[Air-L] Let's talk about AoIR

Ted Coopman ted.coopman at gmail.com
Wed Jun 5 16:56:08 PDT 2013


I had not checked in for a while due to being annoyed at the review
process. I had never been totally shut-out before so disappointed. I would
agree that the abstract length has become problematic and at this length
creates unreasonable expectations by some reviewers.

I reviewed 13 papers and panels for IR14 and have reviewed in the past so
am familiar with the process. I also served on the exec twice so am
sympathetic to the logistics of it all (it NEVER really works as intended).
I also know the hell of program planning, so I have EXTREME empathy and
respect for this year's crew. Everyone, it is a Sisyphean task where you
are the mercy of volunteer academics! Not to mention the demands of your
day job. So please take this critique with love and respect.

I do have two specific issues with the process dealing with my own

Explaining and contextualizing a fairly new theory and then applying it to
a case takes time and space. I am somewhat an ace at the abstract format
after years of practice. I found the reviewers expectations on what should
have included (wanting more detail) to be unreasonable. An abstract is just
that and you can't expect a full treatment of a complex topic with theory
development to include the same amount of detail as a full paper and this
seems to be the expectation. But, hey, those are the breaks. Although for
the record, "merely descriptive" is not an appropriate comment and displays
a certain epistemological narrowness.

My big gripe is the mere two reviews on a roundtable with the major
complaints it was too broad and needed a narrower focus and the discussion
on the future of higher education was "to generic" to draw (in her/his
opinion) an audience or interest. This despite similar highly attended
related discussions in the past and the fact that it is the only thing that
actually impacts everyone who happens to work in higher ed. We did get
points for the high level of expertise (I would add a good mix of gender,
geography, and public/private sector experience). So, exactly what is the
purpose of a roundtable?

At the very least, if you can only get two reviews on a submission, that
would seem to warrant a look by the program planner or their agent to make
a final call.


On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 3:58 PM, Magdalena O! <m_olszan at live.concordia.ca>wrote:

> My apologies for being late but I wanted to take in all the lucid and
> cogent comments first.
> I am grateful this discussion was started because when I received my
> rejection I was quite frustrated. This was not because my co-author and I
> were rejected but because the first two reviewers commented on similar
> strengths and weaknesses, and the third reviewer interrogated our "short
> paper" line by line (often with snide and passive aggressive remarks), but
> did not get the point the paper was trying to make. This third reviewer
> also scored us over 40 points less than the others.
> This then made me wonder whether there is an accountability to reviewer
> management? I've never encountered such a review of my work before (whether
> for a conference or publication).
> There were many points made in regard to this topic about wanting to
> encourage speculative and experimental work that showcases rigour but
> cannot be confined to "data findings" and "sample methods" etc. Our paper
> was heavily theoretical and trying to push the discourse of Internet
> Studies in fairly speculative ways that still had a clear object of
> inquiry. We may have failed at this, but a snide line by line commentary is
> not helpful to us, especially as young PhD scholars.
> I'm very much on board with Terri's creative writing workshop that she
> proposed at the end of her keynote last year because some of us definitely
> struggle with academic writing. Alas I won't be going to Denver but
> hopefully there will be another opportunity because writing skills are
> *not* taught at the graduate level and this doesn't make sense to me.
> Magda
> Magdalena Olszanowski, PhD Student
> HASTAC Scholar
> Communication Studies
> Concordia University
> Montreal, QC
> On 2013-05-31, at 6:00 PM, air-l-request at listserv.aoir.org<mailto:
> air-l-request at listserv.aoir.org> wrote:
> Re: Let's talk about AoIR.
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Ted M. Coopman Ph.D.
Department of Communication Studies
San Jose State University

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