While I, too, am frustrated and a bit perplexed by colleagues not recognizing
electronic texts which have been submitted to peer review, I have to also
be honest and admit I understand their point of view. Take plagiarism,
cheating, or scholastic dishonesty -- whatever term you want to apply --
how could it be controlled? Now, I'm not suggesting that any of US would
engage in such an act, but wouldn't it be tempting? How are you going to
be sure that your work is submitted as your own work and not someone else's?
Yes, you can, if you are determined, steal someone's work with printed
texts, but electronic communication adds another layer and another concern
for some people in this area.
Then, there's the old progress is fine as long as it doesn't change anything
attitude, which I fight a lot with some of my peers (Not, by any means, all).
And, there's territory and power dimensions to objections to electronic
communication as well. There may even be a hierarchical problem here --
electronic media are less hierarchical and, therefore, more threatening to
some of our colleagues, particularly those who prefer and use hierarchical
thinking/organizing (teaching?) patterns. And, we all use them, at least
to some extent.
There may even be a deeper issue here. Are peer-review journals still as
effective at weeding out junk as they once were? The presence of high
quality, but non-reviewed journals is as threatening (if not more so) than
electronic, non-reviewed journals. It's a territorial thing. And, I
suspect it may be linked to our views of the institution of education as
well (thoughts of Foucault here -- discipline, punishment, the GAZE as a
way of controlling). Without a printed text and the imagined author
behind it, discipline and control are less readily available. Anarchy.
Chaos. The End of the World as we know it?
So, the point in this long-winded reply is that perhaps our colleagues
have a reason for their actions/reactions? The presence of a point doesn't
make it more tolerable for us, necessarily, but does make it more reasonable
The question then becomes, how do we convince colleagues of the quality of
our communities and communication? How do we prove ourselves? How do
we receive validation? Those are harder questions and ones I'm not sure I
Do we have to provide hard copies of everything we do to convince people
that we are scholars?
Finally,and I promise to sign off after this, are WE convinced that what
we are doing is equivalent to what is being done in peer-reviewed journals?
I don't mean to cast aspersions or throw stones, and I know I haven't been
as involved in electronic communication as many of you, but I'm not entirely
convinced of that myself (heresy?).