25 de julio de 2016

The Future of Scholarly Knowledge: Principles, Pressures and Prospects - 35th Social Research conference

Type: Conference
Date: October 13, 2016 to October 14, 2016
Location: New York, United States
Subject Fields: Intellectual History, Literature, Research and Methodology, Social Sciences, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

In the mid-20th century when pure science needed no defense, the Ivory Tower metaphor celebrated the university as a site protected from political interference, commercial pressures and short-term problem solving.  The scholarly knowledge generated there, and at similar institutions and academies, depended heavily on public funding, private philanthropy, and university donors.

Today, Webster tells us, the Ivory Tower is “an impractical often escapist attitude marked by aloof lack of concern with or interest in practical matters or urgent problems... where people make and discuss theories about problems...without having any experience with those problems.”

This change can be seen in the decades following WW II.  America’s public trust of research universities was shaped in part by the productive role of science in the war effort.  Faculty moved in great numbers to federal labs and government agencies, where they demonstrated that they could produce, from weapons to social intelligence, and that they placed public good over private gain, recognized and rewarded quality, and policed mal-practice, such as conflicts-of-interest or fraud.  This public trust has eroded.  When acceptance of the need for academic freedom and scholarly autonomy recedes, an accountability regime emerges – increasingly attached to performance metrics. 

If universities claim beneficial consequences as justification for government funds, why shouldn’t they be asked for evidence of these consequences?  If we urge evidence-based policy -- why not, then, evidence-based accountability using cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the NSF, NIH, NEA, or NEH merit taxpayer funds?

Are we at the edge of a slippery slope on which the production of scholarly knowledge will be shaped by the demand for metric-based accountability?

Join us October 13th and 14th and our panels of experts discussing what the future holds for scholarly knowledge.

This conference is made possible by the generous support from Sage Publications to the Future of Scholarly Knowledge Project.
Contact Info: 
The Center for Public Scholarship