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Performing the Scholarly Monograph in Contemporary Digital Culture

1.3 Methodology: Practical

1.3.1 A Digital, Open, and Collaborative Research Practice

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 To perform the critical praxis described above, I will endeavour to engage with some of the key concepts and practices that constitute its conceptual framework: these include (radical) openness, remix and liquidity, with an overarching focus on experimentation. In the remainder of this thesis these key terms will be explored in order to critique and examine the main forms of humanist and print-based binding that, I argue, have worked to turn the book into a fixed and stable object of scholarly communication. These forms of binding include practices of authorship, which have been incremental in gathering a work together; specific material formations, such as publishing and scholarly communication systems, set up to promote the commercial object formation of the book; and the specific (print) materiality of the book, with what is presumed to be its inherently bound nature. The concepts of openness, remix and liquidity, together with some of their current implementations will also be heavily scrutinised as part of this thesis. Nonetheless, for all this, I still want to emphasise their potential as forms and practices of critique and resistance to the object formation of the book, as part of the specific performance of this thesis.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Within humanities’ fields, scholars are increasingly experimenting with ways of conducting their research in a more open way, following the idea of open research or open notebook science. This involves publishing one’s research as it evolves (including in some cases as drafts and raw data) on blogs, personal websites and wikis, or on platforms such as Academia.edu or Researchgate—to name just a few examples—instead of only publishing the research results formally in scholarly journals, edited collections and monographs. Examples of scholars who are experimenting with open, online publishing, for instance, and who can be seen as developing or practicing forms of critical praxis, are Ted Striphas, who posts his working papers online on his Differences and Repetitions wiki, and Gary Hall, who is making the research for his new book Media Gifts freely available online on his website as it evolves. Meanwhile, Kathleen Fitzpatrick put the draft version of her book Planned Obsolescence online for open review using the CommentPress WordPress plugin, which allows readers to comment on paragraphs of the text in the margins. Examples of (ex-)PhD students involved in open research are librarian Heather Morrison, who posted the chapters of her thesis as they evolved online, and the English scholar Alex Gil, who has put his work for his thesis online on elotroalex.com, also using the CommentPress plugin.[15]

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The focus in the above examples on openness, open research and open access—as in the conduct of my own thesis—not only functions as a means of experimenting with new practices of producing and distributing knowledge; it can also be seen as acting as a direct critique of the material conditions under which humanities research is currently being produced. Striphas, who perceives cultural studies as a set of writing practices, has scrutinised the way these practices are currently set up and function by exploring the politics and economics of academic publishing. As I pointed out above, the choices we as scholars make, or, as Striphas emphasises, the choices that are made for us when we publish our research results, are very important. Striphas underlines both the systemic power relations at play as well as our own responsibilities in repeating these practices or, alternatively, choosing different options. We need to have better access to the ‘instruments of the production of cultural studies’, i.e. the publishing system, and to the content that gets produced, by exploring and taking control of ‘the conditions under which scholarship in cultural studies can—and increasingly cannot—circulate’ (Striphas 2010). Striphas thus emphasises our roles as scholars within this publishing system, which serves as a good example of critical praxis in action, and how we can, in his words, ‘perform our writing practices differently, to appropriate and reengineer the publishing system so as to better suit our needs’ (2010).

