Networked_Performance

Leonardo publishes “New Criteria for New Media”

Jon Ippolito wrote: I know some folks on this list have already requested these guidelines privately, but now that Leonardo has published them you can refer your peer committee to their Winter 2009 issue. Kudos to Roger Malina and co. for nudging academia into the 21st century!

Leonardo publishes New Criteria for New Media: Academia’s goal may be the free exchange of ideas, but up to now many universities have been wary — if not downright dismissive — of their professors using the Internet and other digital media to supercharge that exchange, especially in the arts and humanities. Peer review committees are supposed to assess a researcher’s standing in the field, but to date most have ignored reputations established by blogging, publishing DVDs, or contributing to email lists.

In a signal that some universities are warming to digital scholarship, however, the winter 2009 issue of MIT’s Leonardo magazine — itself a traditional peer review journal, though known for experimenting with networked media — has published a feature on the changing criteria for excellence in the Internet age. To make its point as concretely as possible, the feature includes the recently approved promotion and tenure guidelines of the University of Maine’s New Media Department, together with an argument for expanding recognition entitled New Criteria for New Media.

Rather than throw time-honored benchmarks for excellence out the window, New Criteria for New Media tries to extend them into the 21st century. To supplement the “closed” peer review process familiar from traditional journals, U-Me’s criteria recognize the value of the “open peer review” employed in recognition metrics such as ThoughtMesh and The Pool. As the name suggests, open peer review allows contributions from any community member rather than a group of experts, and all reviews are public; when combined with an appropriate recognition metric, the result is much faster evaluations than possible via the customary approach. New Criteria for New Media also urges academic reviews to reward collaboration in new media research; valuable roles include conceptual architect, designer, engineer, or even matchmaker (e.g., introducing two other researchers whose collaboration results in a publication).

Because the University of Maine hopes other institutions will adopt these criteria and adapt them to their own needs, it is releasing them under a Creative Commons (CC-by) license. (Due to a misprint by MIT Press, the Leonardo article highlights the authors’ copyrights rather than the CC license; it’s surprisingly hard to give things away in a print economy!) The new criteria have already been sought after by individual tenure candidates and cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education. You can find them in Leonardo’s winter 2009 issue (vol. 42 no. 1) or online at these links:

New Criteria for New Media” (white paper)

Promotion and Tenure Guidelines” (sample redefined criteria)

For more information, please email me or the Still Water lab at the University of Maine.


Apr 10, 11:09
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2 Responses

  1. Garrett Lynch:

    Absolutely ludicrous that an article like this would need to be published in 2009 in a journal such as Leonardo, retro-actively justifying valid methods for research, but it is true this happens everywhere. Luckily institutions I’ve worked for in England/Wales have embraced new medias/technologies (it’s the departments more than anything else) but the higher up you go within the institution or outside it (RAE etc.) the less serious it seems to be taken.

    I find it amusing that I’m sat here at a computer reading a weblog that has articles visible seconds after they are published about topics months if not years before they appear in print. That has a QR code which I can quickly scan with my mobile and then continue to read the weblog while I’m on the go. Why would you want to read about networked media/art in a form outside of it (the media) when it can be read within that form?


  2. Leonardo publishes “New Criteria for New Media” | website of caleb waldorf...:

    […] Leonardo publishes “New Criteria for New Media”: […]


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