Social hacks in the academy

July 28th, 2010 Comments Off

This session is intended to discuss subversive social hacks of bureaucratic processes, particularly ones which contest or convert oppressive structures into freer ones.

My interest in this as a proposal comes from being the HERDC (formerly DEST and DEET) publications reporting officer in a large school.

Hacking HERDC publications reporting

While academics have been noting their research outputs to University management since the 1960s, in the early 1990s the Federal government began using volume of output as a measure of academic research productivity averaged at the University level.  The gate-keepers of academic research output in Australia are often librarians.  However, academic editors and conference organisers in the Humanities at least often fail to adequately prepare their authors for navigating this process.

This section of the panel notes briefly the history of output volume reporting in Australia, observes the conflicting workplace pressures created by volume reporting, directs attention to simple ways to navigate basic reporting, and gestures towards known edge-cases which indicate some of the problems of the system, and then points out that jumping these hoops can be made much easier by action in the humanities at the journal editor / conference organiser level.  Finally it notes that volume reporting appears to have been successfully introduced as an accepted part of work culture over 20 years: quality has now begun. (In under five minutes even).

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