Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A year's worth of requests

Update: I've now written a longish blog post discussing rules of thumb for making decisions on requests for academic work which sets out some thoughts on when to say 'yes' and 'no' to the sorts of requests listed below.

Back at the beginning of July I posted about requests to do academic labour outside of the normal day job. I had 194 requests in the first 26 weeks of the year. The trend continued in the second half of the year with 188 requests (it probably would have been the identical except for Christmas week, which was the only week during the year I received no requests). The full list is below and excludes requests relating to existing commitments (e.g., related to an advisory board or project), follow-on requests to re-review, spam requests/calls from vulture publishers/conference organisers, requests to review novels.

Paper review                                 75
Grant review                                 27
Book endorsement                          5
Reference/tenure review                27
Book review                                   3
Book proposal review                     8
Review book manuscript                3
PhD external examining                 6
Speak at workshop/conference     74
Invite contribute paper/chapter      27
Request to write book                   10
Work on project                            13
Request interview/advice/survey    84
Appoint to advisory board              18
Visiting prof                                    1
Request to be journal editor            1

In total, I was asked to do 154 reviews (of papers, grants, books, people, etc). I try and do my share of reviewing and disciplinary work, and certainly exceed my 'exchange economy of peer review' quota (Elden 2008) as in I review three times what I submit, but it's fair to say that the requests I'm receiving have got out of control and I'm still working out how best to manage my own and other's expectations. I expect I'll be saying 'no' a lot in 2018!

Elden, S. (2008) The exchange economy of peer review. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 26: 951-953. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1068/d2606eda


dublinstreams said...

how many of these did you say yes to?

Rob Kitchin said...

All book endorsements, references/tenure reviews; 85% PhD externaling and interviews; c.33% paper/grant reviews; c.25% invited talks, advisory boards, book proposal reviews, contributing paper/chapter; none of write book, academic book review, work on project, visiting prof, or journal editor. I've now written a longer post on rules of thumb for deciding on which tasks to take on and which to decline http://progcity.maynoothuniversity.ie/2018/01/rules-of-thumb-for-making-decisions-on-requests-for-academic-work/