideman said...

Thanks. I was hardly alone--many folks on the Governing Council and even some on the Ex-Comm were very vocal as well. Plus we got heaps of email, blogs, tweets and interviews with various media outlets.

Political Science Replication said...

Thank you! By the way, first thing I did after reading about the ISA proposal on your blog was to go through your blogroll and discover new material for my feedly :)

Rennie said...

Coming here from a link on an RSS feed, and I'm sure you'll think this is incredibly stupid, but here goes anyway: One thing I learned somewhere was that when you write an article, the first time you use an acronym you must define what the acronym means, for those who are not in the inner circle and are not mind-readers. So what the hell does ISA mean? (Wikipedia has about 70 suggestions, including In Shaa' Allah.)

Steve Saideman said...

Rennie, ISA = International Studies Association.