Qualities of Scholarship? Factors of Impact?

A friend asked recently about how to evaluate a journal’s quality. It’s a great question, and not too dissimilar from asking how to evaluate a film’s quality, or an auto mechanic. Well, that last one is a little easier to judge: fix my car, quickly, cheaply, and when my daughter brings her car in don’t talk down to her…

We are in a world of several overlapping revolutions, but at wildly different paces. I would venture that 95% of what I see on “local” news is what I might have seen 35 years ago, but the technology of delivery (both to their newsroom and to my home) are radically different.

One of the “Most Beautiful College Libraries in America” https://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/americas-most-beautiful-college-libraries

What I found interesting about the question is how the discussion of the world of academic publishing splits in two: on the one hand, people have many problems with the totality of the current process; on the other hand, they are willing to keep things just as they are…which is mostly how it has been for a very long time.

What is a good journal impact factor?

So what would get academics to think differently? This parallels what we know is a problem that disconnects science (and its methods) from public understanding. In my field–electronic media–we have had the discussions about professionalization of media industries and general informational skepticism dumped right in our laps.

And to be honest the efforts to make scholarly ideas more accessible have really moved quite far. I have said before that there is more good (true, valuable) information and analysis available to everyone then there ever has been in human history. But there is also a tsunami of bad information that is often better circulated. 

I think that is a function of desire.

As scholars we want to be read, but we also want to be in good conversations, considering these issues carefully, and with inspired theoretical discussions in the process.

What as academics and scholars can we do to improve this situation? Is it time to rethink the material, technological, and commercial side of our thing?   

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Ralph Beliveau Media Arts Area Head Associate Professor, Creative Media Production Beliveau@ou.edu @ralphbeliveau Dr. Beliveau is on faculty for the Gaylord College and affiliate faculty in both Film and Media Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. He co-authored Digital Literacy: A Primer on Media, Identity, and the Evolution of Technology (2016) and co-edited the forthcoming collection International Horror Film Directors: Global Fear (December 2016). He writes and teaches about media education and literacy, race, horror media, documentary, rhetorical criticism, video production, film, popular culture, music & cultural studies, and documentary theory production & history. He has written about network society, documentary rhetoric, horror media, The Wire, African American biographical documentaries, Alex Cox, Supernatural, Richard Matheson, Night Gallery, Italian film, and Paolo Freire and media literacy. He previously taught Radio/TV/Film at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and broadcast journalism, popular culture, and rhetoric while doing graduate work at the University of Iowa. Beliveau ran an FM radio station and cable television studio in Chicago and worked in Los Angeles in independent film and television production. He served as editor of the Journal of Communication Inquiry, chair of the Cultural and Critical Studies division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and chair of the Student Documentary Competition for the Broadcast Education Association. Beliveau is part of the team of faculty who leads the British Media Tour annually and also taught Italian Popular Film and Literature in the Journey to Italy program in Arezzo. Beliveau earned his B.S. from Northwestern University and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. More can be found at http://www.ralphbeliveau.com/.

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