1.x Social Knowledge Creation in Electronic Journals and Monographs

*Biagioli, Mario. 2002. “From Book Censorship to Academic Peer Review.” Emergences 12 (1): 11–45. doi:10.1080/1045722022000003435.

Biagioli details the historical and epistemological shifts that have led to the academic peer review system as it is now known. Contrary to its contemporary role, peer review began as an early modern disciplinary technique closely related to book censorship and required for social and scholarly certification of institutions and individuals alike. The rise of academic journals shifted this constrained and royally-mandated position; no longer a self-sustaining system of judgment and reputation dictated by a small group of identified and accredited professionals, (often blind) peer review now focuses on disseminating knowledge and scholarship to the wider community. Biagioli also states that journals have moved from officially representing specific academic institutions to being community owned and operated, as responsibilities, duties, and readership are now dispersed among a group of like-minded scholars.

*Borgman, Christine L. 2007. Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Borgman lays out research questions and hypotheses concerning the evolving scholarly infrastructure and modes of communication in the digital environment. She deduces that the inherent social elements of scholarship endure, despite new technologies that alter significantly the way scholarship is performed, disseminated, and archived. Scholarship and scholarly activities continue to exist in a social network of varying actors and priorities. Notably, Borgman focuses on the “data deluge”—the increasing amount of generated data and data accessed for research purposes. The influences of large data sets, as well as how these data sets will be preserved in keeping with library and archival conventions, are subjects of particular significance. Overall, Borgman synthesizes the various aspects of contemporary scholarship, and reflects on the increasingly pervasive digital environment.

Christie, Alex, and the INKE and MVP Research Groups. 2014. “Interdisciplinary, Interactive, and Online: Building Open Communication Through Multimodal Scholarly Articles and Monographs.” Scholarly and Research Communication 5 (4): n.p. http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/view/190.

Christie considers the possibilities for uniting text-based scholarship with multimodal content. He focuses on features and platforms that are suitable for both text-based and multimedia scholarship, and suggests that digital scholarly publishing may better facilitate interaction between humanities scholars and the public. For Christie, rethinking scholarly communication in these ways must be supported by advanced cyberinfrastructure. The knowledge products and environments that result must also privilege multimedia, interactivity, user engagement, and implementation. This sort of platform thinking inheres a strategic reconsideration of interactivity, interdisciplinarity, design, and infrastructure investment.

Cohen, Daniel J. 2012. “The Social Contract of Scholarly Publishing.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold, 319–Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/27.

Cohen remarks on the social contract of scholarly publishing—the contract between the producers (authors, editors, publishers) and the consumers (readers), or the “supply side” and the “demand side.” According to Cohen, individuals on the supply side have become increasingly experimental in recent years, but there has not been enough attention paid to the demand side. Cohen asserts that a thorough consideration of the demand side is necessary for the social contract to endure into the digital age. To accomplish this, academics must think more socially and become increasingly cognizant of the design, packaging, and outreach of their publishing ventures.

*Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. 2012. “Beyond Metrics: Community Authorization and Open Peer Review.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold, 452–59. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.    http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/7.

Fitzpatrick calls for a reform of scholarly communication via open peer review. She argues that the Internet has provoked a conceptual shift wherein (textual) authority is no longer measured by a respected publisher’s stamp; rather, she contends, authority is now located in the community. As concepts of authority change and evolve in the digital sphere, so should methods. Peer review should be opened to various scholars in a field, as well as to non-experts from other fields and citizen scholars. Fitzpatrick claims that this sort of crowdsourcing of peer review could more accurately represent scholarly and non-scholarly reaction, contribution, and understanding. Digital humanities and new media scholars already have the tools to measure digital engagement with a work; now, a better model of peer review should be implemented to take advantage of the myriad, social, networked ways scholarship is (or could be) produced.

*—. 2009. “Peer-To-Peer Review and the Future of Scholarly Authority.” Cinema Journal 48 (2): 124–29. doi:10.1353/cj.0.0095.

Fitzpatrick explains that decentralized and displaced authority structures are taking over scholarly communication, and intellectual authority is shifting to spaces such as Wikipedia. Scholars must therefore embrace similarly open structures and public access, or the academic world will appear divorced from real world practices. For this reason, online peer-reviewed journals should not follow print practices of peer review, but must adapt and shape a new scholarly system. Current peer review processes do not necessarily ensure that the best work is in circulation, and in fact tend to replicate hierarchical and status-based privileges. Fitzpatrick argues for open process, web native modes of peer review in a peer-to-peer structure. Finally, she advocates for the need to articulate these values and standards to credentialing bodies in order for a more appropriate model of intellectual authorization to emerge.

