Stephen Ramsay    Home

The Journal of Digital Humanities

I was very pleased to have a piece of mine selected for publication in Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Journal of Digital Humanities.

It’s an audio recording of a talk I gave (entitled “Textual Behavior in the Human Male”) at the inaugural symposium of The Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures at the University of Virginia. The abstract read as follows:

Does digital humanities represent an attempt to “scientize” humanistic inquiry? Some would welcome such a move, and much work in digital humanities is closely aligned with practices and methodologies usually associated with the sciences. This talk places digital humanities within the context of a broader history involving the rise of the social sciences in the twentieth century, and suggests ways that we can think about computation and computational work without abandoning methodologies unique to humanistic study.

All of the presentations from the symposium are being reviewed for the journal, through an open peer review process, until February 19th.

I’m a bit of an anarcho-communist when it comes to scholarly publishing, as most of my readers already know. And I’m particularly excited by the idea of open peer review for scholarly work in the humanities. Often, the “open” part of open peer review means “transparent:” the identity of those commenting and the comments themselves are visible to everyone. The idea of inviting particular individuals into the review process is not incompatible with this idea, but it’s possible to conduct a fully “open” review: not only transparent, but open to anyone who wants to offer their opinion. That’s the form that jdh is using for this round. There’s an audio file of my talk, and there’s a comment thread. Have at it.

But, of course, this only works if people do, indeed, have at it. So this post is a quiet plea for people to participate in the process — with all of the work that’s being reviewed for this first issue. I think this is an opportunity for the dh community to demonstrate that we can conduct an open peer review process that has as much integrity and usefulness as the older systems of anonymous, invitation-only review. But right now, the only comment on my piece so far has been this one:

These are genuinely enormous ideas in concerning blogging. You have touched some nice points here. Any way keep up wrinting.

Certainly, I’m delighted to have my ideas described as “enormous” and to be encouraged in my wrinting, but I’m not sure this is what the editors had in mind.

The other exciting thing about jdh, of course, is their willingness to publish things in alternative formats (something they share with Digital Humanities Quarterly). Like most digital humanists, I’m really interested in such alternatives. But audio presents particular challenges. This is a recording of a live event; I can’t very well go back and change it in light of peoples’ comments.

Or can I? Maybe I’ll a create a slide show that shows some objections to what I’m saying (while I’m saying it). Maybe I’ll invite people with interesting alternative perspectives to record themselves, and then splice that into the audio stream. Maybe I’ll do something you suggest (in the comment stream, of course).

Once again, I’m very pleased to be in on this first issue. I hope you’ll help the contributors and editors to make it a really strong premier.

blog comments powered by Disqus