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The Digital Scholar: The Nature of Scholarship

Scholarly promotes:

  • Discovering knowledge
  • Adding layers
  • Comparing
  • Referencing and acknowledging
  • Sampling
  • Illustrating
  • Representing

Palmer, Teffeau and Pirmann (2009)

  • Searching (browsing)
  • Collecting
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Collaborating

Boyer (1990)

Need to recruit to teach, not research.

‘Knowledge is acquired through research, synthesis, practice and teaching’. Boyer (1990)

• Discovery

• Application

• Teaching

Favours humanities, lone scholars and a culture of ‘possessive individualism’ (Rosenzweig, 2007)

Isn’t the term digital harking back to the 1990s? Should we not be talking about E-scholarship?

• Build

• Create tools to build and analyse

• New intellectual products

Borgman (2007)

‘The Internet lies at the core of an advanced scholarly information infrastructure to facilitate distributed, data and information-intensive collaborative research’.

N.B. The sharing of data and data itself constitute knowledge capital, comparable with published articles

  • Changes in how scholars communicate, outputs and the networks they operate in.
  • Discovery or ‘genesis research’
  • Datasets being more readily shared.
  • Data visualisation and information is beautiful.

New forms of journal publishing see the journal of Visualized Experiments. http://www.Jove.com

John Seely Brown

Academics as brand

Outreach and viral appeal …when the right person tweets you.

Through openness of two kinds, sharing and being.

Higher citation impact of open articles of 36% to 172%

Networking = crowd sourcing

Lazy web = access to experts

Reciprocity is key

The relationship between a blogger and a reader is maintained if the blogger provides interesting and regular updates.

An economy of reciprocity

The more you give online that is of value to those in your network then the more ‘credit’ you establish.

Sarah Horrigan (2009) lists Twitter etiquette that could be … Advice on establishing reciprocity.

• Fill in your profile

• Picture please

• Not a private club

• Participate

• Update

• Learn the importance of @ and ‘d’.

• Retweet selectively

Nowak and Roche (2007)

Upstream reciprocity

A recipient of an act of kindness is more likely to help others.

Openness the sine qua non

• Sharing

• Reciprocity

GSA. Centralise LMSs:

David Wiley

Michael Wesch

Larry Lessor

Where Academics get stuck – identity and status.

Zittrain (2008) ‘generatively’ ‘a system’s capacity to produce unanticipated change through unfiltered contributions from broad and varied audiences’.

Low product OERs encourages further participation. The implicit message in these OERs is that the consumer can become a producer – they are an invitation to participate precisely because of their low quality.


In educational terms it may be that both (big OERs and little OERs) have a role to play within a learning context or course. Learners may want to feel the reassurance of the quality brand material for core content, but they may also want a mixture of the more social, participatory media that encourages them to contribute’.

  • Joshua Bell playing on the underground story.
  • Top violinist using an instrument worth 3.5 million dollars.
  • Context of big OER compared to little.
  • Naive to think putting stuff onto YouTube will get it noticed.

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