Digital scholarship - all day workshop


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I ran two digital scholarship workshops in Portugal, which lasted the whole day, and were divided into 4 sessions. These combine some previous talks.

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  • As John Naughton notes we are in the middle of a revolution and it’s difficult to know what the outcome will be
    Therefore you should always be suspicious of people who pretend to know the answers as they’re usually selling something
    So, I used the term ‘lessons’ just because it made a better title, a more accurate one would have been:
  • But I think we all agree that’s not as snappy.
    So onto the lessons
  • Written a book recently, so more detail in that if you’re interested.
    Book was example – published by BloomsburyAcademic – buy hardcopy of read free online under a CC licence
  • People get hung up on definitions – when I use digital scholarship it’s really a shorthand for these 3 factors:
    Digital content, distributed via global and social network, and mediated through open technologies and practices
  • I spend a lot of time wit geeks and developers. And they’re great, but it sometimes feels like another language and divorced from what you do.
  • When the astronomer royal says this, you know it isn’t a hobbyist thing.
  • It’s dangerous to dismiss it as being about a particular technology or for more techy people. It’s about very fundamental scholarly activity and practice
  • So, is there an equivalent happening in research? Could we speed up the innovation cycle?
  • Lots of studies recently have reported a rather conservative approach
    Why might this be so?
  • Don’t waste time on all this non-traditional output stuff
    Is this what happens in other industries?
  • It goes against our training and instincts
  • Successful networks have been developed and researchers return to these, thus not valuing online ones as much
  • Are there consistent cultural norms across these new tools? Same could be said of twitter.
    Do people who use these tools successfully adopt these cultural norms?
  • How do these new norms then sit with existing disciplinary ones? Are they ‘more sticky’?
    Have two bloggers in different disciplines got more in common than a blogger and non-blogger in the same discipline?
  • At the OU we used to do TV programmes for our courses, and here’s a parody of them
  • We still make TV but are also developing web native content.
    But more interesting I think is the material produced by individual academics, which wasn’t possible before
  • As part of their normal function, scholars produce the following:
    It doesn’t take much effort to turn all of these into shareable digital outputs.
  • These outputs have different characteristics to the type of public engagement we used to do
  • We’re only at the beginning of this – all of these might be skills the new researcher will need, and which funders will increasingly want evidence for
  • This conference is being amplified so others can join in
    Ran the OU conference as all online
    The backchannel can affect the mood.
    So even if you’re not involved in any of these media, it will impact upon the conference, which is at the heart of scholarly practice
  • Network weather
  • 2.7 comments per post – so don’t expect high ration of commenters to subscribers
    Took good year to get going
    Can’t predict what is a popular post
  • Run through it, (show Friendfeed)
    Take Flickr photo
  • I did a blog post on a half-thought through idea and then got asked to run a workshop on it. So let this stand as a warning to the perils of blogging
  • Both tony and I want to tease out what the term might mean, if there is any value in it, and how you might go about it
    I’ll look at how it relates to research & also some examples to show what I mean by it
    Then it’s Tony
    Then I have a group activity
  • The term has been used in interface design to refer to a quick, good enough way of getting feedback
  • We are accustomed to thinking about research as it is on the left, but the digital, networked open approach also offers the possibility of theprocess on the right
  • Key to this is a DIY kind of mentality – you can do all these things yourself now, from your own bedroom/study/office
    That’s quite a fundamental shift and I’m not sure we’ve really taken it on board as researchers yet
  • The key element is permission I think, and this goes back to the architecture of the internet. This is Lessig’s review of the film The Social Network, and the point he stresses is that it was the removal of the barrier of permission that allowed facebook (and all those other start-ups) to flourish
  • It’s not really a manifesto, but let’s pretend
    Some principles that characterise guerrilla research
  • As academic researchers we’ve been enculturated into a particular mindset as to what constitutes research. We think of it as being a certain size r shape. Often those were the results of logistical constraints eg the journal article is determined largely by the economics of print
    We can now rethink the size and shape of research
  • Not in competition with trad research, bigger toolkit
  • We don’t see the waste in the current system because it’s accepted
    But a guerrilla approach may be more efficient, produce more shareable stuff
    Most of these rejected bids are lost
    Going to look at examples now
  • Example around data – travel blogs have generated a lot of research, here identity, marketing, methodology all covered
  • It’s a strange time to be into open ed
    It’s seeing more investment, headlines, interest, and uptake than ever before
    And yet it feels like it’s also being overtaken somewhat
    Is this just the price we pay for being popular, like when a band makes it big?
