Thursday, November 29, 2007

Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet

Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet

Christine L. Borgman

Scholars in all fields now have access to an unprecedented wealth of online information, tools, and services. The Internet lies at the core of an information infrastructure for distributed, data-intensive, and collaborative research. Although much attention has been paid to the new technologies making this possible, from digitized books to sensor networks, it is the underlying social and policy changes that will have the most lasting effect on the scholarly enterprise. In Scholarship in the Digital Age, Christine Borgman explores the technical, social, legal, and economic aspects of the kind of infrastructure that we should be building for scholarly research in the twenty-first century.

Borgman describes the roles that information technology plays at every stage in the life cycle of a research project and contrasts these new capabilities with the relatively stable system of scholarly communication, which remains based on publishing in journals, books, and conference proceedings. No framework for the impending "data deluge" exists comparable to that for publishing. Analyzing scholarly practices in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, Borgman compares each discipline's approach to infrastructure issues. In the process, she challenges the many stakeholders in the scholarly infrastructure--scholars, publishers, libraries, funding agencies, and others--to look beyond their own domains to address the interaction of technical, legal, economic, social, political, and disciplinary concerns. Scholarship in the Digital Age will provoke a stimulating conversation among all who depend on a rich and robust scholarly environment.

Christine L. Borgman is Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in the Networked World (MIT Press, 2000).

Table of Contents

Detailed Contents - ix
Preface - xvii
Acknowledgments - xxi
1 Scholarship at a Crossroads - 1
2 Building the Scholarly Infrastructure -13
3 Embedded Everywhere - 33
4 The Continuity of Scholarly Communication -47
5 The Discontinuity of Scholarly Publishing - 75
6 Data: The Input and Output of Scholarship - 115
7 Building an Infrastructure for Information - 149
8 Disciplines, Documents, and Data - 179
9 The View from Here - 227
References - 267
Index - 321

Publisher Site


Inside Higher Ed / Nov. 14 2009 / ‘Scholarship in the Digital Age’

It’s hard to meet academics these days whose work hasn’t been changed by the Internet. But even if everyone knows that the world of scholarship has changed, it’s not always clear just how or the way those evolutions fit into the broad history of scholarship. Christine L. Borgman sets out to do just that in Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure and the Internet, just published by MIT Press.


Columbia University / Scholarly Communication Program / Research without Borders: The Changing World of Scholarly Communication / March 24 2009 / A-V / [Posted 04-10-09]


Slides [In PDF]


Valuing Non-Traditional Vehicles of Scholarship

Scholarly Communications
in a
Digital World
A Convocation
January 27-28, 2005

A White Paper for the UNC-Chapel Hill Scholarly Communications Convocation

January 2005

Jeffrey Pomerantz, School of Information and Library Science
Bob Blouin, School of Pharmacy

This whitepaper, as the title suggests, concerns the issue of valuing non-traditional forms of scholarly output. By non-traditional, in the context of this convocation, we mean electronic as opposed to print publication, online as opposed to classroom teaching, the creation of electronic systems for collaboration as opposed to other forms of service to one’s professional community. We mean electronic here, but this discussion can and should be expanded to include scholarly output in other media.

The issue of valuing vehicles of scholarship – whatever the medium – rests on another, more fundamental question: what constitutes scholarship? There is of course no universal standard for evaluating scholarship or scholarly output: the university, the school, the department, the discipline, all are likely to have different standards. This may then lead to Justice Potter Stewart-like evaluations of excellence, where it cannot be defined, but one knows it when one sees it. Still, despite this inconsistency of standards, the scholarly community has been producing excellent scholarship for centuries, so clearly the lack of a universal standard for evaluating traditional scholarly output is not a major stumbling block. The problem is not to arrive at a universal standard for evaluating scholarly output, but to ensure that the different levels of the institution have standards that recognize and reward excellence in scholarship when it is present.