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 In this respect, this PhD thesis can be seen as an experiment in developing a digital, open research practice through the exploration of the possibilities of remix, liquidity and openness in the thesis’s production and format. By positioning the medium of the book as a major site of struggle over the future of scholarly knowledge production within the humanities, I argue for the importance of experimenting with alternative ways of thinking and performing the academic monograph. In particular, I argue for the importance of experiments that go beyond simply ‘iteratively reproducing’ established practices of knowledge production, dissemination and consumption. Starting with the long-form argument that is the PhD thesis itself, I aim to actively critique, in form, practice and content, the established print-based notions, politics, and practices within the field of the humanities, in a performative way.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Following the examples mentioned above, then, the research for my thesis—which includes notes, drafts, whole chapters etc., and all in different forms and shapes—has been made available online, as it has progressed, via multiple digital platforms and social media outlets. This idea of providing different versions of the text which will be available on various platforms, and then remixing and gathering them together again in several other forms and outputs—of which this PhD thesis is one—raises questions about the bound and objectified nature of the PhD thesis, the book and of scholarly research. Will such a dispersed, versioned, multimodal and collaborative project still be perceived as a thesis, or only certain instantiations of it? Can it be a finished thesis-object if it continues to develop even after this particular thesis instantiation has been submitted? For instance, versions of this thesis have appeared previously as blog posts, conference presentations, lectures, tweets, published articles in peer-reviewed journals, and as experimental digital works. In this respect my practice—and this kind of practice is not uncommon now in humanities scholarship—relates to the production of what Marjorie Perloff has called differential texts, which she defines as ‘texts that exist in different material forms, with no single version being the definitive one’ (2006). In this specific case my differential practice is also designed to draw attention to the processual and collaborative nature of research in its various settings and through its multiple institutions of informal and formal communication, from social media and conferences, to mailing lists and journals. Instead of having just a single linear long-form argument, this project has been designed in such a way that the majority of the multiple distributed versions of the text can be traversed, read, re-written and re-performed in multiple ways. The idea of versioning is also an attempt on my part to critique the idea of individual authorship, as many of these texts have been co-authored, commented upon, reviewed and/or annotated in various settings by different (groups of) people and are thus necessarily the results of (reworkings of) inherently collaborative work. This is of particular importance when we take into account that a thesis is supposed to consist of all original work written by the thesis’s author. Nonetheless, it could of course be argued that I am still the one gathering this de-assembled work together again, citing the work of other authors to ensure credit is given where it is due, and rewriting these versions and structuring them anew for this specific instantiation, the submitted PhD thesis: thus making it a new and ‘original’ piece of work.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Re-assembling the different versions in this PhD thesis provides me with the means to challenge the reliance on the long-form linear argument that much work in the humanities adheres to. It serves as a way to make clear, as part of the performance of my argument, that the specific way and order in which the argument (or, better, the multiple arguments) has unfolded in this thesis is not the only manner in which it can be narrated. The different shapes that the previous versions of this thesis and its reasoning have taken on, framed and embedded as they are within other debates, shows the modularity and remixability of the different strands of the argument in different contexts.

1.3.2 A Differential Thesis

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 What, then, are the main versions in which this thesis has up to now been made available? Furthermore, how will it be appearing in future instantiations, and for what reasons? First of all, various social media outlets have been used to reach out to a wider readership and to connect with a peer community of sharing and collaboration. This includes an academic blog, Open Reflections (www.openreflections.wordpress.com), where first drafts and short pieces related to the thesis have been posted in the form of blogposts. This blog also functions as a personal website where talks, papers, and online preprint and postprint versions of some of the articles that have been presented and published in the course of this ongoing research have been collated and made openly available. Open Reflections builds upon an existing readership (I have been blogging since 2008), and aims to connect with a community of scholars and otherwise interested people, by making extended connections via Twitter (a micro-blogging community) and Zotero (an online open source reference system enabling people to collect and share references and resources), two outlets heavily used by scholars and a wider public interested in the digital. These tools have been used not only to share my ongoing research in a more direct way with others, but also as a means for me to evade and critique the formal publication system, which at the moment is not offering enough opportunities to showcase work-in-progress or to support the further development and improvement of scholarly writing. (Its function seems instead to be based more on selection and branding than on an ethics of care and further development.) A blog also offers the opportunity for research to be shared for free, open access, not behind a pay-wall or otherwise restricted by DRM or a strict copyright regime (my blog has been licensed CC-BY).[16] As a specific publishing platform, blogs offer the potential to explore work in progress and to perform theory in a multimodal way, making easy use of, and incorporating, images, videos, podcasts and hyperlinks—simple mechanisms of networked scholarship that are however still not universally incorporated in many forms of formal publishing. At the same time, it offers possibilities for debate, and is set up to receive feedback and responses to one’s shared and ongoing research—via its commenting, hyperlinking and trackback features—in a more direct way than the majority of formal scholarly communication currently does.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 The blog thus serves as a platform to publish various iterations of my in-progress thesis in networked and multimodal ways in a (relatively) collaborative and interactive setting. However, the blog format remains rather restricted when it comes to direct collaboration with, and reuse of, the research for my thesis. For this reason, as soon as the thesis reaches a stage in which it is ready to be formally submitted (i.e. when there is a certain volume of text and a coherent narrative, none of which would entail that the text is actually ‘finished’, ‘stable’ or ‘fixed’), a variety of other platforms and tools will be used to explore these more interactive functions. First of all, I will be making use of the CommentPress WordPress plugin mentioned earlier, which was developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book. This plugin enables users to leave comments alongside the text, next to each paragraph, and has previously been used by McKenzie Wark for his book Gamer Theory (2007), and by Fitzpatrick for the open review of her book Planned Obsolescence (2011b). By placing the comments alongside the text (instead of at the bottom of the text which is more common in regular blogs and websites) an attempt is made to subvert the implied hierarchy of ‘text first, comments second’. As the CommentPress ‘About’ page states:

