Re: from EduPage...

Steve Krause (skrause@BGNET.BGSU.EDU)
Tue, 25 Jun 1996 08:31:40 -0400

On Mon, 24 Jun 1996, Suzanne Cherry wrote:

> 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?

Suzanne, I think you're raising a lot of good points here, but I'd really
have to disagree with this notion that plagiarism is easier on the web.
In fact, I think it's probably harder to plagiarize because
the web allows you to do massive key-word searches. In other words, if
you really suspect someone has gotten a text from someplace else, you can
probably find that "someplace else" on the web with something like lycos,

But like I said, I think just about everything else you said is true. I
too believe that a lot of the resistance to electronic publishing has to
do with academia's need to cling to tradition, and a lot of it has to do
with power. After all, any "yahoo" can put together an electronic
publication-- oh sure, it's a lot of work and such, but it's pretty easy
to get the web access necessary to "broadcast" a publication over the
web. It's certainly a lot easier and cheaper than starting a
"traditional" print journal. Maybe part of this ease is what makes
electronic publishing not look as substantial.

Added to the comments Suzanne and others have made here, I'd like to
suggest two additional problems with electronic publishing that I think
might be a little more difficult to overcome. First, it's still
inconvenient to read stuff electronically compared to print. Paper
journals are really easy to handle, are highly portable, are easy to
mark-up with marginal notes, etc. Electronic publications don't lend
themselves to these things and the screen quality hasn't reached a stage
where it's comfortable to read something on-line for a long period of
time. Second, let's not forget that most of our colleagues in fields like
English, Composition and Rhetoric, Communications, Culture Studies, etc.,
are scared and/or ignorant about computers. I mean, I think some of the
folks in Literature are actively hoping to _avoid_ computers and stay with
their books, so it's no wonder they want nothing to do with electronically
published journals.

Finally, I think that Suzanne is right to raise some questions about
electronic publications compared to paper publications in the field.
Don't get me wrong-- I think _Kairos_ is doing great things, there's a
great culture studies on-line journal called _Bad Subjects_, _Post-Modern
Culture_ on-line is quite good, _RhetNet_ holds a wealth of potential,
etc. But in our field, I think people still think of _CCC_, _Rhetoric
Review_, _College English_, _RSQ_, _RTE_, _Pre/Text_, etc. are the
journals that we turn to as "authoratitive" texts. I think it will be a
while before electronic texts can really compete with these and others;
perhaps they will never be able to compete until these texts become
electronic themselves.

Steve Krause * Department of English * Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH * 43403 * (419) 372-8934 *
*Soon to be at Southern Oregon State College in Ashland, OR*