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Author Topic: Independent Scholars Support Thread  (Read 198838 times)
secretweapon
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2009, 4:48:50 PM »

You might be interested in the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.  http://www.ncis.org/   I don't know if they have a listserv, but it looks like some of their linked research groups do.

Thanks, Herophilus!  (The picture is so cute, too).
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herophilus
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2009, 4:53:28 PM »

I hadn't noticed that!  Wonder what it means.  On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog?
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dept_geek
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through a glass darkly....


« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2009, 9:59:45 PM »

So... I have a question for the cc faculty and others where there is no institutional/job requirement to regularly publish:

I was doing pretty good with a paper or two a year, until I got hammered with a half-dozen nasty and not very helpful rejections ("You misplaced two commas, and besides, I, as omnipotent reviewer, just don't care about this topic." You get the idea). Now, since I don't have to, I'm finding more and more reasons not to. I have a couple of cool ideas, I'm just having trouble working up the energy to really do this.

Without the external pressure, what tricks do you have for keeping up the internal pressure? 
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secretweapon
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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2009, 6:50:13 AM »

So... I have a question for the cc faculty and others where there is no institutional/job requirement to regularly publish:

I was doing pretty good with a paper or two a year, until I got hammered with a half-dozen nasty and not very helpful rejections ("You misplaced two commas, and besides, I, as omnipotent reviewer, just don't care about this topic." You get the idea). Now, since I don't have to, I'm finding more and more reasons not to. I have a couple of cool ideas, I'm just having trouble working up the energy to really do this.

Without the external pressure, what tricks do you have for keeping up the internal pressure? 

It's tough.  I reread the literature that inspired me to write the article in the first place, and often that makes me feel more motivated (i.e. an article that raises the question I am trying to answer, or an article with serious mistakes that I am trying to rectify in my own work, etc). 

In your case, Dept_Geek, I wonder if you are sending your work to the right places: is there another journal where people will appreciate you ideas more?  Since it doesn't relate to tenure, you could think of it as having the luxury to publish your work where you will actually reach your target audience, rather than the most prestigious journal. 
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dept_geek
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through a glass darkly....


« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2009, 9:10:08 AM »

So... I have a question for the cc faculty and others where there is no institutional/job requirement to regularly publish:

I was doing pretty good with a paper or two a year, until I got hammered with a half-dozen nasty and not very helpful rejections ("You misplaced two commas, and besides, I, as omnipotent reviewer, just don't care about this topic." You get the idea). Now, since I don't have to, I'm finding more and more reasons not to. I have a couple of cool ideas, I'm just having trouble working up the energy to really do this.

Without the external pressure, what tricks do you have for keeping up the internal pressure? 

It's tough.  I reread the literature that inspired me to write the article in the first place, and often that makes me feel more motivated (i.e. an article that raises the question I am trying to answer, or an article with serious mistakes that I am trying to rectify in my own work, etc). 

In your case, Dept_Geek, I wonder if you are sending your work to the right places: is there another journal where people will appreciate you ideas more?  Since it doesn't relate to tenure, you could think of it as having the luxury to publish your work where you will actually reach your target audience, rather than the most prestigious journal. 

In general, sw, I would agree 100%. I need to look at other journals. But in two different cases of the ones mentioned above, the paper almost exactly matched the purported theme of the journal. It was a reviewer thing.

I have had pretty good luck with the Journals of Misplaced Studies. But - yes - , on occasion, my ego gets the best of me, and I want to hit a upper-tier journal. ;/

Time to head back downstairs, I guess... and worry about answering questions and not competing with my friends who do publish for a living.
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I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code.

Quote from: testingthewaters
When in doubt, add chocolate.
dellaroux
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« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2009, 9:37:47 AM »

With or without institutional anchorage, the questions you're asking can be hard ones. My "real work" doesn't really quite have/barely has a field, so much of what I do has an independent/"unplugged" quality about it.

I'm currently working on two papers, and I make a point of circulating them in draft form to two or three knowledgeable friends who are willing to pre-read them for me.

It's understood that whatever level of input (or none) that they want to give is fine, and it helps me have a tiny "ready audience" to have in mind when I'm writing.

I also make a point of making a lot of presentations of my work in settings where it can fit in, so that I hone phrases and think through discussion points "on the hoof" (so to speak). 

I'm usually developing themes within the work in these presentations, so they can be separated out and used as separate offerings; since for me a paper (even a written on) is a performative moment, the tie to time and place and audience helps reify the paper that would otherwise be "in my head," and possibly never get written.

See also the "legacy" discussion I started a bit ago...

   http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php/topic,55874.0.html

Maybe that's another kind of cautionary impetus, if we can stand to think of a world without us...or/and our written work...
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bibliothecula
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like Bunnicula, only with books


« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2009, 1:31:23 PM »

You might be interested in the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.  http://www.ncis.org/   I don't know if they have a listserv, but it looks like some of their linked research groups do.