  • The next big development in openness will be open policies – these can be a department making OA policy, a national OA policy, or formal adoption of open textbooks in state schools, etc
  • Open Learn has around 2 million visitors annually, over 10,000 hours worth of learning
    Sustainable model
    100s of projects all over the globe, in all diferent languages.
    Used by people to supplement learning, to test it out, to self learn.
    If include things like iTunes U, Khan academy, etc then even bigger.
  • Coursera, udacity, FutureLearn, iversity, Open2study – hundreds of 1000s of people learning freely.
    It’s made open education popular. Before you couldn’t get a meeting, now they’re callig you.
    It was on Newsnight!
    George: if education was grunge, MOOCs were its Nirvana
  • Impact is being recognised of online identity
    Blogging isn’t just for weirdos
    Picked up by press, leads to citations, networks, keynote – vital part of modern academic identity
    Formal part of many research projects now – dissemination, network, alternative media
  • Digital scholarship - all day workshop

    1. 1. Digital Scholarship Martin Weller
    2. 2. This morning • 10-10.15 Introduction (15 mins) • 10.15 – 11.15 Digital Scholarship overview (1hr) • 11.15 – 11.45 Discussion (30 mins) • (Coffee?) • 11.45 – 12.15 Looking at some tools (30 mins) • 12.15 – 12.45 Planning a strategy (30 mins) • 12.45 – 13.00 Plenary (15 mins) • 13.00 – 14.00 Lunch!
    3. 3. Aims of the day • To raise awareness of digital scholarship – Possibilities – Issues – Concepts • To share concerns/experience • To develop a strategy to take away • To provide a ‘toolkit’ for working digitally
    4. 4. Introduction State one anxiety & one thing that interests you about digital scholarship
    5. 5. 5 Digital Scholarship lessons Martin Weller
    6. 6. Aim of this session Get us thinking and talking about issues in digital scholarship
    7. 7. <Alternative title> Some things I’ve come to believe after thinking about the impact of technology for a few years, accompanied by some tenuously connected, and sometimes amusing, videos
    8. 8. The Digital Scholar book
    9. 9. Definition
    10. 10. What is open scholarship? Anderson (2009) open scholars: • create; • use and contribute open educational resources; • self archive; • apply their research; • do open research; • filter and share with others; • support emerging open learning alternatives; • publish in open access journals; • comment openly on the works of others • build networks
    11. 11. Weller (2011) open scholars are likely to: • Have a distributed online identity • Have a central place for their identity • Have cultivated an online network of peers • Have developed a personal learning environment from a range of tools • Engage with open publishing • Create a range of informal outputs • Try new technologies • Mix personal and professional outputs • Use new technologies to support teaching and research • Automatically create and share outputs
    12. 12. It’s not just for geeks
    13. 13. But it’s also about: • Knowledge sharing • Knowledge creation • Networking • Generating ideas • Communicating • Democratisation of learning
    14. 14. Aren’t those all scholarly activities?
