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The Pequod
Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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New Essay

Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more

Blog-Based Peer Review

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Over at Grand Text Auto, Noah Wardrip-Fruin has reported that his book, Expressive Processing is almost ready for print publication. However, many people will already have read early versions of this book, because it was posted in sections on the website about a year ago. As well as submitting it to traditional, academic peer review via the publisher, Fruin had posted it online as a way of enabling blog-based peer review. Readers could comment on individual paragraphs, sections, chapters or the whole book.

Often, this led them to pick Fruin up on trivial points - and I myself did this, pointing out that the Eliza psychotherapist program had been produced only a year before the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, not "years before," as Fruin had it. More sophisticated commentators than myself, though, interrogated more fundamentally Fruin's interpretation of computer games and programs as new sorts of text.

Fruin has just posted a summary of how blog-based peer review has affected his work. Fruin has pioneered the use of the collaborative web for traditional academic scholarship, and so his comments are well worth a read. They appear in the same week as the Guardian Education discusses David Melville's recent report on "The Changing Learner Experience." Taking a more conservative line than Fruin's optimism, the Guardian notes that "There is a still a question over whether a well-respected blog is the same as having peer-reviewed research articles, for instance, and using new technologies is still 'bottom up' rather than forced on academics by their managers."

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Posted by Alistair at 11:33 am


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