I struck a deal with my PhD supervisor today. After being told in no uncertain terms that I was never to publish any of my thoughts or work for free on the internet in my induction, I had a small altercation with person running it – because my work is so closely tied to examining open processes and wiki ethics in the arts, and my personal politics are more of the idealistic, free and open for all persuasion – I thought it was important to keep my research open, or otherwise risk horrible hypocrisy.
However, the fact remains is that the university is paying for me to generate original research on their behalf, it’s not useful for me to be a liability, and I do value the opportunity to get paid to do something I love and care about with as many fibres of my being that aren’t already taken up with friends, family, and political activism. So I thought finding a nice, sensible, but still open middle ground was a good idea.
Here’s what we worked out:
- – I’m fine to carry on blogging and posting quotes, thoughts, breakthroughs, snippets, points of interest the whole way through.
- – I’m also fine to blog large chunks of my first year which is mainly exploratory – and so much not the deep, critical and original thinking of the final 2 years. (I will soon be popping up a blog post of my first 1/3 of this year’s work).
- – When it does get to that thicker stage of thinking then it’s useful to release extracts, talking points, struggles and particular sticking points, anything up to about 800 words is fine.
- – Then I make the decision of whether I want to play the game of academia (write a book), try and redefine the rules (work on making ebooks and web-published, open stuff just as important as writing a book), or go in an entirely different direction (and just release the material as is and run off into the sunset with my arms flailing)
So that’s where we are. I think that’s pretty fair to the uni, myself, and my principles, and much further on than the ‘say nothing to no one’ approach demanded at my induction. But what do you think? Do you think that’s too much? Too little? Do you even care? Well, you read this far so I imagine you do a bit. Or you’re really bored. Go and do something useful. Or comment.