    15. 15. Sir Martin Rees: “ archive transformed the literature of physics, establishing a new model for communication over the whole of science. Far fewer people today read traditional journals. These have so far survived as guarantors of quality. But even this role may soon be trumped by a more informal system of quality control, signaled by the approbation of discerning readers”
    16. 16. Lesson 1: Accept it’s relevant to you
    17. 17. Researchers are caught in a dilemma
    18. 18. But researchers aren’t keen “frequent or intensive use is rare, and some researchers regard blogs, wikis and other novel forms of communication as a waste of time or even dangerous” (Proctor, Williams and Stewart (2010) Carpenter et al describe researchers as ‘risk averse’ and ‘behind the curve in using digital technology’ Harley et al (2010) “We found no evidence to suggest that “tech-savvy” young graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or assistant professors are bucking traditional publishing practices”
    19. 19. Is it tenure? “The advice given to pre-tenure scholars was consistent across all fields: focus on publishing in the right venues and avoid spending too much time on public engagement, committee work, writing op- ed pieces, developing websites, blogging, and other non-traditional forms of electronic dissemination”
    20. 20. Is it caution? Waldrop 2008 (on blogging) ““It's so antithetical to the way scientists are trained," Duke University geneticist Huntington F. Willard said... The whole point of blogging is spontaneity--getting your ideas out there quickly, even at the risk of being wrong or incomplete. “But to a scientist, that's a tough jump to make,” says Willard. “When we publish things, by and large, we've gone through a very long process of drafting a paper and getting it peer reviewed.”
    21. 21. Is it habit? Kroll & Forsman “Almost all researchers have created a strong network of friends and colleagues and they draw together the same team repeatedly for new projects… Everyone emphasizes the paramount importance of interpersonal contact as the vital basis for agreeing to enter into joint work. Personal introductions, conversations at meetings or hearing someone present a paper were cited as key in choosing collaborators.”
    22. 22. New cultural norms What are the cultural norms of blogging? • a willingness to share thoughts and experiences with others at an early stage; • the importance of getting input from others on an idea or opinion; • launching collaborative projects that would be very difficult or impossible to achieve alone; • gathering information from a high number of sources every day; • control over the sources and aggregation of their news; • the existence of a ‘common code’: a vocabulary, a way to write posts and behaviour codes such as quoting other sources when you use them, linking into them, commenting on other posts and so on; • a culture of speed and currency, with a preference to post or react instantaneously; and • a need for recognition – bloggers want to express themselves and get credit for it. (Le Muir 2005)
    23. 23. How ‘sticky’ are these cultural norms?
    24. 24. Lesson 2: Resolve the tension between existing and new practice
    25. 25. We’re all broadcasters now Public engagement used to look like this:
    26. 26. Now looks like this:
    27. 27. Research papers Lectures/Teaching content Conferences Data Code IdeasDebate A long tail content production system
    28. 28. Digital outputs • Low cost (free?) • Small but unpredictable audience • Open • No compromise • High reuse potential • Different distribution
    29. 29. • Video • Networks • Data visualisation • Analytics • Curation/filtering • Writing for online • Liveblogging Researcher skills
    30. 30. There is evidence that open access journals have higher citation measures, downloads and views than those in toll-access databas (e.g. Lawrence 2001; Antelman 2004; Harnad and Brody 2004), although Davis (2010) suggests it leads only to increased readership and not citation. Tweets can predict highly cited articles within the first 3 days of article publication. (Eysenbach 2012) Blogging leads to more downloads of papers (anecdotal) Personal reputation, keynote invites (anecdotal) Complementary to traditional practice
    31. 31. Lesson 3: Use the network to enhance engagement and dissemination
    32. 32. It affects all practice
    33. 33. Conferences • Amplified • Online • Backchannel
    34. 34. The new conference archive
    35. 35. Alternative formats • Barcamp • Pre-presentation • Voting • Produce something
    36. 36. Network Weather • The irritating guy with the popped collar standing next to you at the bar? He paid less for his G&T than you did, because he’s the Mayor of this place on Foursquare, and the management has cannily decreed Mayors get a 5% discount. Ten minutes from now, the place is going to fill up with his equally annoying buddies, absolutely ruining your hope of a quiet drink. And they’re going to show up not because he did so much as call them to tell them where he’d be, but because he’s got things set so his Foursquare account automatically posts to his Facebook page. • You’ll settle up and leave, miffed, and ease on down the road a spell to a place you know where you can get a decent bowl of penne … Except the Italian place is gone, gone because it racked up too many nasty reviews on Yelp, or somebody Googlebombed its listing, or its hundred healthcode violations made it positively radioactive on Everyblock. • … if you don’t know what they are and how they work, you’ll never have the foggiest clue why things shook out the way they did. Your evening will have a completely different shape and texture than what it would have prior to the advent of ubiquitous mobile Internet. You’ll have been tossed this way and that by the gusts and squalls of network weather. • (Adam Greenfield)
    37. 37. The academic version • When you arrive you are disappointed to find out that someone who has attended the last three years running and who you always have a meal with has stayed at home because they can attend remotely. In the opening session the keynote speaker makes a claim that someone checks and passes around via twitter and it seems they have misrepresented the research findings. There is a noticeable change in atmosphere and the questions the speaker receives are more challenging than you usually encounter. In another session the speaker takes questions from the remote audience, which includes students and this generates a very good discussion about the learner perspective. • That evening the conference bar seems rather empty that evening, and seeing an old colleague he informs you that there is an alternative conference Facebook page, and they have arranged a meeting in a local bar, with a discussion theme. • The next day the afternoon doesn’t have any presentations, instead it has a barcamp format where the participants seek to create a set of learning resources, and a link up with four remote hubs in different cities.
