Wiki Academia

The study provides some interesting findings regarding academics’ view of the benefits of Wikipedia-style peer review and publishing. Most respondents (77 percent) reported reading Wikipedia, and a rather high number (43 percent) reported having made at least one edit, with 15 percent having written an article. Interestingly, as many as four respondents stated that they were “credited for time spent reviewing Wikipedia articles related to their academic careers” in their professional workplaces. The more experience one had with Wikipedia, the more likely one would see advantages in the wiki publishing model. Most common advantages listed were cost reductions (40 percent), timely review (19 percent), post-publication corrections (52 percent), making articles available before validation (27 percent) and reaching a wider audience (8 percent). Disadvantages included questionable stability (86 percent), absence of integration with libraries and scholarly search engines (55 percent), lower quality (43 percent), less credibility (57 percent), less academic acceptance (78 percent) and less impact on academia (56 percent).

Survey of academics’ view on Wikipedia and open-access publishing,” Wikimedia Research Newsletter, Vol: 4 • Issue: 4 • April 2014

I’ve always thought that the only way for Wikipedia to build its credibility is for it to become a part of academic writing and research. I don’t think encyclopedias will ever replace peer-reviewed articles, but Wikipedia can only benefit if academic scholars are involved in the writing, reviewing and editing of articles. I wouldn’t want Wikipedia to be swallowed by academia; everyone should be able to contribute. I tell the teachers that I teach that the best way to understand Wikipedia, and develop a policy on it, is to participate.

Too many academics are suspicious, even openly hostile about the online encyclopedia. One professor I knew used to plant false information in Wikipedia and then ask students to research this information for homework. When they came back to class with his answer, he’d scold them for using Wikipedia. This is a professor, by the way, who sailed through tenure, despite his very open– even proud– advocacy of dishonesty towards students. The good news is that I don’t think his nasty little lesson would work anymore.

Right Irony

Americans are highly attuned to the abuse of government benefits. Yet the larger scandal is that people don’t use these benefits enough. Programs such as the earned-income tax credit, SNAP, child care subsidies and health insurance can pull people out of poverty. But only 5 percent of low-income families with children use all four of them. Of working people below the poverty level, one in four receives no support at all. A McKinsey analysis done for Single Stop estimated that $65 billion in government benefits for low-income families goes unclaimed every year.

For Striving Students, a Connection to Money” Tina Rosenburg

This might be one of those stories that an English teacher could use to teach irony. Or, rather, to show students that the richest forms of irony are like onions, you can peel away layer after layer after layer. Right wing ideology insists that the poor are poor only because they lack enterprise and that they are overly dependent wards of the state robbed of their agency by an over-reaching Nanny state. As it turns out, the welfare state is so oblique and confusing– that’s no accident– that billions of dollars go unclaimed. Single Stop sets up shop at places where they can reach the poor– in this case at the Borough of Manhattan Community College– and helps them figure out what sorts of aide they can get. A simple, smart idea.

Sellers Market

The condemnation of Nazareth, should this story turn out to be true, should be near universal. W did nothing wrong except attempt to negotiate in good faith. But obviously, she doesn’t know the world in which she’s found herself trapped. In academia, any sense of self-worth whatsoever is “overinflated.” The proper way to “negotiate” an academic offer is to counter with offers to do more work: I want to be a team player, so I can take on 10 new courses a semester, or more even. And I shall never be so unforgivably selfish as to procreate, unless you count my true babies—my publications!

That is what this job market requires. Anyone who isn’t willing to bend over is out. If you don’t like it, best of luck “finding a suitable position”—and make sure that you take, with utmost gratitude, whatever offer they deign to give you.

The Tenure Take-Back,” Rebecca Schuman,

This is a story about a teacher who tried to negotiate with Nazareth, when she was offered a job, and was told that her requests indicated,” an interest in teaching at a research university and not at a college, like ours, that is both teaching and student centered.” The job offer was withdrawn. I know it might be hard for many to believe, but I do. I know from personal experience that this is how far down the rabbit hole academia has gone. 65% of are contingent faculty; that means universities can do just about anything.

Low-Wage Workers Have Far More Education than They Did in 1968, Yet They Make Far Less

The minimum wage is 23 percent less than its peak inflation-adjusted value in 1968. This is despite productivity (how much output can be produced in an average hour of work in the economy) more than doubling in that time period. The low-wage workforce has surely contributed to this rise in economy-wide productivity, since as a group they have far more education now than they did then. For the workforce overall, 37 percent in 1968 had not completed high school (or received a GED), which was true for only 9 percent in 2012 (the latest year with comparable data). We can drill down to examine low-wage workers, which we are defining for this analysis as those earning in the bottom fifth of the wage distribution.

Low-Wage Workers Have Far More Education than They Did in 1968, Yet They Make Far Less,” Lawrence Mishel, January 23, 2014, Economic Policy Institute

As it turns out, unless you have policy people making sure that wages keep going up, policy people will make sure that they keep going down, even if you are more educated.