Blog Post

Digital academics want new criteria!

That's the conclusion I'm drawing from the fact that "New Criteria for New Media" has become the most downloaded article from MIT's Leonardo journal ever.

"New Criteria for New Media" tops the list of the most downloaded Leonardo articles, with 798 downloads as of this writing. This article by Joline Blais, Steve Evans, Jon Ippolito, Owen F. Smith, and Nathan Stormer proposes concrete new academic guidelines for evaluating scholarship in the digital age.

The article proposes that researchers be rewarded, rather than punished, for working in digital and networked formats. The authors mention a number of models for open peer review, including such Still Water projects as The Pool and ThoughtMesh.

A pdf version can be downloaded from the MIT Press Web site. A meshed version is available for those who prefer an interactive version.



Hi, Jon, I'm not surprised the Leonardo piece is so popular.  Great work!  Along the same lines, here's the MLA Wiki on the Evaluation of Digital Work.  Please let your colleagues know and encourage them to contribute:


MLA WIki for Evaluation of Digital Work 

This wiki is an ongoing project initiated by the MLA Committee on Information Technology (CIT) as a way for the academic community to develop, gather, and share materials about the evaluation of work in digital media for purposes of tenure and promotion. These materials were initially conceived, written, and hosted by Geoffrey Rockwell when he was a member of the CIT (2005-08). The wiki is now maintained as a collaborative project of the MLA and other interested parties, such as HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory).

Any teacher or scholar interested in contributing to this resource may do so by becoming a registered user (click on "create account" above).

Disclaimer: This wiki is an online open-content collaborative of individuals and groups working to develop a common resource for the profession. As such, it does not represent the official positions of the Modern Language Association. The structure of the project allows anyone with an Internet connection to alter its content.


  • Types of Digital Work - A list of types of academic digital work with thoughts as to how they might be presented for evaluation and how they might then be evaluated.
  • Stories - A collection of fictional and real cases with suggestions as to how these cases might be prepared and evaluated.
  • To Do is a list of things to do to improve this wiki.

A wiki is a perfect format for brainstorming and vetting new criteria for academic scholarship in the age of the Internet. In fact we used one in exactly this way to generate the criteria published in Leonardo.

I was going to add to the wiki but see that our work is already cited there :) Nevertheless I'll contact its organizer Geoffrey Rockwell (who looks familiar) and let him know about the popularity of the Leonardo article (at 800 downloads and counting).


Synergy!  Thanks, Jon.