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 In the course of our tinkering, we achieved one small but important innovation. Placing the comments next to rather than below the text turned out to be a powerful subversion of the discussion hierarchy of blogs, transforming the page into a visual representation of dialog, and re-imagining the book itself as a conversation. Several readers remarked that it was no longer solely the author speaking, but the book as a whole (author and reader, in concert).[17]

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 This CommentPress version of the thesis will also be hyperlinked and will include images and (where possible) multimedia. The CommentPress plugin will be used to experiment with peer feedback and open review in a slightly different setting than a normal blog, one that is designed more directly for commentary and collaboration, emphasising the collaborative nature of the research once more.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 However, even when using this plugin the hierarchy between the main text and the comments, between the author and the commenters, still remains intact—although perhaps in a less emphasised way. To explore the potential of providing direct read/write access to the text, wiki software will be used to publish yet another instantiation of the thesis. The wiki, which functions via a logic of open editing, will then serve as a space where the authorial ‘moderating function’ still at work in the blog and CommentPress plugin will be further decentred. Wikis provide readers with an opportunity to become writers too, following the idea of open writing and editing upon which wiki software is based. Wikis thus enable the possibility to both write, edit, comment upon, update, remix, categorise, tag, reuse, translate, data-mine, annotate, copy and paste the material, in a collaborative manner. This means that the possibilities offered by this environment, in combination with the way it can be interacted with, might provide another opportunity to challenge and critique the authority of the text’s initial author (or set of authors). My intention is to use the wiki to explore what it means to no longer fully rely on authorship as the main form of authority. I say this, because it can be argued that in a wiki environment the author can no longer be (solely) held responsible for the text or the research, given that the text will have no final ‘authorial approved’ version in a wiki; that it can (in principle) be further commented upon, and can be updated, remixed and re-used indefinitely by the public at large. There is a specific problem related to publishing books in wikis, however (which I will discuss in more depth in both chapter 3 and chapter 6). This is that the authority of the book form tends to overshadow the multi-authorial nature of wiki software. The more ‘definite’ or ‘final’ a text seems (which can be due to language, length, format, style of writing, genre, design, etc.), the harder it becomes for people to engage with it. This lack of interaction with ‘book-like’ wikis is one of the main challenges this aspect of my project aims to explore and will have to encounter.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 The wiki and the CommentPress plugin will not offer enough flexibility and functionality to explore more multimodal and non-linear forms of publishing however. Therefore, yet another version of the thesis will be published using a ‘hypermedia’ platform or software (enabling non-linear publishing) such as Sophie or Scalar. Sophie has again been developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book, as a kind of extension of the CommentPress plugin: ‘While there is still much work to be done, the ultimate goal of the Sophie project is to make a tool that handles all the social network interactions (and more) that CommentPress does but within a far more fluid and easy-to-use composition/reading space where media can mix freely’.[18] On the Sophie 2.0 website this open source software, which can be used to create a kind of expanded and annotated collaborative book, is described as follows: ‘Sophie is software for writing and reading rich media documents in a networked environment. The program emerged from the desire to create an easy-to-use application that would allow users to combine text, images, video, and sound not only quickly and simply but with precision and sophistication.’ In this respect, ‘Sophie’s goal is to open up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of people, institutions, and publishers. In so doing, Sophie redefines the notion of a “book” or academic paper to include both rich media and mechanisms for reader feedback and real time conversation’.[19] Sophie 2.1, built in Java, was released in 2011, but since then no further releases have been issued. It seems further development of the project has stalled. However, it remains a viable hypermedia-publishing platform for this thesis.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 The open source authoring and publishing platform Scalar, released in beta in 2013, offers another option. Tara McPherson, one of the people behind Scalar and the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, the group of people and institutions who have set up the Scalar project, describes it as follows: ‘Scalar allows scholars to create with relative ease long-form, multimedia projects that incorporate a variety of digital materials while also connecting to digital archives, utilizing built-in visualizations, exploring nonlinearity, supporting customization, and more’ (2014: 183). Software and platforms such as Sophie or Scalar thus offer more possibilities for users to explore the content and argument of the thesis in a different way, i.e. one that is not necessarily print and/or text based, as they have been specifically set up as experimental publishing structures, as networked and collaborative reading and writing spaces. As McPherson emphasises, Scalar has been devised to investigate new publication practices and wants to be an experimental space for publishing (2010). Furthermore, the specific design decisions behind Scalar are important in this context too, as they resonate strongly with the thinking that accompanies this thesis. Especially since Scalar has been designed to understand publishing technology and its ‘entanglement with culture’ as well as with ourselves as scholars, better:

