Becoming The Machine?

Year: 2015

Author: Loch, Sarah

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper finds me in multiple positions with-in-along-outside the academicpublishingmachine as I consider what drives the bundle of nuts, screws, wires and cogs as they pick up speed and begin to whir. Thinking quickly, as part of me is well entangled in the machine, I express the intense imperative felt as an early career researcher to ‘become published’, ‘to get my name out there’ and ‘to get runs on the board’ - in the right journals and places that ‘count’- and the confusion experienced when ‘my submission’ (my submission to the machine?) is ‘rejected’, requiring me, if given that chance, to ‘make changes’ (to who I am, for another’s agenda, to my understanding of what counts?) Artefacts of my alignment to the academicpublishingmachine now litter my inbox: research plans, grant writing workshops, research mentor scheme, getting published workshops, managing online profile workshops, for your information, apologies for cross posting... The machine seems to deploy these ‘air vents’ to suck up my name, faculty and staff number and spread them around in particles. I seem to be ‘becoming known’. But small parts of me are breaking off, remaining within the machine, dissipating as they are given to others. Am I becoming the machine, my oil greasing its path?
My unease gathers speed as, for the first time, I now have a graduate student attached to my name. She is watching as I unscrew the machine’s plated cover. My recommendations of books, workshops and strategies move her closer to the steaming and stamping through an induction to its innards. I realize, without ethics, without consent, without risk assessment, I’ve brought her perilously close to a machine of which I am wary.
This paper presents my experience of becomingwritingmachine and becoming-supervisor in this space.