Can an algorithm edit a journal? Can a library exist without books? Can students build and manage their own learning management platforms? Can a conference be held without a program? Can Twitter replace a scholarly society?
As recently as the mid-2000s, questions like these would have been unthinkable. But today serious scholars are asking whether the institutions of the academy as they have existed for decades, even centuries, aren't becoming obsolete. Every aspect of scholarly infrastructure is being questioned, and even more importantly, being hacked. Sympathetic scholars of traditionally disparate disciplines are cancelling their association memberships and building their own networks on Facebook and Twitter. Journals are being compiled automatically from self-published blog posts. Newly minted Ph.D.s are forgoing the tenure track for alternative academic careers that blur the lines between research, teaching, and service. Graduate students are looking beyond the categories of the traditional CV and building expansive professional identities and popular followings through social media. Educational technologists are "punking" established technology vendors by rolling out their own open source infrastructure.
Hacking the Academy will both explore and contribute to ongoing efforts to rebuild scholarly infrastructure for a new millennium.
Dan Cohen is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Art History and the Director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, USA. Tom Scheinfeldt is Managing Director of the Center for History and New Media and Research Assistant Professor of History in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University, USA.