Academics across the world are up in arms at a proposal to bar the senior members of the International Studies Association (ISA) from blogging. The proposal says:
“No editor of any ISA journal or member of any editorial team of an ISA journal can create or actively manage a blog unless it is an official blog of the editor’s journal or the editorial team’s journal.
This policy requires that all editors and members of editorial teams to apply this aspect of the code of conduct to their ISA journal commitments. All editorial members, both the editor in chief(s) and the board of editors/editorial teams, should maintain a complete separation of their journal responsibilities and their blog associations.”
Many members of the ISA, a professional association for scholars, practitioners and students in the field of international studies with more than 6,000 members from 80 countries, have erupted in protest at the proposal, reports Inside Higher Ed. It quotes three critics…
Stephen Saideman, a professor at Carleton university in Canada, said: “I think it’s a really strange proposal in 2014… There’s still a segment of academia that doesn’t engage in any kind of social media.”
Daniel Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts university in Boston, said: “I cannot see how this can be a viable long-term policy… At best, it’s draconian, and at worst, an infringement of academic freedom.”
John Sides, associate professor at George Washington university, said: “I don’t think that the discourse that occurs on blogs is necessarily any more problematic or more unprofessional that the discourses that editors are going to have in other contexts in their own scholarship…
“You could certainly ask editors to uphold a certain degree of professionalism… but to put a blanket prohibition on communication in just one medium – I think that throws the baby out with the bathwater.”
But Harvey Starr, the the South Carolina university professor who serves as the ISA president, said the ban would strengthen the organisation’s code of conduct.
He is quoted by Insider High Ed as saying: “The proposed policy is one response, not to blogs per se, but to issues that can arise with people confusing the personal blogs of the editors of ISA journals with the editorial policies for their journals. This proposal is trying to address that possible confusion.”
The governing council of the ISA, which consists of about 50 voting members, will debate the proposal on March 25. If accepted, it would have an impact on five journals.