The following puts itself together as I read an e-mail from Toby:

This evening I was thinking about communicating our research. Has the student affairs research crowd started doing much with online journals? The information systems crowd is trying, but the big proprietary journals with long review processes are still the gold standard.

So your second e-mail set me thinking: Nash calls us to moral conversations. The rapid pace of change in information systems (and what about student affairs?) begs for immediate conversation, interchange, shared efforts to build meaning instead of “simple dissemination of information,” as you aptly put it.

But look at how we researchers communicate: through academic journals that take months, maybe years to publish our work. While we work on a research project, we keep it under wraps, afraid someone else might see a blog post on it (Gulp!) and write the idea up and conduct an experiment before we do. While the paper is under review, we still keep it under wraps, waiting for the yay or nay from the reviewers. Once it’s published, we can’t post it online, since the journals own the copyright. It’s like the latency (the delay) in a bad cell phone connection: it takes so long for the signal to travel from speaker to receiver that we can’t have a good conversation.

Some IS researchers argue we need to abandon the old journals and go for instant online wiki-style publishing. Anyone in student affairs making a similar argument? I’d love to hear what Nash thinks, because his idea of research as moral conversation seems to demand moving from old journals to instant interaction, a constant conference of scholars building meaning online.