Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy

Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy

by Kathleen Fitzpatrick


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Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy by Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Choice's Outstanding Academic Title list for 2013

Academic institutions are facing a crisis in scholarly publishing at multiple levels: presses are stressed as never before, library budgets are squeezed, faculty are having difficulty publishing their work, and promotion and tenure committees are facing a range of new ways of working without a clear sense of how to understand and evaluate them.

Planned Obsolescence is both a provocation to think more broadly about the academy’s future and an argument for reconceiving that future in more communally-oriented ways. Facing these issues head-on, Kathleen Fitzpatrick focuses on the technological changes—especially greater utilization of internet publication technologies, including digital archives, social networking tools, and multimedia—necessary to allow academic publishing to thrive into the future. But she goes further, insisting that the key issues that must be addressed are social and institutional in origin.

Springing from original research as well as Fitzpatrick’s own hands-on experiments in new modes of scholarly communication through MediaCommons, the digital scholarly network she co-founded, Planned Obsolescence explores these aspects of scholarly work, as well as issues surrounding the preservation of digital scholarship and the place of publishing within the structure of the contemporary university. Written in an approachable style designed to bring administrators and scholars into a conversation, Planned Obsolescence explores both symptom and cure to ensure that scholarly communication will remain relevant in the digital future.

Check out the author's website here.

For more information on MediaCommons, click here.

Listen to an interview with the author on The Critical Lede podcast here.

Related Articles:

"Do 'the Risky Thing' in Digital Humanities" - Chronicle of Higher Education

"Academic Publishing and Zombies" - Inside Higher Ed

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814727881
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 11/01/2011
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Kathleen Fitzpatrick is Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College and founding editor of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons. She is the author of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television and has blogged at Planned Obsolescence since 2002.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Obsolescence
1 Peer Review
Traditional Peer Review and Its Defenses
The History of Peer Review
The Future of Peer Review
The Reputation Economy
Community-Based Filtering
MediaCommons and Peer-to-Peer Review
Credentialing, Revisited
2 Authorship
The Rise of the Author
The Death of the Author
From Product to Process
From Individual to Collaborative
From Originality to Remix
From Intellectual Property to the Gift Economy
From Text to . . . Something More
3 Texts
Documents, E-books, Pages
Database-Driven Scholarship
Reading and the Communications Circuit
4 Preservation
5 The University
Publishing, Not for Profit
New Collaborations
Publishing and the University Mission
The History of the University Press
The Press as University Publisher
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Fitzpatrick's Planned Obsolescence —its title a sardonic speculation on the future of the printed book — considers how academic publishing might best resolve this challenging dilemma. As co-founder of the digital scholarly network MediaCommmons, Fitzpatrick — who lectures in Media Studies at Pomona College in California — is well placed to observe the development of digital culture in academia."-The Los Angeles Review of Books ,

"At a time of great uncertainty about the future of the humanities, this informed and stimulating book buzzes with excitement for the opportunities that digital technology can offer to humanities researchers...Planned Obsolescence is a wonderfully clear and honest assessment of the present state of academic publishing and possible future directions. The digital age offers us a chance to exit the ivory tower and engage in more meaningful collaborations with peers and a more inclusive dialogue with readers. Fitzpatrick's study is a must-read, not just for all of those directly involved - academics, publishers, university administrators, librarians - but also for anybody interested in the future of the humanities."-Alessandra Tosi,Times Higher Education

"Fitzpatrick is well qualified to discuss alternate forms of publishing and unexpected futures for the academy...Chapters titled 'Peer Review,' 'Authorship,' 'Texts,' 'Preservation,' and 'The University' methodically dismantle arguments for the status quo, with sections debating accepted beliefs and practices such as the anonymous basis of peer review; recognizable, individual authorship; for-profit university presses; and the rejection of open access as a tenable scholarly publishing model."-Library Journal,

"The narrative arc of Planned Obsolescence is tight, coherent, eloquent—propulsively staking its territory from micro to macro, personal to global."-Neil Baldwin,Creative Research Center at Montclair State University: Director's Blog

"[A] desire for pre-eminence, authority and disciplinary power — is what blogs and the digital humanities stand against. The point is made concisely by Kathleen Fitzpatrick in her new book, Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy."-New York Times - Opinionator Blog

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