by Nima Badiey
I really wasn’t planning to post twice today, or even once frankly, but on the back of my previous post I couldn’t resist. I’m also a terrible academic.
On paper I’m not. I publish stuff and go to conferences and all the proper things. But in terms of how I think and what I value, I’m a bad academic. I do and think a lot of naughty stuff. Like write this blog, for instance.
Here’s the bottom line. What I care about is people doing awesome stuff and telling people about it. Trailing cool new ways to teach? Awesome. Fiddling with soil or chemicals or genes to work out a better way to do things? Awesome. Working out what a 17th century writer or painter was on about? Awesome. But truly, I care not two hoots about the methodology you used to get there. I don’t care if your work is peer-reviewed or considered ‘rigorous’ or published in whatever journal. I don’t care how big your grant was or how hard it was to get. Obviously if you are a scam artist or doing stuff that’s spurious or inethical I’m not going to respect your work, but generally, I just don’t value any of the traditional measures of ‘good research’. I value action and brilliant thinking and creativity, and I value communicating this in immediate and engaging ways.
Here’s some other things I don’t care about. APA. Frameworks. Proper academic language. Word counts. Jargon. Publishing records. Journal rankings. Impact factors. And significantly, people who have built expensive keynoting careers on all of the above without ever actually doing anything awesome at all. We have created this epic monolith of quantifying and accountability measures for an art that is completely subjective and it’s nuts. These measures have resulted in a culture of meeting them at whatever cost and it obscures the fundamental point of what we’re trying to do – do awesome stuff and tell people about it.
So yeah. I’m a bad academic. I write things like ‘so yeah’ and write posts about having no respect for the traditional systems of academia. I tell people they should use Spongebob Squarepants memes in their theses and stop writing papers. And I think there should be more of it. We need more bad academics. We need people to question this stuff and start sneaking some crazy into this system of ours. If enough of us get out our inner nutter we might eventually get to a system where we value what counts in research, rather than counting the value.
PS I hope you have noticed I have started to use pictures. I used to also not care about pictures but I’m trying :).