When the American Anthropological Association announced that it would create an ‘open access’ ‘journal’, most people in the anthropology’s public sphere were skeptical. Now that it has launched, Open Anthropology turns out to be just as disappointing as everyone thought it would be. Remember the brand disaster’s of MySpace’s failed logo or UPS’s vaguely fecal “What Can Brown Do For You?” add campaign? Yeah, like that.
(I’ve been thinking about this issue for a while but recently talked about it with my colleagues in the anthro department here at UH Manoa who really added a lot, so thanks to them for that!)
When David Weinberger wrote that the Internet was “a world of first drafts”, he wasn’t specifically thinking about academic publishing, but he should have been. There is a paradox at the heart of how scholars (or at least anthropologists) communicate with each other: the more time and energy you spend trying to write something true and important, the less people will read it.
One of the questions that Matt Thompson and I had going into the surveys of adjuncts and past adjuncts was whether or not there is a window of opportunity for getting a tenure track job. In other words: is there some cutoff point where the likelihood of getting a tenure track job is greatly diminished? We don’t have a hard and fast answer — the surveys were too limited — but there’s some data to think about.
Of the 50 respondents to the post-adjuncting survey, 32 now hold tenure track positions. Of the 13 that provided answers to clarify what kinds of jobs they currently work in, most were in full-time research, consulting, or non-tenure track instuctorships. Of those same 50 respondents, the vast majority adjuncted as their principle means of income for four years or less (43); the other seven have all been adjuncting for six or more years, with two respondents doing so for 10 or more years. (Based on the data, it looks like the two long-term adjuncters are half of a two-income household, which might explain why they have continued to adjunct for so long.) When compared to the current adjuncts, the numbers are pretty similar. Of the 36 respondents who provided an answer to how long ago they received their Ph.D.s, most were in the five years or fewer category (31 of 36). The other five are all in the nine years or more category.
Taken together, it looks like the window of opportunity for getting a tenure track job is the first five years after the awarding of a Ph.D. Continue reading