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 Thus, it [Scalar] mediates a whole set of binaries: between close and distant reading, user and author, interface and backend, micro and macro, theory and practice, archive and interpretation, text and image, database and narrative, and human and machine. Scalar takes seriously feminist methodologies ranging from the cut to theories of alliance, intersectionality, and articulation not only in support of scholars undertaking individual projects but also in our very design principles. As authors work with the platform, they enter into a flow of becoming through the creation of a database on the fly and through an engagement with the otherness of the machine. Scalar respects machinic agency but does not cede everything to it. (McPherson 2014: 185)

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Scalar might thus be another potential platform on which to publish this thesis in one of its multiple versions and to explore the possibility to create, edit, and read in a collaborative setting and to make mashups and remixes including text, video, sound, illustrations, images and spoken word, for example. These remixes will be based on the text, argument and narrative as it exists in that specific version of the thesis. However, as an extension of the wiki, and using the same read/write possibilities, the aim is to actively attract collaborators to work directly in and with the text (as one does in a collaborative writing environment), instead of making a remix that is actually a copy of the text.[20] Every remix will thus be a further instantiation of the text of the thesis and will be a further remix of the previous remixes, where the participants will be remixing each others work. Although the work of the contributing remixers will be acknowledged and credited, in this specific setting it will be hard to obtain who did what exactly. This situation is however not inherently different from the way a scholarly monograph reaches its readers, where it is not always that easy to find out who were exactly involved in the creation of a publication, and what it was they contributed exactly: from the peer reviewers to the typesetters to the company who printed the print-on-demand version. These can all be seen as collaborators on a publication; however, not everyone is always acknowledged; nor is it always clear what the specific collaborators contributed to the final publication.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 By emphasising once again that this remixed version of my thesis is a collaborative work, as all scholarly work inherently is (not the least because it builds on the work of others), the aim is to challenge some of the preconceptions that we continue to validate in our publishing practices. With the hypermedia version I aim to complicate (single) authorship, attribution, and the authority of both the author and the work. It questions the linearity of the work, as well as its fixity and stability. I will also explore the possibility of traversing fields, by inviting interdisciplinary artists, scholars and practitioners to provide a remix, in this way practically examining how we can diminish the distinctions still made between art and research, theory and practice, and text and multimedia, while experimenting with different visions on the materiality and future of the book. Will people be able to ‘read’ this material in another way? What does this mean for knowledge communication? Finally, this multimedia version also asks questions about the agency of software and platforms and about the different ways in which the various multimodal remixed iterations of the thesis will be received: this is where the concept of versioning plays an important role.

