Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Measuring Scholarly Metrics, edited by Gordon R. Mitchell (Lincoln, NE: Oldfather Press, 2011). Copyright © 2011 Sarah Jones. Distributed under Creative Commons license.


As an academic’s career progresses, there are many landmarks: teaching that first class, completing the dissertation, publishing the first article, getting a tenure-track position, publishing that first book, and receiving the first promotion, among others. Tracking a scholar’s progress often apears to be linear and cumulative. Charles Bazerman and his colleagues point out that “publication of a scholarly book is frequently a central part of the evidence offered in support of tenure and promotion cases.” In fact, a brief review of tenure and promotion requirements for three prominent communication studies departments—University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Pittsburgh—reflects that a peer-reviewed, published work is expected to be in the candidate’s research dossier. At Iowa and Nebraska, scholarly books are specifically mentioned. As metrics of scholarly authority, university-press books are supposed to reflect prestige, rigor, and accomplishment. What makes the scholarly book a hotbed of discussion about authority in academe is the recent increase in the digital publication of books. As the costs of print publication continue to rise and the numbers of books acquired by libraries and individual users have decreased, the expectation of having your own book when the tenure and promotion committee is waiting, persists. This tension has made the digital publication of a scholarly book tempting to many researchers.

Included in

Communication Commons