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David Durling wrote:
> Maybe a little creativity needs to be brought to the problem of giving 
> PhD students the chance to experience disseminating their work. For 
> this there many media types, as I suggested in an earlier post. Of 
> course, not all are adequately peer reviewed, but then we could work 
> on that by introducing more rigorous processes.
I am quite amused that we started this discussion with the question of 
how students might improve their ability to publish via conferences (we 
have not even begun to deal with that) and we seem to be worrying 
instead about the number of top quality journals that students might 
publish in. As David says, very few students will be able to meet the 
refereeing standards of any serious journal in what we might call very 
loosely the humane sciences. (I'm making that distinction because I feel 
that some branches of the natural sciences have a very different model 
of knowledge accretion)

Meanwhile conferences provide an almost perfect arena for students to 
learn their trade. They have a higher chance of acceptance and tentative 
or interim findings are likely to be acceptable, they get to meet their 
community, see their peers in action and have real immediate feedback on 
their work and they have their first foot on the publishing ladder with 
papers that are citable and accessible. In some subject communities a 
paper in a leading conference may be as good for your standing as a 
journal paper and journal editors will often attend conferences to spot 
new talent.

All the other issues - national or institutional accreditation, 
reassuring the examiners or whatever are serious problems but crude 
measures are no substitute for informed judgement (in Britain we know 
about that as we have a government who take delight in crude measures, 
luckily research has been spared them so far).

I asked my original question about how students can approach this 
problem in the spirit of strengthening the resources that we have. We 
can do something now about the guidance and ideas that students receive, 
we cannot magically create new top-flight journals or change 
institutional policy no matter how much fun it may be to debate such 
matters.

best wishes
Chris

*********************
Professor Chris Rust
Head of Art and Design Research Centre
Sheffield Hallam University, S11 8UZ, UK
+44 114 225 2706
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www.chrisrust.net

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the 
future of the human race. - H. G. Wells