Audit Culture Evolves, and Why Not Reading Prior Work Can Sometimes Be a Good Thing

Last night Flipbook drew my attention to two items that may be of some interest to the anthropologists gathered here.  The first is


Strata Allows You to Play Fantasy Football - With Scientists


Those who are interested in the evolution of what has been called "audit culture" in academia may find this either exciting or distressing. The article talks about a new set of tools that allow scientists applying for grants to simulate the likely costs and outcomes of the projects and teams that they are proposing, based on data available in the SCOPUS data base. As I read the description, I thought about how hard constructing a similar tool for the humanities would be and the added edge this will give to the scientists in the competition for shrinking pools of public funding.


On the virtue of (occasionally) not reading prior work


The case in question involves computer science and network analysis. It reminds me, however, of literary critic Allen Bloom's thesis about the importance of misreading to literary creativity, i.e., if my memory serves me right, the notion that creative advances occur when the author in question reacts to what may, in fact, be a straw man constructed by misreading another author. 

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