What is New Scholarship?

Both the process and shape of scholarship are changing. Nontraditional forms are emerging that call for new ways of evaluating and disseminating work. Increasingly, scholars are beginning to employ methods unavailable to their counterparts of several years ago, including prepublication releases of their work, distribution through nontraditional channels, dynamic visualization of data and results, and new ways to conduct peer reviews using online collaboration. These new approaches present a new challenge: to protect the integrity of scholarly activity while taking advantage of the opportunity for increased creativity and collaboration. New forms of scholarship, including fresh models of publication and nontraditional scholarly products, are evolving along with the changing process. Some of these forms are very common — blogs and video clips, for instance — but academia has been slow to recognize and accept them. Some scholars worry that blogging may cut into time that would otherwise be used for scholarly research or writing, for example, or that material in a podcast is not as well researched as material prepared for print publication. Proponents of these new forms argue that they serve a different purpose than traditional writing and research — a purpose that improves, rather than runs counter to, other kinds of scholarly work. Blogging scholars report that the forum for airing ideas and receiving comments from their colleagues helps them to hone their thinking and explore avenues they might otherwise have overlooked.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • As the Internet transforms how we do business, connect with friends, entertain ourselves, and learn, it also will transform how scholarship is expressed and communicated. Using video, images, audio recordings, simulations, and other media, scholars can document and make visible the phenomena that they are studying. Further, they can allow others to query and remix the data they present. Through blogs, wikis, and communication tools such as Twitter, scholars spread ideas rapidly, receive feedback, and build vibrant knowledge communities. Open scholarship, such as Open Notebook Science, makes the research process transparent, enables errors to be caught, and ensures that tacit knowledge is passed on. - lisaspiro lisaspiro Yes! excellent pedagogies here. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • I have noticed, especially in the Chronicle of Higher Education over the past couple of years, discussions about "serious blogging," i.e. a return to the long form within the blog context -- as applicable to the new scholarship. I think this is a good step. The Creative Research Center of Montclair State University [[http://www.montclair.edu/creativeresearch|www.montclair.edu/creativeresearch]] has recently run an analytic study of the site and we found - much to our delight - that the Web/Bibliography page is the "stickiest" by far, with an average time per reader of 2:34. - neil.baldwin neil.baldwin Oct 5, 2010
  • Similarly, these new forms of scholarship allow for people to participate in larger discussions that would have been unavailable before. Students can comment on faculty blogs, participating in that form of peer review. It is also possible to build a reputation (nationally, professionally, and outside of academia) using new scholarship. However traditional tenure processes don't necessarily take this type of work into account. - laurenpressley laurenpressley Oct 5, 2010 Consider this in light of the public intellectual. Juan Cole, Glen Reynolds don't need the New York Times.- bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • Cost savings, if small colleges can move some physical holdings of scholarly materials off-site, digitally.- bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • This technology affects everything: who is a professor? what is a scholar? what is scholarly reputation? how does one gauge eligibility for tenure and promotion? what is graduate school for, and how do we judge its success? etc. - gardnercampbell gardnercampbell Oct 18, 2010

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Preservation is a big issue. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • Importance of publishers. They're very interested in this, and are already doing stuff. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • "New scholarship" is a vague (and not very googleable) term; I might use "digital scholarship" or "multimodal scholarship" instead. Challenges facing digital scholarship include receiving academic credit for digital work, authoring, and sustainabilty. Scholars may struggle to receive credit towards tenure and promotion for the blog posts, video, and hypertexts they produce, although there are efforts underway to revise tenure guidelines to include multimodal scholarship. Authoring complex multimodal works can take more time than producing print works and require skills many scholars lack. Likewise, it's not clear how multimodal works will be made available for the long term, given the technical and social challenges of digital preservation. However, producing digital scholarship offers many advantages, including the ability to reach a wider audience, present scholarly evidence in more interactive, dynamic ways than is possible in print, and circulate ideas more rapidly and widely. Minor point: I'm not sure that pre-publication release was unavailable a few years ago, as stated above; arXiv, for instance, has been around since 1991, and there's an even longer tradition of scholars in the sciences circulating pre-prints. - lisaspiro lisaspiro Agreed on term - I call it Scholarship 2.0. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • I agree that another term would be helpful here. As we continue to encourage student work in digital literacy and visual assignments it seems only logical to extend these methodologies to scholarship. In some disciplines such as sociology and oral history data collection is already multimodal. A wider acceptance of multimodal work would enrich scholarly output and in many way increase its accessibility and usefulness. - billshewbridge billshewbridge Oct 4, 2010

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • Ultimately, I believe that almost all scholarship will be digital. If students study works of digital scholarship, they may develop more up-to-date knowledge of trends in a particular scholarly community relayed through blogs and other modes of communication. Moreover, they may be able to interact with scholarly evidence, develop their own interpretations, and comment on scholarly arguments. Students should produce as well as consume digital scholarship, learning how to create multimedia essays that convey sophisticated ideas using audio, video, images, and/or animations as well as text.- lisaspiro lisaspiro Very true - how much scholarship is already born digital, through the humblest of tools? - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • Greater experimentation with scholarly forms. Cf virtual archaeology, ecological simulations, gaming political history. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010
  • Making scholarship public, opening access to university resources and research through, the creation and preservation of digital archives and journals can involve academics and expert curators and practitioners. See Hastac - bdieu bdieu

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area? http://www.montclair.edu/creativeresearch/ - neil.baldwin neil.baldwin Sep 24, 2010

  • JoVE: Journal of Visualized Experiments
  • MediaCommons
  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick's Planned Obsolescence makes a compelling argument for the importance of digital scholarship - lisaspiro lisaspiro Sep 28, 2010 Her new book is all about peer review, too. - bryan bryan Oct 14, 2010 and CommentPress is a very useful plugin for this purpose. - bdieu bdieu
  • Humanities Information Practices Humanities Information Practices is a RIN funded study which aims to develop a sense of the range of information behaviours in the humanities. Through case studies, observations and interviews, this study will aim to understand how humanities scholars appropriate both analogue and digital resources in their work. It will highlight issues in the current information environment which affect user information seeking behaviour in the humanities.- bdieu bdieu
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