In the evaluation of scholarship, the value is in the ideas, and in the impact that those ideas have, and not in the medium in which those ideas are presented. We must recall that the scholarly journal as we know it today only dates back to the mid-1600s, and it undoubtedly took some time for this new medium to be accepted alongside meetings of learned societies as legitimate vehicles for scholarly communication. The credibility of any new medium must be earned, but once a new medium is established as being valuable, a community of users over time adapts to and embraces that medium. This is as true for scholarly uses as for any other purpose.


As electronic and online forms of scholarly output come to take center stage in all aspects of scholarship, it is increasingly important for the university to be a favorable and nurturing environment for faculty who will be innovators in these areas. At the same time, it is increasingly important for faculty to innovate, to place high demands on the university for infrastructure to support non-traditional vehicles of scholarly output, and for recognition of the importance of this output. Many of the innovators on the faculty are likely to be younger faculty members: this upcoming generation of faculty are not only more comfortable with using and producing electronic materials, they also place more demands on the institution’s infrastructure. As senior faculty approach retirement and new positions are filled with younger faculty members, the demands on the university and the necessity of fostering a nurturing environment for innovation will only increase over time. In order to recruit and retain innovative faculty members, the university must provide such support.


How, then, should the university change so as to provide support for non-traditional vehicles of scholarship? How can the university create standards for evaluating scholarship that value non-traditional forms of output? This change cannot come by simply demanding it; no one like being dictated to, and academics probably less than most. No, the scholarly community will be swayed by solid intellectual arguments and evidence of the value of new forms of scholarly output. When a solid argument can be made for the value of a new form of scholarly output, scholars will pay attention to output in that form. If excellent scholarship appears in new forms, it will be recognized – perhaps not immediately, but in time. Indeed, these arguments are already being made, evidence is already being presented. Early arguments against electronic scholarly journal publishing were that it lacked intellectual validity and diminished the rigor of the review process; this was in time shown to not be true, and there are now many top-quality electronic journals. Early efforts in online instruction were received with skepticism and the same criticisms of its intellectual validity; now research has demonstrated that online and classroom teaching each are useful for teaching students with different learning styles. The medium is not important; what is important are the ideas presented and the impact that those ideas have on the recipients and on society at large. The demonstration of the excellence of scholarship, in all its forms, is in this impact.

The impact of scholarship is central to the academic review process, and the academic review process is central to the retention and rewarding of faculty. And central to the academic review process is peer review. Peer review is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak, in terms of standards for evaluating scholarship. As scholars are favorably reviewed by their peers for producing non-traditional output, others perhaps less innovative will be emboldened to produce such output. [snip]

Valuing non-traditional forms of scholarship requires a critical evaluation of non-traditional forms of scholarship. Such a critical evaluation should start within institutions that have the most to lose by failing to recognize the importance. Those institutions may be the university, or schools or departments within the university. [snip]


Monday, November 26, 2007


Invisible Hand(s): Quality Assurance in the Age of Author Self-Archiving


Invisible Hand(s): Quality Assurance in the Age of Author Self-Archiving

JCOM 2 (3), September 2003


Abstract: There are forces, factors, and influences other than pending classical peer review that assure the quality of scholarship before formal publication.



Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Promise of Authority in Social Scholarship

At the 2007 Charleston Conference held November 7-10, Laura B. Cohen, Web Support Librarian at the University of Albany, SUNY, joined Leigh Dodds, Chief Technology Officer of the scholarly publisher Ingenta, to speak on the theme of "Authoritative? What's That? And Who Says?"

November 8 2007 / Thursday, 2:00 – 2:50 PM / Concurrent Session 1

Web 2.0 makes it easier for anyone to publish information online, and search engines make content more easily findable. But how do users know what information is authoritative? Do they even understand what "authoritative" means? And who defines that something is "authoritative" in the first place?

In scholarly publishing, the peer review process is an indicator of quality. But as content is increasingly mashed-up, syndicated and blogged in many different locations, how do users differentiate between peer reviewed content, and \"user generated content\"? And is there a natural progression from the creative chaos of Wikipedia, through the “gentle expert oversight" of Citizendium to, ultimately, the closed rigorous approach of double-blind peer review.


