[IFETS-DISCUSSION:3689] Discussion paper citation practices

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Subject: [IFETS-DISCUSSION:3689] Discussion paper citation practices
From: Sally Mavor (sally.mavor@clix.pt)
Date: Fri 02 Aug 2002 - 15:37:35 MEST

From: "Sally Mavor" <sally.mavor@clix.pt>
Subject: [IFETS-DISCUSSION:3689] Discussion paper citation practices
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 14:37:35 +0100


I would like to raise a small, but I believe, significant issue in
relation to discussion papers.

First, I must preface my comments with two important personal notes:

In my view the discussion paper genre as exemplified in IFETS is one of
the best approaches I’ve seen so far to involve discussion group members
in the process and product of a published discussion. It encourages both
reflection and collaborative discussion / writing.
For those reasons, I believe this genre also has great potential for use
in the education world.

Secondly, I will be mentioning a small point in a paper that I think was
extremely well and conscientiously presented, discussed and summarised.
The question I raise is a matter of current IFETS form, which, as it
does not appear to be stipulated anywhere, was in no way transgressed in
the paper. ……………………………………………………………………………………………

The issue I would like to look at concerns authorship / citation in
collaborative discussion papers.

In the IFETS discussion paper, the moderator and summariser(s) are the
lead authors of the paper, but the final published paper integrates the
thoughts and contributions of those who participated in the discussion.
In that sense, is the authorship of the paper still solely that of the
moderator/summariser(s)? Or does the paper become a collaborative effort
with joint authorship? Or is the paper authored by the same
moderator/summarisers with clear citations of the contributions made by

I tend towards the latter – especially considering the amount of work
involve in writing the pre-discussion paper, in moderating the
discussion and in integrating the contributions of the members in a
final document.

However, at the moment IFETS doesn’t appear to have a clear policy
regarding how members’ contributions should be recognised/integrated in
the final, published discussion paper. (I have looked but am prepared to
stand corrected, if I have missed anything!) Having also looked briefly
at past discussion papers, there seem to be a wide range of approaches
to the final paper from no mention of discussion contributions, to
meticulous naming and citing in a post-discussion summary.

The reason I bring this to light is that in one of the last discussions,
I, among others, contributed to the discussion. As it happens, I coined
the term ‘contextualised flexibility’ to account for the kind of
understanding of context and appropriate response to that context which
is important for course design. The author of the paper kindly mentioned
this phrase, saying that “One contributor used the term ‘contextualised
flexibility’ to describe how overall course design should be sensitive
to contexts and adaptive”

Now, with my tongue firmly and friendlily- in-cheek, if I wish to use
that phrase in another paper, how should I refer to it? It has now been
published in the Education, Technology and Society (ETS) journal. So
should I say…

“contextualised flexibility” (a contributor, cited in ETS discussion
paper no. vol. etc…….. who happened to be me)? ;-)

And what about the other contributors, who in fact, contributed much
more than I did and were not mentioned by name? This paper is by no
means the only one that uses this approach, so it is quite legitimately
following precedents and is even integrating the discussion
contributions more than some previous papers. Obviously the summarisers
must be also be selective and concise in their summaries, but, my
question is:

        when the moderator/summariser(s) use the work of members’
contributions to the discussion should the names of these
contributors not be mentioned in the final, published paper?

On no account would I advocate a homogenisation of approach, but I do
feel that some guidelines as to appropriate wayS to integrate members´
contribution to the discussion would be helpful and consistent with the
collaborative nature of the discussion paper.

What do other members think?

All the best

Sally Mavor

Escola Superior de Educação de Leiria,
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