The most organized academic community I know when to comes to managing the "politics" of setting research priorities and recognizing research outcomes is astronomy and astrophysics, because they have no choice: all research progress depends on the scarcity of access to expensive instruments. So they've got an incredibly organized collective action response to that, which is to have elaborate rating criteria that once a year determine who is getting time on the instruments and how much time they're getting.

On the other end, literary criticism and history are wide-open examples of individual discretion--the only gate is access to particular archives (and the financial wherewithal to get to them and be resident at them for sufficient amounts of time)--nobody tells you what you can and can't do, and the politics is almost entirely post-facto and highly subjective (about what is or is not important work that should be referenced).

But "service" has absolutely nothing of the sort for anybody--there is no public conversation about what matters most, there's no discussion about a match between skills and opportunity, there's no routing structures. We don't even have the post-facto evaluation that disciplines with enormous discretion have about the outcomes. We don't recognize most of the labor people do, and barely understand the harms done when it's not done or when it's done poorly. (Especially public-facing work of the kind you describe in this entry.) People can just claim an inability to do service (either in terms of skills or time) and we shrug and allow that. But when nobody's doing it, we know it's a disaster.

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