And is there a natural progression from the creative chaos of Wikipedia, through the “gentle expert oversight" of Citizendium to, ultimately, the closed rigorous approach of double-blind peer review? Laura's PPT presentation titled"The Promise of Authority in Social Scholarship" is available on SlideShare



Electronic Literature Organization

Electronic Literature Organization
To facilitate and promote the writing, publishing, and reading of literature in electronic media.

The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1999 to promote and facilitate the writing, publishing, and reading of electronic literature. Since its formation, the Electronic Literature Organization has worked to assist writers and publishers in bringing their literary works to a wider, global readership and to provide them with the infrastructure necessary to reach one another.

What is Electronic Literature? The term refers to works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. Within the broad category of electronic literature are several forms and threads of practice, some of which are:

  • Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web

  • Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms

  • Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects

  • Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots

  • Interactive fiction

  • Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs

  • Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning

  • Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work

  • Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing


The ELO showcase provides a few outstanding examples of electronic literature.


The Electronic Literature Directory

The Directory provides an extensive database of listings for electronic works and their authors. Bibliographic information on pre-Web and other offline work is included, along with links to a great deal of work that is only a click away. The descriptive entries cover poetry, fiction, drama, and nonfiction works of electronic literature, including hypertexts, animated poems, interactive fiction, multimedia pieces, text generators, and works that allow reader collaboration. The directory allows readers and students to easily list all of an author’s works and to browse through different genres of work.


Report of the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion

Report of the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion

In 2004 the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association of America created a task force to examine current standards and emerging trends in publication requirements for tenure and promotion in English and foreign language departments in the United States. The council’s action came in response to widespread anxiety in the profession about ever-rising demands for research productivity and shrinking humanities lists by academic publishers, worries that forms of scholarship other than single-authored books were not being properly recognized, and fears that a generation of junior scholars would have a significantly reduced chance of being tenured. The task force was charged with investigating the factual basis behind such concerns and making recommendations to address the changing environment in which scholarship is being evaluated in tenureand promotion decisions.


Giving Only Limited Recognition to Digital Scholarship

As expectations for publication have crept upward for individual faculty members and outward to a widening circle of institutions, it seems important that new forms for publishing and disseminating scholarship be able to gain recognition. Recognition for work published in digital formats remains limited, however, and high percentages of departments report little experience with scholarship produced in new media. Digital monographs still remain more prospect than reality in our field, and departments’ lack of experience may reflect the paucity of examples that have been produced to date. Even so, it seems clear that departments need to take special care not to treat scholarship produced in new media prejudicially. It seems a particular cause for concern that departments in the doctorate sector report the least experience with new media.

Recognition of Digital Scholarship

Unsurprisingly, the percentages of departments that report experience with refereed articles produced in digital form is higher than for monographs. But 30% to 40% still report having “no experience.” More troublingly, 60% of departments in Carnegie doctorate institutions say refereed articles in digital format either “don’t count” for tenure in their departments and institutions or that they have no experience evaluating them. Again, it’s possible that some number of respondents who reported that articles in new media “don’t count” may be saying that examples have not yet been forthcoming and so they haven’t yet had the opportunity to have them count. As the task force recommends, departments and institutions should recognize the legitimacy of scholarship produced in new media and create procedures for evaluating these forms of scholarship.

Digital Scholarship in the Tenure, Promotion, and Review Process
Edited by: Deborah Lines Andersen

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-1113-0 / USD: $76.95
Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-1114-7 / USD: $36.9

Information: 288pp. Tables, figures, bibliography, index.
Publication Date: September 2003

Description: To receive tenure college and university professors have long been required to write scholarly monographs or articles, engage in serious research, and teach effectively. In recent years, however, the emergence of digital scholarship has revolutionized -- and complicated -- the picture in unexpected ways as new electronic media have enabled academics to communicate scholarly material in innovative formats such as websites, PowerPoint presentations, CD-ROMs, and virtual reality "tours." Despite this growing output of sophisticated digital scholarship, there has been little attempt to set standards, define basic issues and concepts, or integrate electronic scholarship into the tenure debate.

