Another thought on week 10

As an aside to my other post on this week’s blogging question: I worry about the psychological impact of the expectation that the research process will be made public along with the final product. I think that there is something private about process work which deserves respect. The magic of note taking and rough drafts is in their presumed personal and ephemeral nature. That they are disposable is exactly what is so liberating. I find I am more creative and take more intellectual risks in my process work than I ever can with something that is public from the start. Even though the process work of historical figures can be rich and rewarding – when considering the research going on right now, we need to weigh the potentially smothering anxiety that comes with producing something under the expectation public scrutiny. There are things which I deliberately do not back up on my computer, because psychologically, I need them to be temporary.

If I had to make my research materials public, I know that whatever I made available would be heavily edited and weeded. In the end, would that still serve the same purpose for future researchers as do the kinds of archived process materials (i.e. Bell’s notebooks) that Alan Galey is talking about in his blog post?

(For the record I’d like to add that I take no issue whatsoever with planning to make one’s raw data public – that’s just polite!)

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Another thought on week 10

  1. Hey Anna,

    You brought up a point about self censorship which I had not considered with regards to having works become public. I wonder, if the work were to be made public but you, the creator, were to remain anonymous would you still edit the information?
    (disregarding politeness – assuming we are forgoing the ethics of having other peoples information released and your involvement remaining secret)

    • annastandish

      Hm… I don’t know if anonymity would be possible – depending on the kind of process work we’re talking about – if it’s supportive material for something that has been published, then figuring out the connection would probably be child’s play.
      But even if it could be published anonymously somehow, I for one wouldn’t be able to get the fact that it *will* be made public out of my mind. I’m most worried about the psychological effect of intending to publish something that’s supposed to be process work – and wasting time trying to make it fit for public consumption. I don’t know whether or not the veil of anonymity would be enough to combat that.

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