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KCL CeRch presentation, enhanced scholarly publications, 27march2012

KCL CeRch presentation, enhanced scholarly publications, 27march2012



presentation on enhanced publishing at King's College London, 27 March 2012, by Nick Jankowski, Andrea Scharnhorst, Clifford Tatum, and Sally Wyatt

presentation on enhanced publishing at King's College London, 27 March 2012, by Nick Jankowski, Andrea Scharnhorst, Clifford Tatum, and Sally Wyatt



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  • Word of appreciaton for invitation Introductions: myself and colleagues AS, CT; note that others involved in project, ZT, and yet others have contributed to this presentation (SW) Although we each of us has various institutional affiliations, within this project we are bonded by the e-Humanities Group in Amsterdam that is an initiative of the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences. During this presentation we will be sharing our experiences at enhancing scholarly publications, a project on which we have been involved for more than a year.
  • three parts to presentation Time restrictions: 12 minutes per part Brief time for questions after each part (but no responses by presenters) General discussion is reserved for after the 3 parts The image: I can ’t think of anything more salient in representing what is happening in the world of traditional publishing than what the Encyclopedia Britannica announced a couple of weeks ago: ceasing to print its main product and to concentrate on online-only endeavors. Although enhancement of publications involves more than going online, this news represents a pivotal moment in scholarly publishing.
  • This is one of the few definitions of enhanced publications available in the literature. I am not going to read it, but suggest that you do so at your leisure. Basically, the definition contains three parts noted in the lower left of the slide: data, structure, and objects. The more I examine this definition the more reservations I have about it. I am not, for example, convinced that data should have such a prominent place; data are, in fact, one of many objects of a publication (as is suggested in the second sentence of the definition). Further, access, open access, is missing from the definition, in spite of the fact that this notion is one of the cornerstones of the institution to which the authors are involved. And, there seems to be no place in this definition for one of the traditional characteristics of much scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, an argument, which is more than a sum of the objects of a publication. In short, this definition represents a starting point, but invites refinement. For the purpose of this presentation, I take a much more informal and exploratory approach: examination of a wide range of initiatives that might be considered enhancement of conventional scholarly publishing.
  • This is the first of many illustrations intended to suggest the panorama of enhancements being considered in scholarship Characteristics of IJIS: open access, online only, pdf files of articles, and… quality scholarship But that ’s it: no hyperlinks, no color, no dynamic figures, no updating, no interactive features, no social media Does the absence of such features matter? Is the quality of this publication hampered by its text-only character?
  • This slide is merely a nod to a special feature in the history of publishing, efforts to visualize, and thereby I am suggesting that enhancement has been a part of scholarship for a very long time, since the medieval era, long before Gutenberg.
  • This is an enticing scholarly site, not only because of the ‘eye candy’, but also because of the integration of visualizations with text, and with the pedagogical and scholarly objectives of the project. This site is the showpiece of a decade-long research project, sufficiently funded to have a full-time staff devoted to designing and maintaining the site for that period of time. Such forms of visualization are reserved for the very rich among scholars and institutions, and for all of its attraction probably does not reflect the kind of enhancement most academic practitioners can seriously consider.
  • This slide is a collage of recent efforts to enhance traditional publications, taking advantage of the functionalities available in e-tablets, particularly the iPad. The Al Gore book probably does not qualify as ‘pure’ scholarship and may be more suitable in the environmental activist category; still, the app prepared by Push Top Press in 2011 was pioneering in integrating different components of a publication. Near the end of last year Push Top Press was acquired by Facebook and the staff is now involved in projects for that social network, resulting in à very short life for the publishing initiative. To the right of Our Choice is the image of Saturn, an innovation byTouch Press. This initiative has prepared almost a dozen science-related iPad apps that make use of various touch screen functionalities: revolving the planets around their axes or the sun, and providing the viewer with basic information on these celestial bodies. One of the ‘deviant cases’ in the Touch Press titles is the iPad version of T. S. Elliot’s poem The Waste Land, which incorporates readings and theatrical renditions, as well as images of the original manuscript; see the image on the far left of the slide. Finally, on the top right is a e-tablet publication of The Iliad, released a year ago, almost to the day. It allows comparison between the original Greek text and one of its main translations into English.
  • This slide suggests the kind of scholarship more familiar to most of us: a report of solid, documented research. This particular report takes note of the plight of university publishing houses and possible remedies. Although the substantive aspects of the report are central, I am sharing it here because of the special kind of enhancement provided by its publishers: provision for readers to comment on the text, section by section, paragraph by paragraph. On the left in this slide is the text of the report and in the right frame are comments readers have made. This platform is often used for soliciting comments on document drafts and sometimes for open peer review. For example, Shakespeare Quarterly has used the platform with some degree of success in preparing a couple of issues. The journal that I co-edit, New Media & Society, also experimented with a similar version of the platform, but with remarkably less success, with very few comments ending up on the site. We had to rely almost exclusively on conventional blind peer reviews rather than this version of open review, suggesting that not all enhancements necessarily result in something better….
