Interesting piece in this week’s Times Higher Education. I certainly use a range of sources in my writing, but then my recent book Raising Children in a Digital Age does not count for the REF, as it’s aimed at a ‘general readership’ (which does at least mean it gets read by 1000s of people, rather than the average of 3!)
A student is researching scholarly material for her essay. She finds an excellent quote. It ticks all the boxes: original and insightful, persuasively argued, provocative, with just enough holes for a good forensic analysis to expose any weaknesses. There’s one problem, however. It does not come from an academic paper. It comes from a blog written by an obscure amateur. It has, technically speaking, no academic credibility.
By convention, students – and academics – are supposed only to engage in critical discussion with “academically credible” sources. What, then, is the student to do? Pretend this precious nugget doesn’t exist? A terrible waste. Plagiarise it (after all, who’s to know)? Downright unethical.
Perhaps, I considered, women simply prefer to devote their energy to research and teaching.