1.3.3 Versioning

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 Versioning, as it has come to be used within academic research and publishing, refers to the frequent updating, rewriting or modification of academic material that has been published in a formal or informal way. As a practice it has been adopted from software development, where it is used to distinguish the various instalments of a piece of software. The difference is of course that these are not separate editions of the software, but involve a constant rewriting of the same piece of code. Versioning is a common feature of many web-based publication forms, from blogs to wikis, based on the potential to quickly revise and save a piece of written material. With versioning comes version management and control, which can be seen as an important (inbuilt) aspect of versioning, where the various platforms and pieces of software that allow for updating most of the time also enable the tracking and archiving of the various modifications that are made to a work. This can be important in collaborative settings such as wikis, as it makes it easier to establish who is responsible for a specific edit and provides the possibility of comparing various versions with one another.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 Although adopted from software development, versioning has been around for a long time and can even be seen as an essential aspect of scholarly communication. Discussions on mailing lists, working papers, conference presentations, preprints and postprints, online first versions, versions of record, corrected or updated versions, revised editions: all of these can be regarded as different renditions of an academic publication in progress; but there are many more. Media theorist Lev Manovich, for instance, published different iterations of his monograph Software Takes Command (2013) online on his website as the book developed. As he argues with respect to this practice: ‘One of the advantages of online distribution which I can control is that I don’t have to permanently fix the book’s contents. Like contemporary software and web services, the book can change as often as I like, with new “features” and “big fixes” added periodically. I plan to take advantage of these possibilities. From time to time, I will be adding new material and making changes and corrections to the text’ (Manovich 2008). Bringing out different versions of our research as it emerges also enables us to make material available for others to share much sooner, without the associated time-lags formal publishing brings with it, not to mention the pay-walls and copyright restrictions. However, although within the humanities it is fairly common for certain versions (i.e. the blog post, the conference presentation) to be clearly presented, communicated and published as such during different points in a research work’s development, only the so-perceived final version as published by a press or publisher is held to be the version of record, authored by a specific author or set of authors as an original piece of work (even though versions often emerge in and out of highly collaborative settings). Instead of primarily emphasising the end result as part of such an object-centered approach, could a focus on the various renditions of an academic work also involve a shift in our attention towards the collaborative and more processual nature of research? And might this lead us to start paying more attention to the performativity of our practices: that it matters where we bring out our various versions (what platforms we use, or which publishers), how we do so (open or closed, and with which license), and the different formats our versions appear in (print, html, video, PDF, podcast, epub). Will it help us to look more closely, for instance, at how different platforms and formats influence the way we produce a specific version and how it is further used and intra-acted with? Could versioning also involve more recognition being given to the various groups of people that are involved in research creation and dissemination, as well as to the various materialities, technologies and media that we use to represent and perform our research, from paper to software? Would a focus on the continuous evolving nature of research make us more aware of the various cuts we can and do (and need!) to make in our work, and for what reasons? And might this involve us making more informed and meaningful decisions about which cuts we want to make, what kind of version we would like to bring out and with what intention (to communicate, collaborate, share, gift, attribute, credit, improve, brand, etc.)?

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 We can thus see how versionings might better mirror the scholarly workflow research goes through. However, experimenting with different versions (including using different formats, platforms and media) also offers us an opportunity to reflect critically on the way this workflow is currently (teleologically and hierarchically) set up, institutionalised, and commercialised, and how we might generate and communicate our work differently. It encourages us to ask questions about the role of publishers and about what the publishing function exactly entails, as well as about the authority of a text and who does (and does not) get to have a role in establishing this authority. What currently counts as a formal version and for what reason? Collectively, as researchers, we have tried to organise our research and writing around fixed and authorative texts, consistent and stable from copy to copy, based on the technology of the printing press. Could we arrange our research differently around the processes of writing in a digital environment? As Fitzpatrick suggests: ‘What if we were freed—by a necessary change in the ways that we “credit” ongoing and in-process work—to shift our attention away from publication as the moment of singularity in which a text transforms from nothing into something, and instead focus on the many important stages in our work’s coming-into-being?’ (2011b: 70).

