I’d like to offer my perspective as a junior academic, who is in the process of applying for early career positions, on Martin Weller’s recent and excellent talk on Digital Scholarship. (The talk starts about 20 minutes into the recording.) Deep down I believe in the open, networked, digital scholarship that Martin describes. The question that I am struggling with is “am I willing to put my life on the line for this belief”. As Martin points out, tenure and promotion is based on teaching, research, and service. Peer-reviewed journal publication, as a proxy for research merit assessment, is likely what my hiring and promotion will be based on. For that reason, I need to start loading the publication pipeline. Publications don’t happen overnight, and so it’s important for me to focus on this even in the absence of a firm job offer. At this point in time I’m not willing to jeopardize my family’s well-being to change the system. Maybe I will be lucky beyond my wildest dreams and wind up at an institution that values open, digital, and networked scholarship, in which case I will be far less concerned about maximizing my peer-reviewed journal publications. But until that happens the risks associated with committing substantial effort to open scholarship outweigh the benefits.
That doesn’t mean that I won’t blog or participate in learning networks. It just means that I will adopt a balanced, pragmatic approach that should maximize my chances of success in these exciting times of changing scholarship.