Thursday, October 30, 2008

Paper discussion form

I am following the group "visual culture", and even if I didn't have access to the papers originally, I get a very good idea about the quality and issues of the papers presented here. This conference has always used a lot of time on each paper, and also a lot of resources, as each paper has its own opponent. The writer gets 10 minutes to introduce the paper, then the opponent has 10 minutes to present his/her views, and then it's 10 minutes for free discussion.

I love the way this group takes the job of opposing the papers very seriously, something which leads to a very high quality in the arguments. I think this is my favourite conference form. It makes for very stable groups and not much cross-visiting between tracks, but at the same time each person presenting papers get good peer feedback. This way presenting a paper here isn't a way to get more publications, but it's a step towards publishing in other media, books or journals, as the papers get a thorough peer-reviewing during the conference.

3 comments: said...

Are papers also refereed? And how rigorous is the reviewing?

Also: what are the best criterion for choosing the opponent? Should the opponent be more senior than the presenter? Is it desirable, or undesirable, so select an opponent who is a professional rival of the presenter?

Torill said...

No, they are not referred, and the reviewing is not particularly rigorous. This conference is inclusive rather than exclusive. At the same time this means that the first meetign with the conference can be pretty harsh, because if you have written a bad paper, you'll be told so in public and not gently refused in advance.

The best criteria for choosing the opponent depends on the intimate knowledge of the background for all the members in each group - which is at the same time a track. The opponent is not more senior, to be opponent to an article by somebody more senior than you is a very interesting challenge. And professional rivalry is not unheard of. The openness of the process and the fact that this is all public ensures that attempts at cutting down professional rivals from the position of paper opponent quickly backfires.

Pattie Belle said...

We are showing your blog in class right now! ;) ;)