*—. 2011. Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy. New York: New York University Press. (“Introduction: Obsolescence,” 1–14, and Chapter 3: “Texts,” 89–120, are accessible at http://raley.english.ucsb.edu/wp-content2/uploads/234/Fitzpatrick.pdf.)

Fitzpatrick duly surveys and calls for a reform of academic publishing. She argues for more interactivity, communication, and peer-to-peer review, as well as a significant move toward digital scholarly publishing. Fitzpatrick demonstrates that the current mode of scholarly publishing is economically unviable. Moreover, tenure and promotion practices based primarily on traditional modes of scholarly publishing need to be reformed. Fitzpatrick acknowledges certain touchstones of the academy (peer review, scholarship, sharing ideas), and how these tenets have been overshadowed by priorities shaped, in part, by mainstream academic publishing practices and concepts. She details her own work with CommentPress, and the benefits of publishing online with an infrastructure that enables widespread dissemination as well as concurrent reader participation via open peer review.

*Fjällbrant, Nancy. 1997. “Scholarly Communication—Historical Development and New Possibilities.” In Proceedings of the IATUL Conferences. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Libraries e-Pubs. http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1389&context=iatul.

​In order to study the widespread transition of scholarly communication from print to electronic formats, Fjällbrant details the history of the scientific journal. Academic journals had emerged in seventeenth-century Europe, and the first of these, the Journal des Sçavans, was published in 1665 in Paris. The first learned societies formed at this time—the Royal Society in London and the Académie des Sciences in Paris—were primarily concerned with the dissemination of knowledge, and the scholarly journal developed out of a desire by researchers to share their findings with others in a cooperative forum. Following the lead of the Royal Society, some of whose members had read the Journal des Sçavans, other societies established similar serial publications. Although there were other contemporaneous forms of scholarly communication, including the letter, the scientific book, the newspaper, and the cryptic anagram system, the journal emerged as a primary source of scholarly communication. It met the needs of various stakeholders: the general public, booksellers and publishers, libraries, authors who wished to make their work public and claim ownership, the scientific community invested in reading and applying other scientists’ findings, and academic institutions that required metrics for evaluating faculty.

*Guédon, Jean-Claude. 2008. “Digitizing and the Meaning of Knowledge.” Academic Matters (October–November): 23–26. http://www.academicmatters.ca/assets/AM_SEPT’08.pdf.

Guédon briefly sketches the recent history of scholarly communication and publishing and meditates on alternatives to the current state of affairs. He concludes that although open source publishing is a relatively recent phenomenon, it adroitly embodies the ethos and traditional practices of scholarship (especially in the sciences). For Guédon, open source publishing represents the open, endless appropriation of knowledge and disciplinewide conversation that has traditionally defined academic work. Guédon champions this move toward open, shared knowledge versus the continued exploitation of academics, librarians, and universities by the large corporate publishing companies currently relied upon for scholarly communication and accreditation.

Guldi, Jo. 2013. “Reinventing the Academic Journal.” In Hacking the Academy: New Approaches to Scholarship and Teaching from Digital Humanities, edited by Daniel J. Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, 19–24. Ann Arbor: University  of  Michigan  Press.  doi:10.3998/dh.12172434.0001.001.

Guldi calls for a rethinking of scholarly journal practices in light of the emergence and allowances of Web 2.0. She argues that journals can re-establish themselves as forthright facilitators of knowledge creation if they adopt notions of interoperability, curation, multimodal scholarship, open access, networked expertise, and transparency regarding review and timelines. For Guldi, the success of the academic journal depends on incorporating social bookmarking tools and wiki formats. Journals should assume a progressive attitude predicated on sharing and advancing knowledge instead of a limiting view based on exclusivity, profit, and intellectual authority.

Liu, Alan. 2009. “The End of the End of the Book: Dead Books, Lively Margins, and Social Computing.” Michigan Quarterly Review 48 (4): 499–520.

