Blog Post

Hacking the Academy!

Dan Cohen at George Mason University is trying a novel, experimental approach to scholarly publishing, called "Hacking the Academy."   This was revealed at last week's NEH-funded ThatCamp.  One week, one book, everyone is invited.  What would that look like?  The details are below.  Ccontributions are due midnight, May 28.   Submit your piece and it will be published on line with anyone else who answers the call.   Crowdsource a book, crowdsource scholarship, crowdsource the academy, crowdsource an intriguing experiment.  In a word:  Contribute!



What This Is About, and How to Contribute by Dan Cohen, George Mason University


Can an algorithm edit a journal? Can a library exist without books? Can students build and manage their own learning management platforms? Can a conference be held without a program? Can Twitter replace a scholarly society?

As recently as the mid-2000s, questions like these would have been unthinkable. But today serious scholars are asking whether the institutions of the academy as they have existed for decades, even centuries, arent becoming obsolete. Every aspect of scholarly infrastructure is being questioned, and even more importantly, being hacked. Sympathetic scholars of traditionally disparate disciplines are cancelling their association memberships and building their own networks on Facebook and Twitter. Journals are being compiled automatically from self-published blog posts. Newly-minted Ph.D.s are foregoing the tenure track for alternative academic careers that blur the lines between research, teaching, and service. Graduate students are looking beyond the categories of the traditional C.V. and building expansive professional identities and popular followings through social media. Educational technologists are punking established technology vendors by rolling their own open source infrastructure.

In keeping with the spirit of hacking, the book will itself be an exercise in reimagining the edited volume. Any blog post, video response, or other media created for the volume and tweeted (or tagged) with the hashtag #hackacad will be aggregated at (submissions should use a secondary tag #class #society #conf #journal #book #tenure #cv #dept #edtech #library to designate chapters). The best pieces will go into the published volume (we are currently in talks with a publisher to do an open access version of this final volume). The volume will also include responses such as blog comments and tweets to individual pieces. If youve already written something that you would like included, thats fine too, just be sure to tweet or tag it (or email us the link to where its posted).

You have until midnight on May 28, 2010. Ready, set, go!


Hacking the Academy is a project of the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University.



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