  • This is the site of a book that was released last autumn by Bloomsbury Academic in three different formats: online open access to the chapters, iPad version, and a conventionally printed book. It reflects the innovation of hybrid publishing, providing both for-sale print copies and free online files of the book. About a score of university houses in North American are offering titles in such hybrid form. The texts of the chapters noted on this page contains hyperlinks directing readers from in-text references to bibliographic entries, and to external websites. It is, in other words, a welcome advancement over the standard pdf file. But what is the business model on which this innovation is based, and does it provide adequate financial basis for extending the innovations to other titles?
  • This slide reflects the results of one of the most innovative initiatives in the arena of enhanced scholarly publishing, by Cell Press a subsidiary of Elsevier. It is an extension of an announcement Elsevier made in 2009 to develop the ‘Article of the Future’. This slide reflects continuation with a deconstruction of the traditional journal article already underway among the other titles in the Cell Press stable. There is much to note about this initiative; see the tabs at the top of this article directing the reader to subdivisions of the publication, see the visualization to the right. More substantial is the dynamic updating of information on references and hyperlinks directing the reader to other resources – other publications, but also other materials related to this article, such as data and supplementary materials – research instruments and additional analyses. I am unaware of anything similar in the social sciences and humanities that compares with this approach to presenting journal articles. But, who wants this dazzle, this deconstruction of the article into its components? In more formal style, to what degree and in what manner does the intended audience make use of these features?
  • One of the special innovations at enhancing scholarship that I want to share before closing is called Communicationspace. Launched by SAGE Publications about two years ago, it combines the formal with informal modes of scholarly communication, the traditional journal article with a range of social media as they converge on topics of interest to scholars active in the disciplines of media and communication studies. On the site, there are blogs, videos, podcasts; there are discussion forums, specialized groups, job and conference announcements, additional resources. And related to this palette of communicative functions are expressions of scholarship in article form: published manuscripts from the stable of journal titles in media and communication studies owned by the publisher are selectively made available on the site. Although I am uncertain how much motivation there is among the target audience of scholars to contribute to this site, it remains an interesting initiative bridging the formal and informal domains of scholarly communication.
  • The range of enhancements in scholarly publishing is broad and the specific functionalities that are appearing on different platforms – websites, iPads, e-tablets, mobile phones – is expanding. Making sense of this plethora of initiatives is difficult and is begging for some sense of order, for a typology of enhancements. That is what a group of scholars has initiated in an article in the Journal of Digital Information, published last year. The authors go through some of the examples I have presented and many others, and construct a one-dimensional scale of what they term Rich Internet Publications. The scale ranges from publications mainly text-based to those heavy with visualizations, and a deconstruction of the conventional publication into ‘objects’ – suggested by the right end of this scale, what they term the ‘high-end’ on the slide. While I am appreciative of this exercise in clustering features, one-dimensional scales are inherently limited and seldom reflect the actual complexity of social life or, I would argue, of enhanced publishing.
  • Here is another effort at making sense of the diversity of initiatives involving enhancement. Although very tentative, I am suggesting essentially two clusters of components: those central to the notion of enhancement and those that seem secondary – at least for scholarly publishing in the niche with which I am most familiar, media and communication studies. There seem to be five core components related to the terms on the right side of this slide: accessibility, durability, interoperability, discourse, and replicability. Many of these components have a long tradition within the scholarly traditions and are finding new forms of expression in an enhanced environment. The second list suggests four secondary components: various supplementary materials to a research project, various contextual materials related to the object of study and researchers, a diversity of visualizations, and finally multimedia presentations. The possible relations between these components are suggested by the mind-mapping illustration on the right. Although the relations are more complex than this map suggests, I personally feel this multiple-component approach may have more 'explanatory power ’ than the one-dimensional typology previously shown.
  • It time to draw this part of our presentation to a close and I would like to do so by suggesting three ‘persistent’ questions. I suggest these queries will be with us for a very long time: [read, slowly, each question] With these concerns, please allow me to thank you for your attention, and….
  • I invite you to make brief comments or questions before the second presenter, Clifford Tatum, begins. Time does not allow for discussion now, so I will refrain from responding to reactions at this point and only take note of your interventions.
  • We/You heard about the variety of Enhanced Publications and their functional aspects from Nick; and we/you heard from the nitty-gritty of the technical backbone from Clifford; the impression remaining: a lot of efforts, quite complex many different actors, but what will remain? A student at the e-humanities group Ana Raus did a research into the websites of the SURF EP projects; and sometimes could hardly find them anymore; Colleagues at DANS and the KB are writing a study on the destiny of EPs from the SURF tenders right now: first summary: very little is still stable So do we have big tam-tam around nothing? I would not think so. But we have to be aware that what we see is a kind of new publishing in a cambrian explosion, PKP celebrating the 10thousands new open access journal; publishers trying new media and new business models (Springer Link); and authors partly invited to enhance their publication (what additional effort in time), partly seeking for new publication forms (nanopublications) to actually get award for “pieces” of work which are large in effort but almost invisible in large scale collaboration Do you know what a nanopublication is?
