When is a Hashtag a Journal Article? by Charlotte Frost
Posted by Charlotte Frost

hashtag in a squareRight that’s it, I’ve done it, I’ve gone and put my money where my mouth is. Or rather, I’ve put my open access politics where my REFables should be.

I’ve written a journal article on the nature of art historical knowledge and its philosophical relationship to its physical archives. But rather than present that article all nicely peer-reviewed and in a high impact journal, I’m publishing it free online and inviting anyone and everyone to peer review it – publicly. I wanted my first full-length academic journal article to be in line with the online areas of art history that I research, where art and art history are freely shared. Because I am interested in the on- and offline networks that create and support our ideas about art, I wanted other people’s opinions to be integral to the piece. And as I run an academic book series that experiments with the relations between the form and content of art history books, I wanted to dig my own publishing sandpit (or rather, extend the one I already built when created PhD2Published).

As it’s not enough that I’ve gone all open access on art history’s ass, I also wanted to consider – along with the media-aware ideas in my article – what post-digital art history might be. Partly this is reflected in the fact the article is not print-published but it is also reflected in my decision to work with media artist Rob Myers to manifest what might be best described as a physical version of the article. Embedded within the text itself are links to a project where you can order your own version of a 3D printed hashtag of the phrase ‘art history’. This draws attention the fact all art historical writing takes some sort of physical form – whether it’s printed words on pages or tweeted hashtags on Twitter – and re-enforces my argument that art historians need to better understand our own media. It also allows the article to generate a number of new research objects. That is, as #arthistory is interacted with beyond the space of the article itself, it can become new things – crowdsourced things – which also (if not quite directly) support the article’s theories about the value placed on participative modes in online art contextual activity.

So here’s what happens. To read the article itself you can go here: http://www.gylphi.co.uk/artsfuturebook/

Or if that’s too long winded, you can also get the gist of the #arthistory component here: http://hasharthistory.net/

Ideally you’ll then either offer your peer review comments on the article and or you’ll purchase your own hashtag and start sharing photographs of it in use.

And then let’s all meet back here or on Twitter (I’m @charlottefrost) and discuss what we think of this as a project. Does it represent a step in the right direction for open access scholarship, the digital humanities and new forms of publication and research, or does it try to do too much at once? Does the theory at the heart of the article suffer due to the playfulness of the #arthistory project? Should such projects be evaluated and if so, how?

Charlotte Frost. Posted by Charlotte Frost

Art & technology broadcaster/academic & glamour puss. Founder of Arts Future Book & PhD2Published.com. Provost International Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

2 Comments Posted in Social Media
Tagged , , , ,

2 Comments

  1. Bearing in mind the typically transient nature of websites, how is this article best archived and cited? One now-overcome problem with OA is having canonical, universal references for articles (such as DOI, which is non-free). Putting them up on a website is great for availability in the short term but rarely works as a long term solution. Will you have the same URL structure 20 years from now, for example, or will readers of works that reference your article be one day unable to reach what you have written – effectively rendering it lost forever?

  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I am bit slow replying because I *actually* dropped offline for a while there!

    You make an important point and one I haven’t addressed properly in this project – so far – because it has been an experiment. On the one hand I was excited by the idea that the work was a little out of my control (the images in particular, but also the way it is commented on and shared) so I wasn’t concerned with it’s preservation so much as it’s germination and or mutation. I just wanted to see what happened to it. That said, I have had a further phase of the project planned from the start which involves taking on board all the feedback, rewriting the article itself and submitting it to an established journal. I don’t want to contradict my aims for openness so much as continue to convert the project into different formats and notice what happens each time. James Elkins, one of the people who has publicly peer-reviewed the project, has questioned why I didn’t make a video. Well, I still might. So there could be many (some lasting, some less so) forms it could take. Will that make it easy to cite – if indeed I ever get lucky enough to have it cited – no, probably not, but I’m happy to wait and see how that turns out.

Leave a Reply

What is 6 + 3 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

Using Gravatars in the comments - get your own and be recognized!

XHTML: These are some of the tags you can use: <a href=""> <b> <blockquote> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>