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Rethinking this organisation will also have to involve taking a critical look at the way versioning is currently set up on web-based platforms and services (and is also increasingly being conceived in academic publishing). This involves an investigation of version management and control (including the archiving of previous versions and author edits), which can be seen as an essential aspect of versioning. In other words, not only will we need to think about what constitutes a version, at what point and for what reason, we also need to think about the way in which we deal with these versions and conceptualise versioning. For example, versioning mainly seems to refer to the continuous updating of one single text, post, page, or topic (i.e. it assumes an original and a final version). What happens, though, if the updates and changes are ongoing and content is brought in from elsewhere? Perhaps remix might be a more interesting trope to explore here. The question is, if these updates are ongoing and collaborative, is it really necessary to keep all the different versions, and for how long? What is the use of versioning (or better said version control) in highly collaborative environments and wikis? The way we keep insisting on version control might be perceived as another sign of our fear of letting go of stability and fixity. Furthermore, it could be argued that we are again reinstalling print-based and humanist mechanisms here, where each version becomes a clearly recognizable fixed and stable unit with a single author and clear authority. This might entail that versioning becomes a new way of objectifying scholarship as part of its processual becoming, similar to current publishing business models based on selling various book formats, from hardcover to paperback and epub. It might similarly provide an opportunity to market, brand and sell research in a continuous way, like we do with new editions of books. Can we in some way balance our need for both fixity and process? As I will argue in this thesis, doing so will involve us in an in-depth exploration of when, and at what points, fixity is needed and for what reasons. In this respect it is important that we are ‘thinking about how ideas move and develop from one form of writing to the next, and about the ways that those stages are represented, connected, preserved, and “counted” within new digital modes of publishing’, as Fitzpatrick has argued (2011b: 70–71).

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 One of the versions of this thesis will be the version that will be submitted to fulfil the requirement towards the PhD: a single-authored written piece of original work in long-format. In other words, it will take the form of a traditional argument bound and made available in both a print and digital (PDF) format. This will most likely be regarded as ‘the final or original version’. However, as I want to point out by versioning my work in the ways I have outlined above, this ‘bound’ version is not necessarily the most important, interesting or valuable version of the thesis, nor is it in any way the final version. Not only are the different versions of the thesis connected to each other, they are also connected to the other works they reference. The intention of this research project is to create different versions and instantiations of the thesis argument, which will exist on different platforms. These then come to function as nodes in a multi-format, interlinked network of texts, notes, draft, references and remixes, where no part is necessarily more or less important than the other parts, nor will one text form the end-point or final version of the dissertation project. The reason I am focusing on a variety of versions as part of this thesis (the blog, the conference paper, the hypermedia version, the wiki version, the remixed version), all types of publishing which are currently being experimented with in scholarly communication, is to emphasise that different cuts are possible in the publishing process; cuts that perform various functions for the scholar, the research, and for the platforms that carry them. These different ways of versioning, re-cutting and remixing the material, thus provide us with an opportunity to examine different software and technologies and to shape them at the same time; to develop a form of critical praxis and to explore what other kinds of publishing are possible. However, they also enable us to extend our notions of the book, and of the way we can gather our research together and re-envision it in different ways.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 My choices for the specific versions outlined above are based on exploring those platforms, technologies and pieces of software that favour interaction, experimentation, multimodality, openness and interdisciplinarity, as these are the features of scholarly communication that I would like to highlight and promote. I wish to do so because these features have the potential to help us to reimagine the bound nature of the monograph and to explore versionings as a spatial and temporal critique of the book as a bound object; to examine various different incisions that can be made in our scholarship as part of the informal and formal publishing and communication of our research that goes beyond the final research commodity. The practical part of the dissertation will thus constitute an experiment with collaboration, remix, versioning and the mixing of media, and with non-linear ways of writing and reading. It is designed to explore what the differences are between these various material incarnations of the thesis. These differences are shaped by the specific affordances of the software and platforms in intra-action with our scholarly practices. However, the discourses surrounding these technologies have similarly influenced the design, use and consumption of these technologies, as well as the shaping of us as scholars. What does all this mean for the way the research will be communicated, written and read? How will the different versions of this project be received and what possibilities and limitations does this offer to think and act beyond the printed book? How will this thesis eventually be published as a book, as a monograph, as an additional version of this thesis? (Or will the thesis become a version of the monograph?) If this monograph is formally published, how will it relate to the other nodes and versions, and will this lead to copyright problems and branding issues, for instance? Most probably the monograph will then become ‘the version of record’, the final object, as this is still the customary and approved cut in scholarly communication, having to do with matters of reputation and reward. The question remains, however, whether the thesis-project as a whole will be acknowledged as a ‘scholarly monograph’, within an institutional context. Will it be a book, or something else? (An archive?) As I will argue in this thesis, it is our responsibility as scholars, as part of our critical praxis, to engage with these questions and to make responsible decisions as to how, where, when, and in what form we publish our research.

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Source: http://www.openreflections.org/?page_id=45