To edit or not to edit? Why is editing academic collections not recognised in the Humanities?

Australasian Association of Writing Programs
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Journal Article
TEXT JOURNAL OF WRITING AND WRITING COURSES, 2018, Climates of Change, (Special Issue 51)
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Edited academic books garner neither research metric nor institutional praise, compared to peer reviewed journal articles or monographs. For the editor, there seems no reason to undertake such volumes. But we still do them; we still edit or co-edit them. Louise Edwards claims there are many good reasons why academics persist in editing (and reading) this type of academic output, her prime one being that they ‘meet a series of distinct intellectual and community needs’ (Edwards 2012: 62). This paper brings together two academics who have both contributed to and edited or co-edited such volumes. The scope of the paper is their experiences in editing and co-editing, in order to open up a discussion about the worth of such volumes: why, despite the university’s reluctance to recognise them as either creative or research outputs, academics continue to regard editing as a meaningful scholarly pursuit; and importantly, as we clearly do value these undertakings, how can institutional attitudes to their merit be changed? The co-authors have their own personal ethos and experiences about editing and co-editing these texts and will discuss both. This paper stems from a panel at the 2017 AAWP conference. The panel was an open dialogue with the audience, facilitated by a collegial interlocutor, Dr Carolyn Rickett, herself a co-editor of books.
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