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Master's Paper

Scholarly Publication

Here’s a series of questions for anyone reading this: Was my Master’s Paper published? Would you consider my paper scholarly? How would you cite Perils of Strong Copyright? What do you think would increase the “authority” or “respectibility” of Perils? Does something need to be published in a peer-reviewed journal? Why or why not? Does the fact that 3000 people seem interested in it make a difference?

These are questions that I am currently wrestling with…the whole framework of scholarly publication is flawed, I think. Not only in the cost/access sense of the world (although I think my feelings on that are clear), but also in the judgement of what counts.

3 replies on “Scholarly Publication”

I think it depends on how you define publishing. And how you define scholarly. And how you define “is” … uh, scratch that.

Your paper is cite-able. There are standards for citing theses and dissertations. However, theses and dissertations, in their original forms, are distributed to a much lesser degree than even the smallest journal (even with UMI-Proquest doing its darnedest). And I don’t know that coming out of a committee approval process is considered the same as blind peer review … since it’s inherently not blind, I suspect not.

You’ve gone above and beyond by basically self-publishing your thesis online, but I don’t know if there’s any standard for scholarly self-publishing.

How fair that is, I have no clue. I’m sure there’s much ink that has been and wil be spilled in debates over validation and filtering and authority and trust. Personally, I think it’s cool that 3,000 people have shown interest in your paper. Whether that means that all 3,000 took the same measure of trust in it as they would have if it were traditionally published (with a traditional editorial/review process), I don’t know. Should they? I don’t know that, either.

If you want authority and validation and trust, the easier way is to get people who already have it to confer it upon your work. Doesn’t mean you can’t get it any other way, but it’s going to be harder and people will be more skeptical. And let’s face it … there’s a lot of junk “out there” and not all filters are bad in all circumstances.

Sir,

This is a most interesting question and for which there is no simple universal answer. I believe that you have indeed published your dissertation but sadly this does not mean that it will be considered in the same light as, for example, a similar paper published in print by some boring old lecturer who did not spend a fraction of the time working on it than you did and came up with conclusions which are not as sound as yours are.

This doesn’t detract from the academic merit which your work deserves but does bring into question the authority, filtering and validation which your work carries. To put it in its most simple form, the boring old lecturer would have published within and joined a recognisable ‘brand’ name, which is trusted by consumers to have undergone these checks.

As for using and citing your work, well as you know I study at Liverpool JMU in the UK, you and I have never met. The only way which we have become aware of each other is through electronic means, a media which is simply not trusted by most people due to the ease of concealing an identity, this is a frightening example, or altogether more sinister purposes. Whilst chat rooms are a different issue to the majority of people it is one and the same in their perceptions.

Accordingly, although I may agree or find your work intriguing I would not base all of my work upon it but would use it in conjunction with other sources, drawn from recognised ‘brands’ to benefit from the authority, filtering and validation which the ‘branded’ work would definitely have undergone. As for citing, Harvard standard has plenty of scope to cite it directly from your site so that isn’t really an issue unless you send it to a third party site. Even then it’s a change of location rather than authorship although it may add considerable authority to your work if it is available from a ‘branded’ site!

Why do I have the feeling that this will raise more questions than it will answer? 😉

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