    38. 38. Lesson 4: It’ll impact even if you ignore it
    39. 39. Don’t focus just on risk
    40. 40. • Carr - we're all destined to become stupid, dysfunctional & lessened by the technology • Lanier we are placing technology in too powerful a position and dehumanising ourselves in the process • Turkle - the more we communicate, the more alone and isolated we are becoming
    41. 41. Tversky and Kahneman: We give risk/loss more weight
    42. 42. James Boyle: “We are very good at seeing the downsides and the dangers of open systems, open production systems, networks of openness. .. Those dangers are real… we are not so good at seeing the benefits and the converse holds true for the closed system.”
    43. 43. Who knows where it will end up?
    44. 44. Lesson 5: Embrace unpredictability
    45. 45. To recap 1. Accept it’s relevant to you 2. Resolve the tension between existing and new practice 3. Use the network for engagement and promotion 4. It’ll impact on all practice 5. Embrace unpredictability
    46. 46. The Good News! • Exciting times • Innovation is possible • New teaching impact eg Phonar • New Research impact eg social media • New connections eg virtual research groups
    47. 47. The bad news… • You have to play the traditional game too • There is risk • Will see increased control • Not well understood by people who matter • Can’t afford not to
    48. 48. Allows experimentation Academic identity = Online identity Complements ‘normal’ practice Gives a greater toolbox It’s the fun part of being a scholar Take control Why do it?
    49. 49. Discussion points • Have you experience of that tension between existing practice & new possibilities? • How can you use the network for dissemination? • What aspects will it impact upon for you? • What are the risks you feel? • Are there new cultural norms emerging? • If so, how do these intersect with traditional ones?
    50. 50. <break>
    51. 51. Session 2: Tools & Dissemination
    52. 52. Aim of session • To look at some tools • To think about a strategy
    53. 53. Getting heard Establish an online identity Be a good networker Tag 16 my secret identity by chanchan222 anchan222/3219255790/
    54. 54. Some numbers Blog (since 2006) – 300,000 views Blipfoto - 92,000 views over 420 entries Citations - 1,620 Slideshare - 220,000 views (6 years, 59 presentations) Colored dice by sgs 1019: within/133942381/
    55. 55. Confession • I don’t know what these numbers mean in terms of impact! I don’t know what these numbers mean in terms of impact
    56. 56. Complementary process link links promotes automatic publish comments subscribes discusses retweets
    57. 57. Twitter • Decide the level of personal • Find good people to connect to • Look at lists • Don’t just broadcast • Project or personal account • es/files/2011/11/Published- Twitter_Guide_Sept_2011.pdf
    58. 58. Blogs • Project or personal • Integrate different media • Get some momentum • Reach the pay-off • WordPress + plugins • Subscribe to others • Add comments • Tweet posts
    59. 59. YouTube • What will you share? • Link to other outputs • Create playlists • Experiment • See also Vimeo, animoto, xtranormal
    60. 60. Slideshare • Easy way to share outputs • Sadly no longer slidecasts (create vid) • Make sharing default • Good stats
    61. 61. Scoop.It + • Curation is a very useful contribution • Often doing this anyway • Subscribe to others • Tweet • Also Mendeley, CuteULike, etc
    62. 62. • Academic focused site • Also ResearchGate • Department presence
    63. 63. Google analytics • Embed on any webpage • Build stats into reporting • Use to inform research •
    64. 64. Others • Flickr • Blipfoto • Facebook • Depends on your project and aim
    65. 65. A strategy • OER Research Hub ( • Blog – rota (2-3K visits per month, 161 posts) • Twitter (2k followers) • Scoop.It • YouTube Channel • Slideshare channel • Impact map ( • Infographics • Open course • Integrated part of project
    66. 66. Activity • Develop a personal or project strategy using combination of tools • Explore some tools • Develop a quick strategy that addresses: – What tool(s) you will use – Who is the audience? – How will you sustain it? – What would success look like? – Why would you use those tool(s)?
