[-empyre-] Journal of Journal Performance Studies

Nicholas Knouf nak44 at cornell.edu
Fri Jun 18 05:44:33 EST 2010


Dear -empyre-,

I don't want to derail the very interesting present discussion on labour
and alienation, but I wanted to announce a new project that,
coincidently, has a bearing on the conversation this month.  The
project, Journal of Journal Performance Studies (JJPS), is a series of
three interrelated works that engage with academic publishing,
consisting of a Firefox extension, an online radio station, and a
journal.  The project itself can be found at
http://turbulence.org/Works/JJPS/ .

JJPS started as a result of my own disgust over the absurd prices for
academic journals.  Thinking about modes of distribution of digital
content, and the fights over "piracy" started by the various media
industries, I considered what would possibly be the logical conclusion
of the crackdowns on the passing of files in their "native" formats.  If
the sharing of MP3 files, movies, and now PDFs continues to be
criminalized, what other possibilities for distribution might exist?
Given the textual nature of much scholarly publishing--and since authors
often present their paper aloud at conferences--what would be the
potential of an online radio station that consisted of nothing but
recitations of academic articles?

This question lead to a myriad of directions, as the project itself
shows.  Because of my recent work with MAICgregator, I was interested in
how a Firefox extension could contribute to our understandings of one
potential future of scholarly publishing where the Google worldview
dominates all.  Thus the JJPS Firefox extension
(http://turbulence.org/Works/JJPS/extension ), software that not only
provides information about the absurd journal costs as mentioned above,
but also presents a myriad of "factors" and advertisement replacements
that shows how bibliometrics and worry about Google's influence might
change how journals present and market themselves.

The JJPS Radio station (http://turbulence.org/Works/JJPS/radio ) is
fully-automated, producing new programs 24/7 related to the study of
journal performance.  Not only does it have recitations of texts, it
also uses these texts as its source material to create a varied set of
sonic programs.  Certain shows have certain hidden features that you
might find by perusing the texts on the radio website.  JJPS Radio is
also meant to foreground a different type of "digital humanities".
While that term is used in so many contexts as to hardly describe
anything of note, there seems to be a growing tendency to view it as
referring to simply the transplantation of large-scale data analysis
methods from engineering to large-scale "humanities" datasets.  (See,
for example, the Digging into Data Challenge:
http://www.diggingintodata.org/ )  JJPS Radio pushes back against this,
and shows how the techniques of data mining and natural language
processing can be used in alternative ways.

Finally, the Journal (http://turbulence.org/Works/JJPS/journal )
initially presents statements about the project, as well as performances
of other forms of distribution.  However, I do hope for the Journal to
become an ongoing, fully-fledged publication that explores not only the
political issues surrounding journal and book publishing and their
"performance", but also how we can use networked platforms to push the
limits of contemporary intellectual representation.  Those interested in
this should contact me directly.

Thanks to turbulence.org for the commission that allowed this project to
come to fruition.

And now, back to the ongoing discussion...

nick


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