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Posts Tagged ‘clue fairy’

In my everyday work-life, I have to protect my colleagues from predators.  Predatory publishers.  Parasites, might be a better descriptor, because under the guise of “providing opportunity”, some of these organizations steer otherwise clever scholars into self-defeating situations.  Sure, a line on a vitae is a fine brass ring to grab, but what if it’s more like fairy gold, a flash that fades away when the sun bears down upon it?  For what have you sold your reputation and credibility?

Academia Gateway Edit

But there may be a larger problem…. a break somewhere in the scholarly community.  I came up in a world where you presented ideas at conferences and in poster sessions before you ever tried publishing a research article or review.  Friends, colleagues, and strangers all battle-tested your ideas before a publisher ever took notice, or before you ever got round to writing a book proposal.

Broken chains.jpg

Did that kind of training stop?  Or have the predatory publishers offered a quick route to “getting a journal article” that bled scholars off that route?  “Why go through those gatekeepers and hurdles? — Here’s a little niche journal that will let you say whatever you want.”

The reward structure in academia that says “presentations are nice, but publications get you tenure”, falls right into the trap. And who has the standing [or the time] to intervene?

I dislike being the Clue Fairy in these settings; I really do.

Although I’m not the only one who’s been trying.  See here for one of the current listing sites: Stop Predatory Journals

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I think there are fine lines between artistic exploration and dangerous impracticality.  So when I read about a group planning to live ‘sustainably’ on a barge anchored off docks in New York City, I am a bit skeptical.  What do they plan on growing for food?  What will they do for fresh water?  I’m not encouraged to be optimistic when the project leader is noted for things like:

For her part, Ms. Mattingly didn’t seem too concerned. “I can’t wait to get on board,” she said, noting that she had already boxed up her books and artwork, and although she still has her apartment in Queens for a few more days, is basically living out of three tote bags, which she calls her “mobile office.” (Then again, in an earlier project, the “Wearable Home,” Ms. Mattingly proposed the idea that an all-weather jumpsuit equipped with solar panels and a water purifier might be all the shelter a person needs.)

and later in the article:

Ms. Mattingly has been growing tomatoes and onions on her windowsill (as have other crew members), but they won’t be ripe by next week, and she acknowledged the possibility that the onboard gardens and the eggs laid by the chickens won’t provide enough food to feed four people for five months.

“We worked out a deal with the Union Square Greenmarket, where we’re going to barter for food,” she said. She hadn’t yet figured out what to offer in exchange. But she didn’t seem particularly troubled by that, or by the fact that supplementing the food supply meant that their community wouldn’t actually be self-sustaining.

As for the lack of personal space, she and Ms. Ward seemed equally untroubled.

“I’m not worried at all,” Ms. Ward said. “I mean, the Waterpod has a guest room. I don’t think any New York apartment I’ve lived in has had a guest room.”

I wish them all the best, though I suspect a big ol’ case of Clue would be the best possible barge-warming gift…

What does your vision of the Clue Fairy look like?  And what is he or she carrying?  Discuss.

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If you don’t understand the biologic process that results in tan skin, you probably shouldn’t be left to your own discretion how to use high-intensity UV lights

[sigh]

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