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Re: Scientific committee (was: Re: [jox] Draft CFP)

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Hi Stefan and all


I hope you don't mind that I'm continuing on this topic. But I think
it is good to make these things clear in the beginning. I also think
that it is useful to discuss possible dangers. I hope in 
practice this
will turn out to be superfluous but it's better to set 
guidelines when
not already in conflict about something.

No, I agree 100% that it is important to discuss these issues as thoroughly as possible now, as once they have been agreed on they tend to be viewed as written in blood (for pirates) or set in stone (for religious folk)! ;-)

4 days ago Mathieu O'Neil wrote:
d) Regarding your concerns about having too many people 
involved and
sort of losing control over the project (what George referred 
to as
the risk of diluting "ideological coherence"). 

In terms of what scientific committee members are expected to 
do, I would suggest the following:
-contribute submissions
-review submissions
-discuss submissions on the list
-write rejoinders or dissents to submissions
-contribute thoughts on the direction of the project

Ok. However, I'd appreciate if we could get the possible roles and
their responsibilities clearer.

The key question, however, is: Who makes go/no-go decisions? You as
the lead editor? A team? If so who is a team member? I'm open 
for any
solution but would appreciate we could clarify this up front.

Good questions. I don't know. Normally in a journal there is an editor who is ultimately responsible. Ideally we would have some kind of consensus-seeking mechanism for cases where there is disagreement over an issue (list debate?) and maybe if discussion does not work after a reasonable delay the editor would decide?  

So, potentially, you might argue that new people could hijack the
project and drag it where it should not go. There are two ways in
which this is not such a big risk in my view.

That's my (and George's and may be even Graham's?) concern more or
less, yes.

First, I will naturally approach people who I think will be a 
good fit. 

Sure. Though I generally trust you we could consider whether
additional transparency could add to this feeling.

I'm happy to post a draft of the letter I would send out but as was said before there is a confidentiality / privacy issue about mentioning people openly and publicly before they have been contacted. 

Now, you might say that this was not a very satisfactory answer
because it relies on one person's judgment too much: I agree. But
there is a structural way to preempt any mistakes I might 
make. I
would argue that the very nature of this project (the clear adoption
of peer production principles such as the rejection of proprietary
software for submissions, the focus on transparent and publicly
archived discussion - via this list - for peer reviews, the fact
that the journal is hosted on the Oekonux website, etc) means that
only those people who are comfortable with these principles will
self-select to participate. 

The CFP/mission statement will act as a kind of founding 
document or
charter in this respect. It is up to us to use it to make it as
clear as possible what it is that we want to do. This document is
being discussed _now_ and though there may be evolutions or nuances
in the future it will fundamentally frame whatever direction the
project takes. In this way you could say that ideological coherence
will derive from the required adherence of participants to the
above-mentioned principles.

So the answer is that we have a charter and people need to abide this
charter and we have to make sure that people do so. Sounds reasonable.


Well, when I think in more theoretical terms about this problem then
I'd say that we need to make sure that alienated reasons to
participate are kept out as good as possible. And "alienated" I spell
out as reasons different from "creating the best possible journal
about 'Critical Studies in Peer Production'".

Ah, but what is "best"? 

So what alienated reasons to participate could exist?

* Hijacking the journal

  As you described. In fact a charter is a good way to 
counter this.

  Hijacking is interesting only if the journal has some 
importance  already. Why should anyone hijack an unknown 
project? So for the
  start this alienated reason is not very likely.


* Improving own CV

  That is a reason which does not need to conflict with the 
concrete  goal of creating the best possible journal so 
this is probably
  acceptable. Nonetheless we need to be careful that this 
reason to
  participate does not dominate.

Since we have no money to spend the reason to earn money does not
exist :-) .

Indeed. Though I think it's important to recognise that there are non-monetary rewards ("symbolic capital" to put my Bourdieuan hat on for a minute) such as prestige, status in a group, or "the interest in appearing to be disinterested", etc which are OK in my view as long as they are not misrecognised... 
 I also think there is a potential conflict between the conceptions of what "best" means in terms of openness and in terms of traditional academic scientific practice (as articulated in Athina's message a few days ago). I will review the messages on this topic so far and try to come up with a synthesis... The peer review system is the essential nut to crack.





Dr Mathieu O'Neil
Adjunct Research Fellow
Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute
College of Arts and Social Science
The Australian National University

E-mail: mathieu.oneil
Tel.: (61 02) 61 25 38 00
Mail: Coombs Building, 9
Canberra, ACT 0200 - AUSTRALIA

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