    67. 67. Some links • ( • (oer research) • ( • (Martin Weller) • (@oer_hub) • • ( • ( • ( •
    68. 68. Afternoon session • Session 3 • 14.00-14.30 The art of Guerrilla Research (30 mins) • 14.30 – 15.00 Group activity (30 mins) • Session 4: • 15.00- 15.30 Openness & you (30 mins) • 15.30 – 16.00 Your strategy (30 mins)
    69. 69. The art of guerrilla research Martin Weller 5981013497/
    70. 70. Aim • To demonstrate how digital scholarship offers new methods • To think about new methods • To develop a strategy for lightweight research
    71. 71. What is guerrilla research? Guerrilla research methods are faster, lower-cost methods that provide sufficient enough insights to make informed strategic decisions (Ross Unger and Todd Warfel)
    72. 72. The research process • Have an idea • Write a proposal • Submit proposal • {wait} • Get funding • Do research • Write paper • {wait} • Publish • Have an idea • Do research • Blog it
    73. 73. DIY • Create a journal • Interrogate data • Disseminate findings • Create a community • Collaborate
    74. 74. “what’s important here is that Zuckerberg’s genius could be embraced by half-a-billion people within six years of its first being launched, without (and here is the critical bit) asking permission of anyone. The real story is not the invention. It is the platform that makes the invention sing.” (Larry Lessig)
    75. 75. The manifesto 1. It can be done by one or two researchers and does not require a team 2. It relies on existing open data, information and tools 3. It is fairly quick to realise 4. It is disseminated via blogs and social media 5. It doesn’t require permission
    76. 76. Relationship with ‘traditional’ research • We think of research as having a certain shape and size • This extends that
    77. 77. Complementary • Demonstrate potential of further work • Altmetrics as indicator of interest • Get ideas/collaborators for bigger project • Increase personal profile
    78. 78. More efficient? 12 days for a conventional proposal was the average (RCUK 2006) ESRC - only 17% of bids were successful in 2009-10 RCUK = 2006 £196 million on applications to the 8 UK research councils 2800 bids submitted to ESRC in 2009-10, an increase in 33% from 2005-6 ESRC - 2000 failed bids x 12 days per bid = 65 years of effort
    79. 79. Example1: The rich world of travel blogsGuided by a Bourdieusian lens, this article examines the negotiation of authenticity, distinction and identity in the websites and blogs of companies and tourists during the 2010 spring Mt Everest climbing season. (Kane 2012) This paper provides a discussion of the strengths, weaknesses and implications of using content analysis and narrative analysis on travel blogs The research reviewed the published literature and real-life examples of destination marketing organizations and tourism enterprises using blogs as part of their business strategy One important form is traveling, in which self- described “travelers” aim to dissociate themselves from tourism altogether. As travelers, rather than tourists, these people present themselves as engaged in a morally superior alternative that does not create the same problems as tourism.