  • You immediately understand that this is not for human eyes, this is for machines to be read The idea is to describe “empirical instances” in a way that they can be related to each other, being referenced too on the web, being related to other know pieces of information; in other words: the argument in an academic discourse get’s deconstructed and semantically indexed – at least this is the idea. Will this work for all communities and for all texts? Can each argument be coupled to an inventory of concepts? I don ’t know. But I do know that more documentation on how to reach to a scientific argument would be highly welcome. Has to do with quality of the argument, but also with the fact that the science system is growing so immensely and we run the risk of eternal repetition.The reproducibility of some methods, or experiments crucially depends on “good documentation”, and so far we can trace the transfer of ideas only very roughly through citations. We have no access to trace the use of methods or tools or instruments not to talk about arguments, and we have no means to trace in formal communication the re-use of data. Data citation practices are in its infancy. But, of course there is a balance to be drawn between the extra amount of work needed for such a “documentation” and the eventual benefit. You will also immediately grasp that there is a different between a nanopublication as an example of an enhanced and the idea behind our EP project – which was …..
  • We envisioned for the longer term a kind of universe of scholarly communication of books growing grass-rooted, and maybe a bit more modest for a certain area in academia to start with – e-research The database approach as explained by Clifford in principle allow to construct a kind of annotated bibliography [Clifford I think it would be nice to navigate through the site – will you do this? Otherwise I can do it here] It makes authors, institutions, resources visible and because it is rdf this can also be exported and linked to other rdf-modelled resources The resources brought together can be re-displayed as a kind of annotated bibliography; the setting in principle allows for comments – so it can be used even interactively in education and its webpresence allows for all kind of enhancemants comparable what Nick showed at the very beginning. Where do we stay? And what materializes? We planned to have four books as core of our universe – we have three and a fourth is moved towards it – the VK book will be published with MIT and we just proposed them the EP, they might allow us text as prepublication, but if they will join forces, that is still open [Sally, is this right?] But even with this book where all authors were related the one way or the other to the Virtual knowledge studio we also encountered problems – authors were/are not lining up to make the book their own and contribute content – and maybe they have other platforms they contribute content too? We can imagine to extend the book collection with other printed books – but will this be possible from a copyright point of view – and will there be resources to do the work which still needs to be done manually? We did envisioned this project also as a platform for commonly writing a book, different from the existing wiki and html platforms. This is also one reason to make the plugin ’s available, and they are taken up, but will they be taken up in the way we thought? So, what remains for us from this exciting project and for you to learn from our experiences. Two main lessons: 1. innovation in scholarly practices is only taking up if it meets the needs of the community. A lot can be learned from innovation studies about the role of users. User needs can emerge spontaneously from the practice in the community (as need to share resources, need to write together; needs in teaching), but maybe even more often they will be constraint, triggered or even forced upon by external conditions: as the need to deposit your data if you want to publish in a certain journal, or if you want to get a certain funding and the pre-condition is to deliver the results in a specifically form which can take the shape of an enhanced publication; or prestigious web-based communication channels (as PLoS) which only except publications which come in a specific form; or Publishers which do so (and the use of doi ’s in references is just one small indication for such a requirement) 2. there will be no sustainable enhanced publications without an institution behind them. This institution can be an institute (as the VKS was), it can be a community of scholars, it can be a society, it could also be a publisher, or a university, or a journal: but there needs to be a kind of stable framework which guarantees some basic continuous funding, and which also hosts the publications – that brings me to my last 3 slide(s)
  • I ’m currently also head of e-research at DANS, the … DANS hosts a pure digital archive with datasets mainly from the social sciences and humanities: archeology, history, sociology: data=census data; pdf’s of reports for archeological investigations; survey results; interviews; …. DANS has partnered a lot of EP projects from the SURF foundation Veteran tapes – linking to interview audiofile in the archive But also tool development Often described as a niche which can nurture experiments which are under the thread to be marginalised in the domains What an institution as DANS can offer also is to maintain EP ’s With the veteran tapes we preserve the data – while the publication is hosted just on a website With the ingestion of EP into NARCIS the Dutch research information system we go one step further
  • Narcis contains information on all researchers at Dutch universities and since last year also enhanced publications: pilot ’s in archeology and in dissertations
  • Keep experimenting! Let us know – blog – what you think and which experiments you done! If you want to use our tools and have questions do not hesitate to contact us Follow our progress at the website Let us know if you have an interest in attending a hands-on workshop with tools of our project and or others!

KCL CeRch presentation, enhanced scholarly publications, 27march2012 KCL CeRch presentation, enhanced scholarly publications, 27march2012 Presentation Transcript