Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Following Up on the ISA Blogging Mess

I am most impressed with the reactions I have received from yesterday's blog about the ill-conceived ISA proposal about blogging.  I am not surprised that several Duck-sters entered the fray or that MonkeyCage kicked in their views.  That Will Opined?  Again, not a surprise. Lawyersgunsmoney? Of course, they fired away.  Tom Pepinsky joined in.  The twitterverse has been very supportive as well, which is also pretty predictable.  I do appreciate the web-based support--there has been very little support for the proposal and mostly just questions about what brought this on. 

But as some reminded me, the internet is a bit of an echo chamber--we should not be surprised that bloggers are outraged.  So, I am most pleased to have received a heap of email from folks around the world who are mighty miffed.  I cannot remember a previous post that received multiple emails.  And these folks are not entirely bloggers.  Indeed, some just happen to be voters in the governing council of the ISA.

And that is where we must go.  The proposal is just that.  And venting on the internet is fun (I love a good venting), but we need to do more than that.  The proposal itself must have been written by those who rarely read blogs, do not tweet and otherwise are social media averse.  The rest of the Governing Council?  I don't know what they do.  But we need to reach them.  Blogging, tweeting, and facebooking will help, but we need to do more than that.  I am asking for folks to email the Governing Council members to inform that that the proposal policy is poorly conceived, poorly written, and quite damaging if it becomes policy.  I don't know if the ISA messaging system works since I cannot message myself to test it.  So, you can either use their system or google the members and find their regular email addresses. 

The other thing you can do to help out is to either comment here or send me emails that present arguments that either I can wield or my allies can at the meeting in March.  What I mean by arguments is a bullet or two (as I did in my initial post) about why the proposal is problematic.

Just a caveat: I was interviewed today by a reporter for Inside Higher Education, and he pointed out that I serve on the editorial board of Foreign Policy Analysis, so it turns out that I might be impacted by this policy.  What is an editorial team?  Who is covered by this policy?  So, perhaps I am a bit more implicated by this policy than I thought. Anyhow, I appreciate any suggestions about how to proceed.  I clearly have not read enough of the social movements literature.

1 comment:

R. William Ayres said...

I serve on the editorial board of Ethnopolitics - luckily not an ISA journal - but if it were, I would almost certainly ignore any policy like this and keep my blog (which is mostly about things other than IR). I cannot imagine any good reason for the policy as written. However, I can imagine a very good reason NOT to have it:

As blogging and other social media become more widespread, more and more of the "top talent" in the IR/ISA world uses them. You've already listed lots (Drezner, Will Moore, the Duck people, etc., etc., etc.) The ballroom-full of people at the ISA convention for the awarding of the first "Ducky" awards is a strong indicator of how widespread the medium has become. Does the ISA Governing Committee really want to exclude what amounts to an entire generation of talent from the editorial boards of its journals? If you force people to choose between blogging and helping journals, some will choose the former - weakening the talent pool. From an ecological/labor market standpoint, this makes as much sense as discriminating against women, minorities, or any other less-powerful group.

Peer-reviewed journals as outlets for scholarship are already under some pressure - too many pressures to publish, not enough outlets, many questions from people outside the scholarly community about the value of scholarship that talks to itself, not to mention fundamental business model problems with producing a "product" so few want. On top of all of that, does the ISA Governing Council really want to artificially create one more stressor, to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

I wish I were still on the Governing Council myself so I could vote against this nonsense. Thankfully you will be there. I suggest reaching out to Kamal Sadiq, section chair of ENMISA. I would think he would see reason on this, though I don't know if he blogs himself or not.