Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Student publishing

In response to a post on Palimpsest.


It is naive of anyone in our discipline to discourage students from publishing at the earliest opportunity. Worse, it is potentially harmful. Jobs in many institutions nowadays require publications to even get through the door. This is especially the case in the UK (and may be the case elsewhere as well). With AHRC funding trying to get students to finish in three years, here is what happens. A student rushes through, finishes, and ends up with a dead fourth year when (a) there is no job til next year and (b) any publication submitted will take three to six months to go through a review process and 12-18 months to come out. If you are to get a job at the end of that fourth year, my advice to any student is to finish late and publish as early as possible.

Oh, and get to conferences, become visible. One thing that really messed me up before my viva was the need for an external referee, not an easy thing to acquire when you didn't do a master elsewhere.

Another point is that the review process is flawed for everyone, not just students. Sometimes major changes are required, sometimes stuff gets through that shouldn't. This is the case for all and shouldn't put students off submitting.

Two final comments. Any journal editor that rules out something because of the stage a person is at in their career is doing the discipline and their journal a disservice. How can a system be peer-reviewed properly when the journal editor censors the material submitted.

Finally (thank goodness, I hear you saying), don't worry about something published being there for all time. You have a choice to be two kinds of scholar. (1) The kind who never does anything incoherent and never changes his or her mind. Or you could be more playful and NOT take this so seriously. One of my lecturers once said to me that all work should be locked in a drawer for six months before publication. Her view was that most of it would be trashed. My view is that this just means you should be prepared to publish and change your mind later. Some great scholars have done this. As Emerson once said, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. Don't have a small mind, publish and then recant! After all, that's two publications for the price of one!!


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