Academic Freedom, Data, and Job Performance in the Panopticon

Author(s): Eric Kansa

Year: 2015


This paper explores the challenges in recognizing and rewarding greater openness and collaboration in archaeology, given neoliberal institutional realities. After years of advocacy, governments and major granting foundations have embraced many elements of the open science reform agenda. The White House recently made open access and open data in research a policy goal, and it is exploring other policies to promote "reproducibility" in federally-funded research, including archaeology. Despite open science’s success in entering the mainstream, the outlook for enacting meaningful improvements in practice remains far from certain. Archaeologists, like most scholars, face both tremendous competitive pressures and increasing time constraints on their research. It is a great irony that "data" in the form of normative publication performance metrics, dissuades many from sharing their own data. This paper explores how Taylorism, especially performance metrics, helps shape the published archaeological record. New policy requirements, including Data Management Plans, the growing prominence of new Web-based "Alt-Metrics", and emerging Linked Open Data technologies will can further expand the scope of performance monitoring. Open science and digital humanities advocates have struggled for recognition and autonomy to pursue their research goals. How will we encourage greater academic freedom and avoid further entrenching workplace surveillance?

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Academic Freedom, Data, and Job Performance in the Panopticon. Eric Kansa. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395068)