2009 Junket + WTF Telstra

I wrote about a prime junket in which I regularly partake back in Feb 2006. I didn’t attend the one in 2007 because I was on maternity leave, but I did go to the 2008 gathering at the Langham Hotel. This year, we were at the Park Hyatt. Now that I’m an oldish hand at these things, I’m enjoying them more and more. First, all of my editorial team was able to attend and we always have fun meetings. Second, we know many of the publishing staff now. Third, we scored by sitting at a table with a new and enthusiastic marketing guy, and their online submission platform person. Very useful folk to be around when we’re working out strategies for the next few years for our journal and its direction.

In the midst of the plush surrounds and super-nice food, though, it was somewhat disheartening to know about the huge drive for citation impact factors that influence the outcomes for our academic careers and at the same time hear from the publisher’s UK manager that the Thompson ISI folk (who churn out citation impact factors and suchlike) produce figures for social sciences and the humanities (SS&H) that are of little use in actually indicating impact. The current models only cover a too-short timeframe, PLUS so few SS&H publications are in the ISI system that there isn’t enough data upon which to base ‘impact’ with any integrity. So, why do it at all? Australia’s just bringing it in (admittedly not in an overt way yet – but journal-tiering is a slippery slope…), when the UK has just booted it out as an indicator. Increasingly, we’re asked to provide citation stats for our work where possible. Unless we manually record-keep our citations (with a little helping hand from Google Scholar), there isn’t an easy way to find out what these might be. The usefulness of this bibliometric stuff is constantly brought into question, but the fact that it’s currently in vogue in ARC circles means that a lot of time, money and effort will be expended on something that may well be cast aside in a few years’ time. Same as it ever was.

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And my utilities rant for the moment:

Monster house is almost finished next door. It didn’t improve on completion and, in fact, looms even larger and more ugly over our house now that its ‘outdoor entertainment villa’ is complete. We are privy to the knowledge (through some random boasting by the owner) that they also have a spa in the master bedroom and will have a giant plasma screen in the living room…colour me surprised…

Anyway, Telstra dude was out to do some work for the monster house and messed with our cables. We’ve had Foxtel for a while now (children’s channels for E. and 24/7 cooking shows for my mother). It suddenly stopped working. On investigation, we found that the Telstra guy had moved the cable and wrecked the connection. He refused to fix it, saying it was ‘frayed’ and would’ve been up for repairs anyway. He told us to call Foxtel to come out and fix it. When we pointed out that the connection was perfectly fine until he broke it, he still refused to fix it.

This kind of thing just boggles my mind. You broke it, you fix it, no? WTF, Telstra?

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