Fleur Praal is a University Lecturer at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society.
Fields of interest
My research interests are clustered around scholarly communication 'habits' and academic publishing: business models and the conceptual role of the (academic) publisher in our age of digital revolution; new digital technologies for text processing and publication; and digital tools for quantitative research on textual data in the humanities. Besides this, I enjoy educating myself in compiling and interpreting statistics, and I am interested in the development of music notation systems since the advent of the printing press.
Academic publishing and scholarship form a symbiotic system of scholarly communication: researchers produce new ideas and knowledge, but need the publishing sector for distribution and certification of those. Currently, this symbiotic system has evolved into a curious dichotomy: scholarly communication and publication behavior in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) differs significantly from that in the Social Sciences, Law and Humanities (SSL&H), and this difference affects academic publishing in each branch accordingly.
The current state of academic publishing in the Humanities field especially has been depicted as one of crisis or at least unbalance, in which the traditionally strong position of the publisher is weakened, not in the least by new (digital) developments, such as Open Access, and the crisis of the scholarly monograph, to name just two. Publishers need to redefine their role in the field.
Contingency research on scholarly communication and publication behaviors or habitus in the Humanities will be the starting point of my dissertation. The status quo of the field, divergent as it is from the STEM-fields, will not be taken as an inescapable premise ‘that is’, but rather as a framework to expose mechanisms that caused the field to evolve as it did. These mechanisms should be sought in: scholarly practices inherent to the Humanities field; salient properties of textual forms dominant in Humanities scholarship; and the influence of digital developments in the processing and publication of texts. The same mechanisms might, once exposed, be used to explicate the added value that publishing can still offer scholarship in the current, increasingly digital, environment.
The precise research proposal for this dissertation is at this stage (April 2014) far from finished. Please contact me with any further enquiries.
In the MA 'Book and Digital Media Studies', drs. Peter Verhaar and I teach Digital Media Technology, a course in the MA core curriculum in which students learn to work with basic text processing technologies (such as XML and XSLT) and data management methodologies (relational database modelling and SQL). Besides this, I coordinate the courses taught by professionals from the National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek), and I assist prof. dr. Adriaan van der Weel in the MA specialisation Publishing Studies. In the Minor 'Boek, boekhandel en uitgeverij' (Books, the booktrade and publishing), I will coordinate and teach two courses from 2014-2015: 'Beroemde Boeken' and 'Uitgeven Anno Nu'.
since 2014: PhD-candidate under supervision of prof. dr. Adriaan van der Weel, LUCAS, Leiden University
since 2012: junior lecturer in MA Book & Digital Media Studies, Leiden University
2012-2014: research assistant 'Leiden Ranking' and project coordinator for ACUMEN, Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University
2008-2012: teacher in debating, public speaking and argumentation strategy at various levels of education
2012: MA degree in Book and Digital Media Studies, cum laude, Leiden University
2010: BA degree in History, Leiden University
2008: BA degree in English Language and Culture, Leiden University
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