I had a very interesting chat with Corvus Elrod
a few days ago, in which I confessed to him that the submissions we've got so far for Proceedings of the VGHVI (hereinafter PVGHVI [at least it will probably always be a unique search term]) are almost all of a variety with which we're not sure what to do.
These are really, really smart pieces, mostly based on really, really smart blog-posts, which, as I look at them with my academic eyes, I can see being turned into "real" articles. (The scare-quotes around "real" are there to indicate that I don't think there's actually such a thing as a real article, as opposed to an unreal, or fake, one.) They don’t however, have the thing which professional academics, part of whose job-desciption is doing peer-review for academic journals, are looking for—what we tend to call a scholarly apparatus, or, to put it another way, a certain kind of footnotes. Not the fun kind of footnotes that tell you stuff that’s really interesting but had to be left out of the main text, but the sad kind of footnotes that tell you that the author of the article knows that he or she is bound to demonstrate that he or she did his or her homework.
As the initial call for papers
tried to express, this kind of contribution was exactly what we were hoping to get. The problem is that I was terribly naïve in thinking that our contributors would just have to sit down with their existing pieces for an hour or two, throw some footnotes in there, and “Ecce!”: a “semi-scholarly” article, ready for peer-review.
We could go back and forth for a very long time about how good a thing it is to have peer-review in its old-fashioned form, and how useful a thing a traditional apparatus actually is, but I don’t think we’d get anywhere except a slightly more advanced state of depression about how the academy works.
On the other hand, Corvus evoked in me what seems like a possibly great idea for what we might do with these pieces, based on Electronic Book Review
, which to my shame I had never investigated before, and which is very much worth anyone’s time to peruse. As I see it, the idea would be for an editor of PVGHVI to take a look at all submissions, and, in the case of “traditional” scholarly articles, to send them out for “traditional” peer-review, but, in the case of “non-traditional” scholarly articles, to post (given the author’s consent) such articles here at VGHVI and on our wiki. This posting would provide a CV item of at least a small value, and (more importantly) would initiate a process whereby these articles might in fact evolve into a more traditional form, as other VGHVI-members provide their expertise in editing and corroborating.
What do you think?