Tuesday, December 27, 2011

published

How is this for a belated Christmas present: I have just learned that the paper I presented at the 2009 SBL International Meeting (prepub PDF) has been published by Peter Lang in the proceedings volume from the session titled The Canon of the Bible and the Apocrypha in the Churches of the East (full bibliographical info below).


Hovhanessian, Vahan S. (ed.):
The Canon of the Bible and the Apocrypha in the Churches of the East
Series: Bible in the Christian Orthodox Tradition - Volume 2
Peter Lang Academic Publishers
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. VIII, 113 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4331-1035-1 hb.
 As a budding (if not young) academic, I guess I should be proud, but truth be told, I'm not. On one hand, I'm somewhat surprised that besides from submitting the manuscript, I had no input in the editing process, which would have enabled me to correct some serious translation errors. On the other, had I had some say in the publishing process, I might have withdrawn the paper from publication completely. As I found out only a few weeks ago, the Arabic text which I thought I had rediscovered had already been published in a critical edition (Testamentum Salomonis arabicum, Córdoba: Servicio de Publicaciones Universidad de Córdoba, 2006) by Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, who is a much more competent scholar than I am. Now true, I did make a few connections he did not plus it's the first time the subject has been presented to the English-reading public, so the paper is not a complete waste of cellulose, but then again, I did make a few horrible translation errors which shall now forever live in print and on Google Books and then there's the total embarassment of the whole thing. I wonder if that's ever happened to anyone else and how they dealt with it.
And the worst part is that this seems to be a constant theme accompanying my academic endeavors - every time I invest time, energy and money into a project that seems worthvile, just as a tangible result is about to be produced, I find that someone, somewhere has already done it, only better. Used to be one of those long dead Russian motherfuckers (and they still remain the most likely suspects), now it's just about everybody. This happens three or four times and you start seriously doubting if you have what it takes to, well, make a contribution and if you and the world at large would not be better off if you just packed it in, called it a day and went off to harvest jam in Cambodia* or build power plants in Yakutia**.

* The Slovak equivalent of being up shit creek without a paddle.
** A real option available to me.

17 comments:

John Cowan said...

"In the future, perhaps, someone proposing a doctoral thesis, let us say on the Adonis myth in Milton or metaphors of nature in Milton or colour imagery in Tennyson, would look to see whether it had already been done, and discover that there were in existence 9,842 theses on precisely that topic, of which 7,235 were in Japanese. The department would nod its collective head and remark that any thesis that had been written as often as that must be an excellent one. The thesis would add nothing to knowledge, but nobody would read it anyway, and if there were something in it that could conceivably be used it could be made available by other means. So the crazy chain of thesis, thesis rewritten as book, book published, book bought by libraries, book added to an already groaning bibliography, would be broken." —Northrop Frye, "Literary and Mechanical Models"

I take it that Frye's point was that such contributions to knowledge are primarily contributions to one's own knowledge, and as such by no means to be scorned, and never mind the long-dead Russians qui ante nos nostra dixerunt. Indeed he mentions the importance of learning languages, which are certainly not "productive" in the factory sense, but which make quite a difference to one's education.

As for errors, publish the corrections here. Dr. Google and his numerous colleagues will take note of them all the same.

David Marjanović said...

besides from submitting the manuscript, I had no input in the editing process

WTF.

a project that seems worthvile

One of the best Freudian typos I've ever seen.

Used to be one of those long dead Russian motherfuckers (and they still remain the most likely suspects)

In the anatomy of extant animals, it's practically always a German who did it in the early 20th century.

A real option available to me.

Huh. Do tell!

The thesis would add nothing to knowledge, but nobody would read it anyway

I avoided this by publishing my thesis "in real time". 4 chapters came out before I defended the thesis, the appendix came out shortly before, another chapter is in review, and I'm working on the remaining one.

As for novelty, that's easy in paleobiology – there are always new fossils that (if nothing else) influence the big picture.

As for errors, publish the corrections here. Dr. Google and his numerous colleagues will take note of them all the same.

Seconded!

bulbul said...

John,
that's an excellent point. I did, however, set out to make a contribution not just to my own knowledge, but also to knowledge in general. In that respect, fail, if only a partial one. And, as noted above, this seems to happen a lot.

As for errors, publish the corrections here.
Will definitely do so.

