miércoles, mayo 23, 2007

Social Scholarship on the Rise

Posted by Laura Cohen

As an academic librarian, I've been trying to get a handle on the emerging parameters of social scholarship. This is the practice of scholarship in which the use of social tools is an integral part of the research and publishing process. The process gains a number of characteristics, including openness, conversation, collaboration, access, sharing and transparent revision.
In this entry, I'm going to paint an idealized picture of this process, gathering together both observations and speculations. I'm not suggesting that any one individual would do all of these things. I'm just looking at the options - or better yet, the opportunities. This list is by no means comprehensive, but rather a starting point toward considering practices of scholarship that reflect a 2.0 social mindset and make use of 2.0 social tools. These ideas range from the not-new to the just-emerging.
A social scholar contributes to the conversation about her research topic by discussing her findings and ruminations on her blog and by inviting comments. By doing this, she moves some of her research activities into the public arena.
A social scholar initiates or joins an online community devoted to her topic, using any of a number of social software services or tools.
During the source gathering phase of her research, a social scholar shares important citations by depositing and tagging them on academic-oriented bookmarking sites such as Connotea and CiteULike.
By placing items in social bookmarking sites, a social scholar takes an interest in and contributes to the phenomenon of soft peer review. This type of peer review derives metrics from content on social sites and user interactions with this content.
During the research process - and depending on the topic - a social scholar consults both traditional and non-traditional sources. The latter might include blogs, RSS feeds, social bookmarking sites, podcasts and other multimedia, document repositories, dot-com full-text search portals, online discussion communities, data derived from mashups, etc.
A social scholar writes her articles, essays or book chapters on a restricted wiki that can be reviewed and discussed by a selected audience. This is especially helpful with group-authored publications.
A social scholar deposits her works-in-progress in a pre-print repository in order to take advantage of useful comments from peers.
Post publication, a social scholar provides open access to her works by depositing them in a post-print repository, institutional repository, personal Web site, etc.
A social scholar negotiates with her publisher for strong copyright ownership of her publications.
Whenever possible, a social scholar publishes in open access journals.
A social scholar negotiates with her publisher for sponsored publishing platforms that extend and enhance the "finished" nature of her publications. Options might include a post-publication blog or wiki that features reports on follow-up activities and research, and lets readers give comments on individual paragraphs or sections. If the publisher can't accommodate this request, a social scholar finds alternate platform hosts. These activities can lead to future publications.
A social scholar is an early adapter of publishing peer-reviewed born-digital works in wiki-type formats that allow for ongoing revisions that track the evolution of the publication.
A social scholar supports the efforts of libraries to preserve the artifacts of her research process.
A social scholar lobbies scholarly publishers to incorporate useful 2.0 tools into their portals.
These are just a few ideas. But taken all together, I think they give an idea of what social scholarship might be.

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