The Elephant Roundup (March 2022)

Yelena Kalinsky's picture

A monthly newsletter from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.

Academic Life in Wartime

  • Ani Kokobobo, War Is the Enemy of Education, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 7, 2022.

    • “There are close academic ties between Russia and Ukraine, and some of the loudest voices against the Kremlin’s war have been Russian academics. [...] Professional groups, including many groups of academics, have also spoken out against the war through open letters and social media. Since the new law, a number of these letters have either been removed or the identities of the signatories have been hidden. These words, these truths, matter, now more than ever.”

  • Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Roger C. Schonfeld, Decoupling from Russia, The Scholarly Kitchen, March 2, 2022.

    • “A new Cold War atmosphere took hold in Europe with shocking suddenness, accompanied by a hope that military conflict does not spread any further. Today, we discuss this decoupling in the contexts of research collaboration, scientific exchange, and scholarly communication.”

  • Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Have Chinese Spies Infiltrated American Campuses?, The New Yorker, March 14, 2022.

    • “The government had created a situation in which even a glancing scientific connection to China could be criminalized. In January, 2021, Lelling announced the indictment of Gang Chen, a beloved engineering professor at M.I.T., for disclosure violations, and was willing to say the quiet part out loud: ‘This was not just about greed but about loyalty to China.’ An F.B.I. agent noted, ‘We have now reached the point where the F.B.I. is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about every ten hours.’”


Open Access

  • Bernie Folan, Webinar – Business Models for Open Access Books: A Compendium, Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association, January 20, 2022.

    • “[...] a range of open access book presses from different countries around the world share their business model including: how it works, why it took the form it did, and the specific factors that shape and guide its ongoing development. [...] chaired by Lucy Barnes of Open Book Publishers, an independent, non-profit and scholar-led OA press based in the UK, [...] panelists, who represent several of the presses contributing to the collection: Francois van Schalkwyk who will present on African Minds, an open access, not-for-profit publisher based in South Africa; Beth Bouloukos will cover Lever Press, an open access press supported by more than 50 liberal arts institutions in the USA; Julien McHardy will speak about Mattering Press, a UK-registered charitable publisher of OA books; and Vincent W. J. van Gerven Oei will conclude on punctum books, an independent, OA, para-academic and queer-led press based in California.”


Peer Review

  • Robert Harington, Fraud and Peer Review: An Interview with Melinda Baldwin, The Scholarly Kitchen, March 24, 2022.

    • “But as a general rule I think peer review is not set up to detect fraud, and we shouldn’t be surprised when fabricated data makes it through a peer review process. Most scientists approach the peer review process with the basic assumption that the authors are being truthful when they describe their setup and results. If a referee starts with that collegial assumption of honesty, they’re probably not going to go through a paper’s data with a fine-tooth comb looking for clues that it might be falsified. [...] Generally speaking, when fraud is uncovered, it’s uncovered not by the peer review process, but after publication.”



  • Scott Carlson, ‘Libraries Are the Great Equalizers’ Librarians sound off on how their jobs and institutions are changing, The Chronicle of Higher Education, undated.

    • “[...] the library profession, much like the library itself, is undergoing profound change. As many of the activities of the library have moved online, the librarian has had to adapt to keep up with broader shifts in technology, society, and demographics, all of which have had profound implications for the people entering the profession and the skills and qualifications it requires. Only about a third of the people working in libraries even identify as librarians, according to the Association of College and Research Libraries.”

  • Lyta Gold, Art for the End Times: Save libraries, save the world, The Real News Podcast, 48:29, February 22, 2022.

    • “In the latest installment of Art for the End Times, Lyta speaks with [Emily] Drabinski about her campaign [for president of the American Library Association], the decades-long assault on libraries as a public good, and the internal struggle to make the library system a more just, equitable, and socially progressive institution.”

  • Meredith Farkas, The Distance Between Our Values and Actions: We Can’t Be Passive When it Comes to Privacy, OLA Quarterly 21, no. 1 (2022): Privacy and Confidentiality.

    • “The growth of digital collections, analytics, and social media has challenged our commitment to privacy. This is a result of both the complexity of the information environment as well as a desire to capitalize on new technologies and information sources to better understand our patrons, market ourselves, or demonstrate value. Many librarians are unaware of the extent to which their vendors violate the privacy of their patrons and lack the skills or access to understand what vendors are doing with patron data (Nichols Hess et al., 2015). In other libraries, neoliberal pressures from parent institutions have led libraries to adopt practices that are common among technology companies but not consonant with our stated values around privacy.”


The Writing Life

  • Marcus Rediker, Forty years of thinking about the craft of historical writing ought to be worth something, so here are the eight tips I gave over the last ten days…, Twitter thread, March 19, 2022.

    • “Writing tip no. 8: Three things scholars need to do to write for a broader audience. First, you have to want to.  (Most do not.) Second, you need to read gifted prose stylists and learn from them. Third, you must work hard at the art and craft of writing. It’s all pretty simple.”

  • Michelle Boyd, Enough, Already: Deciding to *Really* Finish the Manuscript,, March 9, 2022.

    • “We often think that finishing involves fixing everything that’s “wrong” with the current draft. It's that moment we’ll fill all the holes and eliminate all the weaknesses, so that no one can say anything to make us doubt ourselves. That’s where I was before I got my editor’s note: I felt that once I added, elaborated, modified, and expanded, the manuscript (and by extension, I) would finally be good enough.”

  • Sarah Buchmeier, Does Leaving University Mean Leaving Academe? We don’t suddenly stop being scholars because we need to pay bills, The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 28, 2022.

    • “Most would say that I left academe, but I disagree. In fact, my experience has shown me that how we define academic work, especially in the humanities, is badly outdated. We need to reframe the community of academics as a kind of diaspora, a community scattered professionally but united in the work of the humanities.”

  • Amelia Glaser and Yuliya Ilchuk, trans., “I pretend death doesn’t exist.” New Poetry From Ukraine by Iryna Shuvalova, Literary Hub, March 24, 2022.

    • “Being a Ukrainian abroad and being a Ukrainian at home today represent two different kinds of pain. Iryna Shuvalova, a Ukrainian poet and literature scholar, traveled from her native Kyiv to China, where she works as a college counselor, as tanks began to appear on Ukraine’s borders. [...] Whereas most of the Ukrainian poems in our earlier Lit Hub installments were written during the first eight years of the Donbass war, we are sharing a cycle by Shuvalova, written far away from the bombing, in Nanjing, China, following the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.”

ICYMI on the Elephant

If you have a link we should include in a future newsletter, please reply to this post, email us, or tag us on Twitter @HNetBookChannel