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  Friday, April 02, 2004

  OKLC04: useful links for KM PhDs

A couple of links for KM PhDs:

More on: OKLC PhD 

  OKLC04: PhD workshop notes

My notes from OKLC04 PhD workshop.

Three out of four workshop facilitators (Sue Newell, Maxine Robertson & Jacky Swan) are the authors of Managing Knowledge Work book, which I consider one of the best introductory textbooks on KM. See also Innovation, Knowledge and Organisational Networks research group and Knowledge & Innovation Network practitioner community.

Sue Newell started with talking about key features of knowledge ( which is a smart way to establish a common reference without going into discussion of what knowledge is ;)

  • knowledge is
    • distributed
    • ambiguous, indeterminate, people have different thought worlds
    • disruptive (radical changes don't align with existing practices)
  • cognitive (k as an entity one possesses, could be passed) vs. community (knowledge is socially constructed and situated in practice) modes in KM (see the book);
    • article by Cook and Browns  - those don't contradicts...
  • knowledge as a tool that needs practice to be used...

Maxine Robertson & Jacky Swan on critical issues and challenges in KM research

  • defining common terms and perspectives is not easy, but at least make your own definitions clear
  • one can't research knowledge, but just proxies of knowledge - stories, artefacts, incidents, networking behaviours
  • clarifying ontological and epistemological assumptions (positivists and intepretivism)
  • getting access to case-studies
    • important to identify gatekeepers
    • clarifying expectations: "you have to appear to know exactly what you are doing" and find out what they want in return
  • key informants
    • lots said and observed can be ambiguous and complex - then you don't understand, ask
    • there are people who are very interested in what you are doing and contribute a lot. Ask why, as there is a risk to become part of power games...
    • personal relations - e.g. you can call people after formal data collection is completed
      you can ring  them up after
  • a bit of discussion on keeping your focus and cutting things that do not fit out of the dissertation
  • just a citation - "academics don't have time to reflect..."

Break-out group discussions on PhD research

After presenting my PhD research I realised that I've got trapped in "evangelising" mode of talking about weblogs. Each time I present on a topic I try to help people understand what the whole things is and why it could be interesting. This activity is valuable by itself, but given short presentation times at conferences it didn't allow me to dive into the core of my research and to get a feedback I need. Or, alternatively, may be it's not a point to expect a serious feedback on "weblog part" of my research at general conferences, as it simply takes too much time to get into the topic. I also need to rethink how far I should go into weblogs (can I do without it?) when presenting "knowledge work" part of my work. Hope my presentation on Saturday will be more rewarding in this sense.

I've got more from this session (related research and reading suggestions), but will be posting on it later.

Probably the most useful session of the day was the talk of Bob Galliers on strategies of publishing in a journal

  • before you start think of
    • are you going for academic career
    • what is required in your current organisation
    • what you may need in your future organisation (especially if it's in another country)
  • a good journal to publish could be
    • from the A-list of your current/future organisation (and there are no easily accessible lists of "good journals, it's more about tacit knowledge of those in the field)
    • where the key articles you use were published
    • you usually like articles from there
    • where your favourite authors publish
    • your literature is frequently cited there
    • look for the one that fits your topic, style of writing, research methodology
    • you may contact the editor (check also if someone on editorial board you may know via your network) before submitting with your abstract and ask if it's interesting
  • submit
    • read author guidelines and make sure to comply
    • sometimes you may suggest people to review your article, check guidelines for it
    • be very patient
  • reviews
    • associate editor collects reviews, comments on them and then it goes to editor for a decision
    • "revise and resubmit" is a very good result
  • resubmit
    • be prepared to be confused: if there is contradictory advice you may ask editor for a direction
      try to resubmit reasonably quickly
    • when resubmit add covered letter with explanations how you took (or why you didn't take) reviewers advice into account and don't forget to thank reviewers (it will be send to reviewers and they may not even read the whole paper again)
    • be prepared for more iterations (there are cases of 7 rounds!) and don't think that they are less seriously than first
  • when it's accepted - be very patient again, it can be anything between few months and few years
  • the bottom line - it's about stamina

The presentation was a good journey into the world of academic publishing. What I found out a bit frustrating is its focus on getting your work accepted and published, not on getting your work accessible. No (before I asked) mention of open access journals (they are less good for your reputation), importance of publishing drafts online and presenting at conferences. It's pity to see how the "ivory tower" mindset is reinforced without any questioning...

Later: for an alternative see for example access to the literature: the debate continues

More on: OKLC PhD research 

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