Response to Stanley Fish
I’ve just posted the following response to Stanley Fish’s comments about my book; they should be up once they’re moderated through. In the interim, and for the sake of keeping this comment visible long after it’s drowned in a sea of commenter crankiness, here’s what I said:
This is a fascinating discussion of the shifts taking place in scholarly communication today; thanks to Prof. Fish for his exploration of new digital modes of scholarship. I’m honored that he’s engaged with my book so avidly and want to add a few brief thoughts to this conversation.
First, as several have noted, the project went through an open peer review process, and remains available online. The print version serves a key role, however, as a form of reverse compatibility with those in the academy who have not yet made the transition to networked reading.
But I want to note that I don’t entirely believe that “long-form scholarship… needs the interdependent notions of author, text, and originality.” Rather, I believe that scholarship circulates through a particular interpretive community, a concept I draw from Prof. Fish’s important intervention into assumptions about the fixed nature of texts and meanings. To this point, that interpretive community has relied on notions like originality to give meaning to its communications. I do not argue that these things are going away in the digital age, only that they are changing, as the interpretive community of scholars changes.
There is much resistance to such change from those in established interpretive communities. But changes are underway, and it is crucial for all scholars today — not just those working in new forms, but also those hiring and promoting them — to understand how new forms create new kinds of engagement.