David,
WTF.
That was indeed my first reaction upon learning of the finished book.

Huh. Do tell!
Well, I know this guy...

As for novelty, that's easy in paleobiology
Paleobiology, eh? Any math involved?

Anonymous said...

To quote Robert Merton: "Anticipatory plagiarism occurs when someone steals your original idea and publishes it a hundred years before you were born".

mark said...

I had a somewhat similar experience in publishing with John Benjamins. I did get to copyedit proofs, but when I received the final version I discovered that many of my corrections were not actually taken up.

I contacted John Benjamins with the corrections and they very helpfully agreed to make the changes in the digital versions. So while there are printed books out there with some stupid mistakes which are not even due to myself, all ebook versions as well as the preview on Google Books have been corrected. (And who reads the printed books anyway?)

I would say it's worth a try. If Peter Lang does ebooks it is also to their advantage to correct sloppy errors.

Adrian said...

Your question "I wonder if that's ever happened to anyone else." made me laugh.

polyglot said...

Don't let self-doubt kill you.

Who cares if some "dead Russian motherfucker" already did it, the world will be a richer place with your contribution.

A fresh perspective, different point of view, details missed by the other guy, ... I guess, what I'm trying to say is ... fuck the world and dead motherfuckers, pursue your interests and publish your findings.

David Marjanović said...

worthvile

...and then I noticed I was about to repeat the comment I had already written almost a year ago. I had completely forgotten. Head, meet desk. X-)

I avoided this by publishing my thesis "in real time". 4 chapters came out before I defended the thesis, the appendix came out shortly before, another chapter is in review, and I'm working on the remaining one.

The chapter that was in review was accepted long ago, but we're supposed to get the page proofs next month; publication is anticipated for March. *sigh* I'm still working on the remaining chapter, but an end is in sight.

Paleobiology, eh? Any math involved?

Yes, why? It's fairly simple, though, and the one big mistake was caught in peer review.

Finally, to answer your original question: I've been wrong in print; I'll simply publish an update, showing how new discoveries (plus the corrections of my mistakes) hardly affect my conclusions. :-) Of course, given the fact that my field almost exclusively publishes in journals (with an impact factor) rather than books, that's probably easier than for you.

Unknown said...

replica rolex
toms shoes
michael kors outlet
michael kors handbags clearance
louis vuitton sacs
broncos jerseys
louis vuitton pas cher
ugg outlet clearance
fitflops sale clearance
yeezy boost 350

chenmeinv0 said...

the north face
louis vuitton canada
chaussures ugg
gucci outlet online
kate spade
cheap oakley sunglasses
pandora jewelry
polo ralph lauren
the north face jackets
christian louboutin pas cher
hzx20170119

xidong said...

Coach Factory Outlet
Michael Kors Outlet
polo ralph lauren outlet
Polo Ralph Lauren
yeezy boost
Christian Louboutin Outlet
adidas nmd shoes
Christian Louboutin Shoes
true religion jeans
true religion outlet

花无缺 said...

20170329 junda
hermes birkin
ralph lauren uk
ray ban sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses
ralph lauren polo
cheap oakley sunglasses
futbol baratas
fitflops
true religion jeans
michael kors outlet online

Meiqing Xu said...

fitflops
coach outlet
adidas shoes
coach factory outlet
nike tn
mulberry outlet
coach factory outlet
rolex replica watches
longchamp bags
michael kors outlet
20170402caiyan

Unknown said...

seahawks jersey
boston celtics
packers jerseys
coach factory outlet
gucci sale
los angeles clippers jerseys
ray ban sunglasses
hollister
coach outlet online
cheap ray bans

GIL BERT said...

sac longchamp
cheap nfl jerseys wholesale
christian louboutin outlet
replica rolex
polo ralph lauren
ray ban sunglasses
texans jerseys
carolina jerseys
cheap ray bans
nike blazer low

raybanoutlet001 said...

oakley sunglasses
jordan 8
ugg boots
mont blanc outlet
ugg boots
ugg boots
gucci shoes
reebok shoes
ugg outlet
jordan shoes

happy 123 said...

prada glasses
adidas nmd
air yeezy
vibram fivefingers
jordan retro
adidas outlet online
roshe run
nike huarache
yeezys
nike dunks shoes
20170722