Opaque? Moi?

September 27, 2012

Professor Gordon Lapping, of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies, has defended the journal that he currently edits against suggestions that it lacks academic credibility.

He told The Poppletonian that these attacks upon The British Journal of Daytime Television Studies had apparently been prompted by a letter in Times Higher Education from Daniel Conway, of Loughborough University, which referred to the writer's discovery that a number of the named editorial members of journals in his field of politics were "uncontactable or dead".

Although Professor Lapping conceded that three of the six members of his current editorial board had "passed to the other side", he had only been informed of these deaths within the past five years and this was the customary time it took for his esteemed journal to respond to any sort of submission.

He was also "exercised" by the further claim in Dr Conway's letter that "many journals seem to be opaque fiefdoms".

"No one", insisted the professor, "could level that charge at my journal, where it is well known that the only living members of the editorial board are close personal friends and that we only ever print articles after those articles have been cursorily refereed by other friends who check that they are in line with well-established editorial predilections. How could anyone possibly regard that as 'opaque'?"

Many are called, few are chosen

"We are endeavouring to deal with this matter with the utmost sensitivity."

Those were the reassuring opening words used by Brian Bryan, our Deputy Head of REF Strategy, in an email announcing the manner in which academic staff would be informed that their work was not to be submitted to the research exercise.

Poppleton, he wrote, would be following the example of other leading third-rate universities and only submitting pieces of research that enjoyed a grade-point average of at least 2.75. Those whose research failed to reach this level - approximately 93 per cent of academic staff - would then be discreetly informed by a series of tannoy announcements that they now qualified for one of two "Only Options": "Teaching Only" or "Redundancy Only".

He denied that the "sensitivity" of this email had been undermined by "an error of transcription" which led to its being titled "Gadarene Swine".

Hegel don't bother me

We learn that there is some consternation among members of academic staff at the for-profit New Poppleton College of the Humanities (fees £34,000 per annum).

It appears that despite the illustrious nature of the staff and the promise of one-to-one tutorials, the college has only managed to attract a total of seven students for its first year of operation.

In a brief statement, three members of the distinguished visiting staff, doctors Epicurus, Aristotle and Plato, have described the intake as "disappointing" but declared their intention of maintaining their connection with the college.

However, we understand that a number of other distinguished visiting lecturers, including doctors Diogenes, Pythagoras and Zeno, are currently "considering their position", while nothing has been heard of Dr Socrates since the beginning of term when he went for "a long lie down".

Thought for the week

I recently came across this useful reminder of the need to use tact when endeavouring to persuade others of the need for change. Hope you like it!

"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it is lightly greased."


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