Juan Cole on how blogging is changing academic scholarship
there’s something wrong with our model. And this is producing a crisis which we’re all aware of but which nobody addresses. Which is that we give tenure on the basis of the revision of a dissertation into a published monograph. The economics of that used to be that the libraries—it was a socialist system—would buy 800 copies of the monograph that was published by the university press. Well that’s over….So university presses are increasingly being told by their administrators, We’re not subsidizing you anymore. You make money for us somehow. So this whole model of our writing very, very specialized dissertations and then having their publication subsidized … that’s on the verge of complete collapse.
I think that the Internet is going to change all of that radically. I think that the dissemination of academic study and knowledge through blogging is one of the ways that it’s going to change, and that ultimately it will be recognized as a valuable and central activity in our academic lives, and certainly it has the prospect of breaking out of the ivory tower and making the very valuable labors that are done in academia available to a wider audience.