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Thoughts on Digital Scholarship

Thoughts on Digital Scholarship



Some thoughts on how digital technologies are changing the role of the scholar

Some thoughts on how digital technologies are changing the role of the scholar



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  • But a different model applies when it becomes abundant. Talent is still scarce, but locating it is easy, distributing it is free, the content can be reproduced at zero cost. All the previous model which was based on scarcity breaks down
  • The way users interact with the system and create content and communicate generates complexity, not the app itself, so better to have a simple app that fosters a community

Thoughts on Digital Scholarship Thoughts on Digital Scholarship Presentation Transcript

  • Thinking about Digital Scholarship Martin Weller
  • Current characteristics What is scholarship? Doing different things or doing things differently What are the drivers for change? What can we learn from elsewhere? Our relationship with content Identity Online environments
  • Clay Shirky: Cognitive surplus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyoNHIl-QLQ
    • If true, then society is changing & the same tools impact upon all aspects of scholarship
  • The Boyer view of scholarship
    • Discovery
    • Integration
    • Application
    • Teaching
    • Main question – will the Boyer view be applicable for digital scholarship
  • 3 characteristics of a digital scholar
  • Digital
  • Network
  • If true what does it mean for scholarly practice
  • No change
  • We do what we did before but in slightly different ways
  • We do different things
  • Are these new or just different ways?
    • Michael Wesch – database of article summaries
    • Students organising on Facebook prior to starting
    • Students organising OU Tesco protest on Facebook
    • Teaching culturally specific music via Skype
    • Crowdsourcing research iSpot/DarwinTunes/InnoCentive
    • Open courses/conferences
  • What about…
    • Heppell (2001) “we continually make the error of subjugating technology to our present practice rather than allowing it to free us from the tyranny of past mistakes.”
    • Lanier “Software sedimentation is a process whereby not only protocols, but the ideas embedded in them become mandatory. An example is the idea of the file.”
  • Drivers for change
  • Not net gen
  • Not some perfect storm
  • Possibilities for improving what we do
  • But don’t ignore network weather
  • Lessons from other sectors
    • Can’t control digital content
    • People like to share
    • New filters emerge
    • Models based on filters break down
    • Disintermediation
  • We are only at the beginning Don’t confuse form with function Unbundling of services Explore different models Alternatives are the killer
  • Content
  • When it is as easy to download an entire catalogue as it is one track, our relationship to content undergoes a fundamental change
  • Research papers Lectures/Teaching content Conferences Data Code Ideas Debate Higher education as long tail production engine
  • Embrace unpredictability [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--viB3zTznA]
  • Identity
  • Identity Academic identity Distributed Personal/Professional Messier
  • Learning/research environments
  • Complexity comes from the network not the app
    • Your task:
    • Design the scholar of 2030
  • What will they do on a daily basis?
    • How will they conduct research?
    • How and what will the teach?
    • What will be the key skills they need?