    80. 80. • No permission • Rich source of data • Would have required interviews, recruitment, budget • Different methodology
    81. 81. Example 2: The meta-journal
    82. 82. • No permission (OA licensed articles) • Quick set up • No business case required • Allows for interdisciplinarity
    83. 83. Example 3: MOOC research Katy doing MOOC, blogs final assignment Picked up by Phil Hill at eliterate Becomes defacto piece on completion rates Invited to submit proposal for funding Conference & journal articles follow
    84. 84. • Used free tools • Openly available data (reports, papers, data) • Relies on open scholarship identity • Led to proper funding and publication • Being used for further bids
    85. 85. Example 4: Facebook app
    86. 86. • No special access to data • No permission required • Spare time • Adopted by OU as official app
    87. 87. Issues • Will someone steal my idea? • Can I account for it in my workplan? • Will it get me promoted? • Do I need technical skills?
    88. 88. Activity • In groups • Decide on one person’s subject area • Come up with a plan for how one (or two) element could be tackled by a guerrilla research approach – What would you need – What would it achieve – Why wouldn’t you do it • Report back
    89. 89. Session 4 – Openness & You
    90. 90. Aim • To consider aspects of open practice • To bring together all elements of the day in a personal strategy
    91. 91. The Battle for Open Martin Weller Sign the CC-BY license!
    92. 92. Central theme Openness has won… But now the real direction of openness is up for grabs
    93. 93. Roots of (modern) open ed • Open universities – open access, entry. Focus on methods, removing barriers, not free • Free software – 4 freedoms (purpose, change, redistribute, distribute modified). Emphasis on control • Open source – “given enough eyeballs all bugs are shallow”. Emphasis on efficiency • Web 2.0 – culture of sharing, open practice
    94. 94. Open access [Source: University of Southampton, ROARMAP, Published under a CC-BY license]
    95. 95. Major breakthroughs • “Free online access to scholarly works” • Major policies in many countries • Gold route & Green route • More than 50% have published OA • OA Impact advantage
    96. 96. Growth of OA Laakso M, Welling P, Bukvova H, Nyman L, Björk B-C, et al. (2011) The Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009. PLoS ONE 6(6): e20961.
    97. 97. The battle • Gold route • No incentive to innovate • Elsevier ‘take down’ on • Predatory OA journals • Changes relationship • Hybrid models
    98. 98. OERs
    99. 99. Major breakthroughs • OpenCourseware since 2001 (LOs earlier) • Repositories in major languages and areas • OCWC 260 institutions • Open Textbooks
    100. 100. Some findings Saylor: Increased enthusiasm for study (59%). Increased interest in subject (58%), Gaining confidence (50%) Over 30% of students reported studying their subject via OER before joining their course 60% CCCOER identified reduced cost of materials as a driver of student retention OpenStax downloads 120K times, leading to an estimated $3 million savings for students (Green 2013) Feldstein et al. (2013) 47% of students purchased the paper textbooks, 93% of students reading the free online textbook
    101. 101. MOOCs Image – David Kernohan
    102. 102. Awareness Figure 5.1: Google Trends plot of relative interest in MOOCs (red) and OERs (blue).
    103. 103. Uptake • Udacity, Iversity, Coursera, Open2Study, FutureLearn, EdX • Large registrations (Coursera 17m enrolments) • On Newsnight, in NYT, etc • “If education was grunge, MOOCs were its Nirvana” (George Siemens)
    104. 104. The battle • Not really open • Commercially driven adoption of open • Openness is the first casualty • Contracts with unis • Support for learners • Centralised platform & data • Sustainability
    105. 105. Open scholarship By Gideon Burton
    106. 106. Open practice • Online identity is now becoming the norm • Recognised by institution • Complements existing practice • Part of research projects • Area of innovation • Open research, open data
    107. 107. Activity • Develop a personal strategy that brings together everything from today • What do you plan to share? • What tools will you use? • Will you adopt open licences? • What will you do next week?
    108. 108. Conclusions & thanks! “If you're not making art with the intention of having it copied, you're not really making art for the twenty-first century.” Cory Doctorow