The very last presentation I am going to report on for SUNY Conference for Instruction and Technology is a panel discussion on scholarly communication in the 21st Century. Everyone on the panel recognized the need to update how research was disseminated and received scholarly credit based on new communication technologies.
As the panel noted, there is emergent access in scientific journals. Federal funding requires research to be made available to the public. As a result, more research is being made online and open access journals are increasingly getting cited.
The SUNY University Faculty Senate passed a resolution on open access journals. Basically, faculty should encourage and explore alternative publishing models. One idea mentioned is SUNY could run their own open access journal. Innovation grants can help set the direction of scholarly publishing.
The discussions led to talk about tenure and promotion. Question: when is a blog or ebook a scholarly publication?
Jenica Rogers from SUNY Potsdam spoke about the cost of journals. Prices are supposedly based on content value. You can choose to not purchase a journal package. What is the impact?
The Internet has brought us back to the core of scholarly communication. More people are involved than in silo paywalls. We need to find metrics to assess impact. One of the tools shared to help measure impact is called Impact Story.
One panel member left these observations:
- Faculty do not see publication as broken.
- Publication is about curating. Commercial products gives you a quality brand.
- Emotional attachment to brand. Need to move the conversation.
- Need to make writing real for students.
- We are what we measure. We need to measure impact.
Paul Schacht talked about the Digital Thoreau project. He talked about how students could explore the different edits of Walden because of the digital versions. Because the project used XML files, other scholars could use the filles for the own interpretation. Juxta used the XML files for a new interpretation. New tools are being developed. Paul Schacht has developed a community around Thoreau.
The final discussion centered around the role libraries could play. Libraries can help explore ways to work with alternative scholarship. They can help with copyright and licensing as well as project management.
Learning changes when the material is digital.
This was a great discussion that I wished could go longer. What has more impact, a blog that receives a readership of over a 100k or a journal article cited 10 times? I believe we should be working out loud like Adams and Jefferson who had written thousands of documents, many of them public.