Liu argues that books have always, in a sense, been social media. He acknowledges the increase in bibliographic and material textual studies and the correspondences between new digital reading environments and the book, with a focus on paratextual materials and marginality. In this way, Liu contests apocalyptic claims of the death of the book. Notably, Liu channels his assertions through an analysis of humanities-based digital research projects: Collex, Open Journal Systems, and PreE. He suggests that these environments allow for more thoughtful online engagement and user operability (the capacity to effectively and easily manipulate and tailor research practices) than their mainstream counterparts. The trend toward reading, researching, and writing in digital spaces does not herald the end of the book; rather, certain digital humanities projects are synthesizing integral reading practices in order to improve and facilitate more widespread knowledge production, with an eye to the inherent sociality of texts.

*Lorimer, Rowland. 2013. “Libraries, Scholars, and Publishers in Digital Journal and Monograph Publishing.” Scholarly and Research Communication 4 (1): n.p. File/43/117.

Lorimer briefly details the last forty years of scholarly publishing to explicate the current state of affairs. He asserts that a reorganization of the academic publishing infrastructure would greatly encourage forthright contributions to knowledge, especially concerning academic journals and monographs. The splitting of the university press from the university (except in name), coupled with funding cuts and consequent entrepreneurial publishing projects, has hampered the possibilities of academic publishing. If all of the actors of digital scholarly communication—libraries, librarians, scholars on editorial boards, technologically-inclined researchers, programmers, digital humanists, and publishing professionals—were brought together in an inclusive collaboration, digital technology could yield significant benefits for the future of scholarship and knowledge creation.

*O’Donnell, Daniel, Heather Hobma, Sandra Cowan, Gillian Ayers, Jessica Bay, Marinus Swanepoel, Wendy Merkley, Kelaine Devine, Emma Dering, and Inge Genee. 2015. “Aligning Open Access Publication with the Research and Teaching Missions of the Public University: The Case of the Lethbridge Journal Incubator (If ‘if’s and ‘and’s were pots and pans).” Journal of Electronic Publishing 18 (3): n.p. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jep/3336451.0018.309?view=text;rgn=main.

O’Donnell et al. introduce the Lethbridge Journal Incubator: a project based out of the University of Lethbridge that considers the sustainability of open access publishing in the university. Committing to open access has been a historically difficult choice for academic institutions, as its business model often relies on the complete financial support of the institutions themselves (compared to a subscription system, in which resources can be negotiated across publishers and publications). The Lethbridge Journal Incubator acknowledges the “hidden value” of open access publication, and asks institutions to subsidize this activity in the name of public good as well as to improve the institution’s own research and teaching abilities. This model relies on re-conceptualizing the scholarly communication production process as one with intrinsic value: for the Lethbridge Journal Incubator, the value lies in the research and training opportunities available for graduate students who are engaged in the project.

*Siemens, Raymond G. 2002. “Scholarly Publishing at its Source, and at Present.” In The Credibility of Electronic Publishing: A Report to the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada, compiled by Raymond G. Siemens, Michael Best, Elizabeth  Grove-White, Alan Burk, James Kerr, Andy Pope, Jean-Claude Guédon, Geoffrey Rockwell, and Lynne Siemens. TEXT Technology 11 (1): 1–128.

Siemens’s introduction to this report focuses on the rethinking of scholarly communication practices in light of new digital forms. He meditates on this topic through the framework of ad fontes—the act, or conception, of going to the source. As he argues, scholars should look at the source or genesis of scholarly communication. For Siemens, the source goes beyond the seventeenth-century inception of the academic print journal to include less formal ways of communicating and disseminating knowledge—i.e., verbal exchanges, epistolary correspondence, and manuscript circulation. In this way, scholars can look past the popular, standard academic journal and into a future of scholarly communication that productively involves varied scholarly traditions and social knowledge practices.

*Van de Sompel, Herbert, Sandy Payette, John Erickson, Carl Lagoze, and Simeon Warner. 2004. “Rethinking Scholarly Communication: Building the System that Scholars Deserve.” D-Lib Magazine 10 (9): doi:10.1045/september2004-vandesompel.

Van de Sompel, Payette, Erickson, Lagoze, and Warner ruminate on transforming scholarly communication to better serve and facilitate knowledge creation. They primarily target the current academic journal system, which they see as constraining scholarly work because it is expensive, difficult to access, and print-biased. The authors propose a digital system for scholarly communication that more accurately incorporates ideals of interoperability, adaptability, innovation, documentation, and democratization. This proposed system would be implemented as a concurrent knowledge production environment instead of as a mere stage, annex, or afterthought for scholarly work.