Una tendencia interesante para seguirle la pista, ahora que se nos abren tantos servicios de papeleo en red como Sideral, y Medonte, y Zaguán en nuestra universidad... aparte de las redes sociales académicas tipo Academia.edu, sistemas de docencia en red como WebCT y Moodle, además de diversos repositorios y bases de datos que cada vez nos cogen más tiempo, por no hablar de foros, listas y emails. En América como siempre la cosa va por delante. Se queja en una de esas listas Sheila Teahan, profesora de Michigan State University—que se dan los primeros pasitos para hacernos todo esto obligatorio, y posibilitar un seguimiento en red del trabajo del académico:
I’m writing to inquire whether any of your institutions require you to join something called the Community of Scientists, which is apparently a medical and scientific database. At Michigan State, every faculty member across the university is expected to create a profile in this thing and to update it regularly. We are not permitted to apply for university grants without having done so. At least twice a month, I receive an e-mail rebuking me for my failure to update my profile.
I have come to regard this matter not only as a waste of faculty time, but as an infringement of academic freedom. Further, I don’t see any scientists on campus being required to join the MLA or thr AHA. So, my question is: does anyone on this list belong to an institution that requires faculty to join the COS? (I’m guessing that the answer is probably not.)
Increasingly, "research" here (one rarely hears the word scholarship) is associated with extramural funding.
Part of what concerns me about this COS business is its resonance with a larger phenomenon here and elsewhere of standardization and pseudo-corporatization. This was a major topic at a CIC conference I attended last fall in Ann Arbor. Two friends here at MSU (one in history and the other in agricultural ecomonics) were told by unit-level administrators that they were required to use ANGEL (a course-management system), power-point presentations, "clickers," and some other mode of classroom technology the acronym for which I have repressed. I’m working on a policy statement on behalf of our chapter on the subject of classroom technology and academic freedom. And I am forcing the COS issue: the University Committee on Faculty Affairs is taking the matter up this week, and I’ve copied my policy statement on COS to the VP for research, who is a very reasonable person. I’ll let you know what happens. I’m guessing that they will back down. I think that the COS policy was an arbitrary bureaucratic initiative that predates the tenures of our current president, provost, and bevy of VPs. At one level, the COS is simply a pain, but given the trends it exemplifies, there is a lot at stake.
Around here (Spain) universities are developing more and more complex online sites that teachers must update with their activities, publications, etc. They are largely optional, but you are expected to do your homework there if you want to receive e.g. a supplementary rise in your salary, on productivity grounds. Then of course all the paperwork for grants etc. is done online, so it’s only a matter of time before one web meets the other I guess. But up to now these "requirements" have been here an administrative matter, internal to the university. No such thing as an /obligatory/ social networking site for academics, God forbid, but... we’ll all "want" to, sooner or later, is what I think.
The other day I posted about Academia.edu, which is a kind of Facebook for academics. And it may be useful for many purposes. But the compulsory side you mention is quite unwelcome.
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Blog de notas de
José Ángel García Landa
(Biescas y Zaragoza)
"Algo hay en el formato mismo de los blogs que estimula un desarrollo casi canceroso de nuestro ego" (John Hiler)