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zompist bboard • View topic - Linguistic publishing conventions

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:21 pm 
Avisaru
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I haven't been terribly active in conlanging and natural linguistics for the past few years and have been reading papers mostly in fields like physics, astronomy and statistics. Now when I've started to look a bit more into linguistic papers as well, I've started to wonder about the differences in the publishing cultures between natural sciences and linguistics.

At least in astronomy refereeing is pretty much everything and an unrefereed manuscript with no refereed counterpart will generally raise some suspicion of the reliability of its content. People also tend to regard papers published in journals that are known to have lighter refereeing not as highly as those published in the journals considered to be at the top. Correspondingly getting your own paper published typically requires you to appease your referee who won't very often be nice to your manuscript.

So how does this all work in linguistics? Are there perhaps differences between different fields of linguistics? There are also more works published as monographs or in paper collection edited into books in linguistics than in natural scienses. How much editing and peer review goes into these? A related question is how reliable do people consider work published only in dissertations. For PhD theses you certainly have a censor or two whose job it is to asses the quality of the work. But for master's theses the censors don't typically seem to have to be from outside your own department. You certainly can graduate without doing top research. For example at my own department (physics) master's theses are only really meant to be read by your supervisor and the censors and convince them that you've mastered the basics of your field. If the work is good enough, you will then write a refereed paper based on the science in the thesis and that will be the work you want people to read and cite.

I'd like to hear your thoughts if you've had experience with these matters. Basically I'd like to know how much can I assume there to be a filter against utter nonsense and how much does the quality of the work get assessed only after its publication.

EDIT: Fixed some late night grammar and typos.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:52 pm 
Avisaru
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No one with any experience on the subject? Pity, it would have been nice to compare the sociology of the two fields.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Most of us actually don't belong to the field or are too young to even possibly be there, and so don't know about these conventions... There's probably only two or three that are, and I guess they haven't seen your thread. (Not that they come often AFAIK).

You might have more luck on the . Try it.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:38 pm 
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If the question is "are there referees for linguistic journals", then yes, there are.

But I think you have to be more specific. If you look for a monograph on an obscure language, you might get a paper from a well-known linguist from a major univeristy-- or you might get something from an eccentrically trained SIL guy, or a typewritten textbook written by a native speaker, or the notes of some colonial officer from 1850. What kind of backup authority would you expect in each of these cases and how do you trust them to know about the language?

I'd expect it does depend on the field, too. A refereed article on syntax is not necessarily Absolut eTruth, because there is no consensus on the correct approach to syntax. Articles on comparative linguistics are probably safer, in that people agree on the methods (except for Greenberg)-- and yet language classifications are still a morass, because there's still so much basic work to be done that high-level groupings are almost all still controversial.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:49 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:52 pm 
Sanci
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I guess you have to be pretty well respected in the first place to get a book published? So if you've produced lots of good quality work before that's stood up to referees/editors' scrutiny then I guess you can expect the stuff in your book to be fairly reliable. But I'm only speculating.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:33 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:48 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:27 pm 
Avisaru
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All interesting reading and sounds very reasonable. In this sense there doesn't seem to be very much more differences between different academic fields than the preferred publishing method. Although a preference for conference papers sounds a bit unexpected. But maybe that's not too unexpected for a younger field.

Concerning the publication of PhD dissertations, I've got the idea that producing an internally published monograph out of your thesis work is by far the most common way to do it. On the other hand on my field in Finland that's pretty much unheard of and everyone produces three to five refereed papers that are then gathered into the dissertation. Is there any place where you know where linguistic dissertations would be done like this?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:58 pm 
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