They use the H-Scholar list from H-Net (http://www.h-net.org/~scholar/), but it doesn't get a lot of traffic. I do know that NCIS is working on putting up some new features on their own website including members' pages and a chat forum similar to this one.
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secretweapon
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« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2009, 4:40:02 PM »

Okay,a question for you wise people.  If you are a totally independent scholar, what affiliation do you list when you attend a conference?  I am considering things like this for an international conference:

Secret Weapon
City, Country

Secret Weapon
Consultant, City, Country
[I use consultant in a vague sense - I have done paid research for non-academic groups before, and would do it again, so I figure that's consultancy].

Secret Weapon
Independent Scholar

That last one - eww.  I just can't do it.  I don't feel proud to be an independent scholar, although I do feel proud of my research.  What do you guys suggest?  What have you done?
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neutralname
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« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2009, 4:47:15 PM »

We have an independent scholar who has published many books with university presses.  He adjuncts at our school, the nearest community college, and occasionally at a nearby R1.  He lists his affiliation as either the R1 or the community college. 
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dellaroux
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« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2009, 4:48:13 PM »

If I'm adjuncting, I use the college du moment as my school of note (works for getting library permissions overseas, too).

If it's work that's related to one of the local institutions I am associated with, I note that somewhere (not always in my below-the-signature line, but sometimes).

Otherwise, when I was between degrees or positions--Independent Scholar, and proud of it!

And as one person told me, "Don't apologize for it, someone will think there's something wrong with it and that reflects on everyone else!"
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Pax in terra choreagibus
Ballo non bello parare

How am I?: There are four levels: Alive, Alert, Awake & Functioning. Right now, I'm standing upright & moving forward.

We are gifted superfluously--the cosmos is more generous than we can ask or imagine.
sikora
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And so it goes, onward and upward


« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2009, 6:06:21 PM »

I missed this thread!

I joined the NCIS.  Nice group, IF you have resources to do your work. They do offer some funding, but not a lot. I don't feel as though the organization can help me get back on my feet, but it will be helpful once I get something out there again.

I am also a member of the MISF, but the organization doesn't do a damn thing.  It used to have a relationship with UMN to get members access to the university library, but the university stopped allowing that.

Two issues I have:  1.  LIBRARIES. I don't have access to academic collections.  I have some people willing to get pdfs for me, and that is wonderful. But I am having trouble getting books.  ILL through the public libraries is not easy to use.  I approached a reference librarian in the central library here, and she was decidedly unhelpful (I got to wondering, how many "quacks" out to disprove the theory of relativity show up at the library calling themselves "independent scholars?")  Moreover, the fees for ILL are not cheap, and there's no renewal.

2.  Ethical review.  I am a social scientist, but I can't really work with human subjects without IRB review, unless I turn into a journalist.
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yellowtractor
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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2009, 6:17:59 PM »

Sikora, I am sympathetic.  During my time outside academia, I too joined the NCIS, hoping that it would lend me a measure of professional standing and also help me manage some of the more difficult areas of trying to keep up academically in a non-academic job and setting.  There was an active chapter in a city close to where I was then living.

My main problem was the one you describe, and the NCIS did nothing to help.  I mean LIBRARIES.  Access to books.  I was in a college/university-rich area, but up to that time the local NCIS chapter had negotiated no lending protocols with any of these institutions, for love or money.  To my thinking, as a humanist, this should have been--should be--their first priority.

End of my interest in NCIS, more or less.

Ultimately, I discovered that for $100/year, one of the larger state schools would allow any state resident to hold a library card.  I used this probably more than 70% of the graduate students enrolled at the school.  However, the "resident" library card allowed for only 30-day loans (renewable once) and no interlibrary loan.  As it happened this was a large state school and the collection was pretty good in my primary field.  But I did have to redirect my research energies quite a bit in order to work within the materials at hand.

Ultimately, library usage was one of three problems that drove me back into academia.  It's all very well and good to talk about continuing one's academic interests outside of the academy, but I found I couldn't, under the circumstances.
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sikora
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And so it goes, onward and upward


« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2009, 7:02:18 PM »

I took another look at the NCIS webpage, and found that my academic library options have increased!  Yeah!

80 bucks will get me into UMN's library.  I'm there next week!
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born2late
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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2009, 7:34:22 PM »

I like this thread already. With the job market the way it is, I might be forced into a "day job" or something like it around my hometown. The upside is that I would be right around the region I did my dissertation on. I can see myself taking on a regional role as a scholar, perhaps with adjuncting as well. I don't know what the future holds, but the very existence of this thread makes me feel a little better.
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dept_geek
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through a glass darkly....


« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2009, 7:38:16 PM »

B2L (and sikora, I think as well): Would the adjuncting help with library privs? I teach PT occasionally at a different school and they let all PT faculty use their library and ILL.

This may or may not apply in any case, but sometimes schools offer alumni privs for school services, including the library (and in some cases, some percentage off the going tuition rate)

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I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code.

Quote from: testingthewaters
When in doubt, add chocolate.
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