This collection of cutting-edge articles marks the first effort to evaluate the place of digital scholarship in the tenure, promotion, and review process. As a primer aimed at scholars, faculty members, and department chairs in the humanities, social sciences, and other fields, as well as deans, provosts, and university administrators, this collection examines the evolution of nontraditional scholarship, analyzes the various formats, and suggests guidelines for assessment on a scholarly level. It also examines the impact of digital scholarship in the classroom and academy and explores new directions for the future. This book will help shape policy in the murky world of tenure review and become a point of reference for scholars and administrators everywhere.

Selected Contents:
List of Tables and Figures

Introduction Deborah Lines Andersen

Part I. Policies and Procedures: Studies from the Field Deborah Lines Andersen
1. Mutually Exclusive? Information Technology, and the Tenure, Promotion, and Review Process / Lynn C. Hattendorf Westney
2. To Web or Not to Web: The Evaluation of World Wide Web Publishing in the Academy / Kathleen Carlisle Fountain
3. Valuing Digital Scholarship in the Tenure, Promotion and Review Process: A Survey of Academic Historians / Deborah Lines Andersen and Dennis A. Trinkle
4. Rewards for Scholarly Communication / Rob Kling and Lisa Spector

Part II. Creation of Digital Scholarship: Cases from Academe / Deborah Lines Andersen
5. Digital Scholarship, Peer Review, and Hiring, Promotion and Tenure: A Case Study of the Journal of Multimedia History / Gerald Zahavi and Susan L. McCormick
6. Transforming the Learning Process: A Case Study on Collaborative Web Development in an Upper-Level Information Science Course / Thomas P. Mackey
7. Technology in the Classroom: A United Kingdom Experience / Ian G. Anderson
8. Teaching in a Classroom Without Walls: What It Takes to Cultivate a Rich Online Learning Community/ Daphne Jorgensen
9. Learning Together and Moving Towards Tenure: Special Collections and Teaching Faculty Collaboration in the Development of an On-line Sheet Music Exhibition / Jessica Lacher-Feldman

Part III. The Present and the Future / Deborah Lines Andersen
10. Guidelines for Evaluating Digital Media Activities in Tenure, Promotion, and Review / Dennis A. Trinkle
11. The Development of Criteria for the Inclusion of Digital Publications in the Tenure Process: A Case Study of Washington State University Libraries / Ryan Johnson
12. Scholars, Digital Intellectual Property, and the New Economics of Publication and Preservation / Terrence Maxwell
13. Stories of the Future / David J. Staley

About the Contributors



Journal of Scholarly Publishing - Volume 35, Number 2, January 2004, pp. 122-126


Google Books


Disruptive Scholarship


In August 2005, I had the opportunity to deliver a presentation at Digital Libraries à la Carte: Choices for the Future, an international workshop held at Tilburg University, The Netherlands


The PowerPoint presentation titled “Wikis: Disruptive Technologies for Dynamic Possibilities” reviews the general nature and structure of select wikis, the features and functions of popular wiki software engines, and describes the content and use of wikis by select businesses, colleges and universities, and libraries.


The presentation also speculated about the wiki as an environment, framework, and venue for Disruptive Scholarship, my proposed model for alternative scholarly authorship, review, and publishing


In this Era of Open Access, I conclude the presentation with The Bold Question:

"Is Wiki Method/Methodology the Full/True Means Of Achieving/Creating Real Open Access?”

Think About It !


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Scholarship 2.0 Facebook Group Launched


A companion global Facebook group for the Scholarship 2.0 blog was created on Thanksgiving 2007.

The Scholarship 2.0 Facebook group is located at



Launch of the Scholarship 2.0 Blog


"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
Victor Hugo

Histoire d'un Crime:
Déposition d'un Témoin
Paris: Calmann Lévy, 1887-1888.

Scholarship 2.0 is devoted to describing and documenting the forms, facets, and features of alternative Web-based scholarly publishing practices. The variety of old and new metrics available for assessing the impact, significance, and value of Web-based scholarship is of particular interest.

Scholarship 2.0 was formally established on Thanksgiving 2007.