Synchronous meeting with Martin Weller in #change 11 (Notes)

These are unedited notes taken during the synchronous meeting via Fuze on Sept. 28th, 2011 (11:00 am GMT-5).

When we look at what is being done in educational technology, many of the ideas are the same as what we talked about 5 years ago: Youtube, blogs, etc. Even though technology advances fast, this does not mean the field of ed. tech. has moved as fast.

Defining digital scholarship. Not come up with a definition. Is shorthand for three things come together: Open, Networked,

Digital. It's a mindset as well as the putting together of these three elements.

View of scholarship from the 90s: Discovery, Integration (interdisciplinary work), Application (putting the knowledge to work), Teaching. Survey of what scholars actually do. All things are important and have equal weight.

Tension in digital scholarship: We can do things we could not do before (like this course). Few scholars make use of Web 2.0 tools in their research and there seems to be resistence to these tools. Some even see them as dangerous.

Research found no evidence that the young, tech-savvy Doctoral students or Post Docs are changing the publishing practices of old.

Blogging is sort of counter-intuitive and opposite to the training of scientists: It supposed to be spontaneous, present incomplete ideas, parts of ideas, opinions. Scientists are trained to do the opposite (and publish in a peer reviewed journal).

Institutions are risk-resistant.

Research and research institutions are conservative.

Culture of blogging (tweeter): write, read others, comment... How does this culture relate to the academic culture of the disciplines.

Part of a definition of research is that advances are shared. It does not mentions scholarly journals or peer reviewing... Shared.

Universities have effectively outsourced evaluation of candidates to the publishers. It is those who publish. With this in mind, publishers have the power over who is a valuable scholar.

Proposal for digital scholarship:

  • Find digital equivalents
  • Guidelines that include it
  • Metrics
  • Peer-assessment
  • Micro-credit... blog posts = x points... Peer reviewed journals = y points.
  • Alternative methods

We tend to adapt technology to our current practices instead of allowing it to free us from past errors.

Should we formally recognise digital scholarship?

People who are tech. savvy can be dismissed, frowned upon, just because of this. This label could frighten young scholars from embracing digital scholarship. Being called a techie, labeled a techie, would be problematic for their future.

The conference format promotes peer-reviewed presentations... Other formats?

A few comments and questions that still roam in my geeky mind:

  • Could digital scholarship ever go mainstream? I feel this is really hard. It requieres a change in beliefs, attitudes, practices and also there are serious business interests in the current framework, especially from publishers. No one likes to relinquish his power. Digital scholarship can be a very interesting, rich option for people who are already part of the "digital world", read blogs, tweet, look for open access journals and create their own PLEs... But those who don't... I don't know!
  • What other formats of conference could be useful, valuable, accepted? Some unconference formats?
  • Institutions cannot requiere their scholars to go digital but governments can take some steps. The idea someone put up in the chat during the sessions and that I've seen online a few times now is very sound, powerful and interesting, but again, the publishing industry would be at risk: Every paper based on publicly funded research, should be freely available. Would there be anyone not part of the publishing business disagreeing with this? Scholars maybe, because they would lose income sources?


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