A New Kind of Work (2015)

357. A New Kind of Work: Articulating and Evaluating Excellence in Digital Scholarship

Friday, 9 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., 1, VCC East

Program arranged by the MLA Office of Scholarly Communication

Session Description:

With the proliferation of scholarly practices broadly defined as “digital” comes the challenge of evaluating such work within existing disciplinary standards and structures. How are faculty members, chairs, and administrators negotiating this challenge? What constitutes excellence for different types of projects? How do we know it, define it, refine it, and promote it in our institutions?

Presiding: Victoria E. Szabo, Duke Univ.


Cheryl E. Ball, West Virginia Univ., Morgantown

David F. Bell, Duke Univ.

Alison Booth, Univ. of Virginia

Raymond G. Siemens, Univ. of Victoria

Julie Sykes, Univ. of Oregon

These questions were circulated in advance to the panelists, all of whom have some kind of leadership role in relation to the topic.  We are actively gathering resource materials and will continue to update the links given here.

Introduction: A New Kind of Work (5 minutes)

Part 1: Initial Panelist Statements  (20 minutes)

1. What is your specific field (ex. literature, languages, cultural studies, rhetoric and comp,, etc.) and your relationship to these questions as a campus leader? As a scholar?

2. How would you define the range of scholarly practices encompassed by the digital in the MLA community? At your own institution?

3. What’s the attitude you are encountering amongst your faculty and upper admins about digital scholarship?

Part 2: How We Articulate and Evaluate Excellence (35 minutes)

4. How are you addressing the question of evaluation of digital projects at your institution, within departments and programs, etc.? Are there formal processes, procedures, guidelines?

5. What works with the existing Evaluating Guidelines sponsored by the MLA? What is missing?  Are other guidelines helpful?  (key areas might include standards for peer review, establishing equivalences between “old” and “new” product forms, sustainability, collaborative production processes etc.)

6. Does digital scholarship challenge standard rubrics for evaluation along research/teaching/service? How have you handled this question at your institution?

7. Are there other competencies and impacts you have had to consider as newly important in grappling with the digital?

8. What else needs to be done? Anything else you’d like to add?

Part 3: Questions/Comments/Discussion (15 minutes)


Session Resources:

2 thoughts on “A New Kind of Work (2015)”

  1. I just noted that Academia.edu offers a limited-time Session structure for posting a paper and inviting comments. This answers a need for the author of work-in-progress, but not quite for the evaluators/institutions who must assess the work?

  2. I should add that a “paper” could be something like a screencast of a user experience of working with a tool or a site and its visualizations. But I think it’s an ongoing problem, how much DH needs to “mean” as well as “be.” Which is to say, do DH practitioners need to publish about their work to be evaluated in academic departments (yack as well as hack)?

Comments are closed.

sponsored by the MLA Committee on Information Technology