Friday, December 14, 2007

Horizon Report 2007: New Scholarship and Emerging Forms of Publication

The New Media Consortium's [NMC] Emerging Technologies Initiative focuses on expanding the boundaries of teaching, learning and creative expression by creatively applying new tools in new contexts. The Horizon Project, the centerpiece of this initiative, charts the landscape of emerging technologies and produces the NMC’s annual Horizon Report

The New Scholarship and Emerging Forms of Publication

The time-honored activities of academic research and scholarly activity have benefited from the explosion of access to research materials and the ability to collaborate at a distance. At the same time, the processes of research, review, publication, and tenure are challenged by the same trends. The proliferation of audience- generated content combined with open-access content models is changing the way we think about scholarship and publication—and the way these activities are conducted.

Overview
Both the process and shape of scholarship are changing. Nontraditional forms are emerging that call for new ways of evaluating and disseminating work. Increasingly, scholars are beginning to employ methods unavailable to their counterparts of several years ago, including prepublication releases of their work, distribution through nontraditional channels, dynamic visualization of data and results, and new ways to conduct peer reviews using online collaboration. These new approaches present a new challenge: to protect the integrity of scholarly activity while taking advantage of the opportunity for increased creativity and collaboration.

New forms of scholarship, including fresh models of publication and nontraditional scholarly products, are evolving along with the changing process. Some of these forms are very common—blogs and video clips, for instance—but academia has been slow to recognize and accept them. [snip] Proponents of these new forms argue that they serve a different purpose than traditional writing and research—a purpose that improves, rather than runs counter to, other kinds of scholarly work. [snip]

[snip]

While significant challenges remain before the emerging forms of scholarship we are seeing are accepted, nonetheless, there are many examples of work that is expanding the boundaries of what we have traditionally thought of as scholarship. In the coming years, as more scholars and researchers make original and worthwhile contributions to their fields using these new forms, methods for evaluating and recognizing those contributions will be developed, and we expect to see them become an accepted form of academic work.

Relevance for Teaching, Learning, and Creative Expression
The real potential of this trend for education is to expand the audience for scholarship and research— not only among those at scholarly institutions, but among the public as well.

[snip]

Increasingly, we are seeing other technologies being applied to the purposes of collaboration as well. Writers use shared editing tools like Google Docs and wikis and create online books that accept reader comments at the paragraph level, opening up the process of writing itself to collaboration. [snip]

[snip]

The new scholarship also acknowledges certain complications of traditional methods of publication that arise from the rapid rate of change and discovery of new information in many fields. Emerging forms of the book, including prepublication research and drafts shared online, the incorporation of data visualization tools into online publications, all forms of customized publishing, and the e-book, are ironically causing us to regard the traditional book as an impermanent medium. [snip] A response to that trend is that more and more books are often accompanied by a website, wiki, or other online resource that can communicate new insights as they arise and create and sustain a living community around the concepts entombed in the published material.

A sampling of applications for the new scholarship and emerging forms of publication across disciplines includes the following:
  • Include—and learn from—new voices. Both books and their authors may benefit from the comments of interested students, colleagues, and members of the public, who in turn will benefit from hearing scholars narrate their process. When his 1999 book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace needed an update, author Lawrence Lessig set up a wiki and invited the public to help him write the second edition, Codev2, now available in both print and electronic formats.
  • [snip]
  • Illustrate and educate using a variety of media. Graphs, photographs, video and audio clips can all be included in an online paper or book. Online textbooks for computer science, history and politics, and other disciplines are available that incorporate illustrations both static and animated, video and audio commentary by experts in the field, and graphs that respond to user input. Combined with new methods of data visualization, mapping, graphing, and charting, online books are becoming powerful interactive tools for learning.

Examples of the New Scholarship and Emerging Forms of Publication
GAM3R 7H30RY by McKenzie Wark ; The Django Book by Adrian Holovaty and Jacob Kaplan-Moss. These two books are online in prepublication format, where readers can add comments that will inform the authors’ work.

N I N E S - N I N E S is a consortium of scholars promoting and exploring new forms of scholarship.

Poetess Archive - The Poetess Archive provides an extensive bibliography and some full texts. Over the next year, the database will be linked to a visualization tool. The accompanying Poetess Archive Journal is an evolving online scholarly peer-reviewed publication that will take advantage of innovative technologies to push the boundaries of research and publication.

Public Library of Science - The Public Library of Science is committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource via a new process of peer-reviewed publishing.

Texas Politics - An online textbook developed at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Politics includes audio and video, commentary, a series of live speakers, and other media as well as traditional text.

[snip]

Using Wiki in Education - A wiki *and** a published book, Using Wiki in Education explores the ways online publishing can extend the life and usefulness of a scholarly work.

Further Reading
Book 2.0 (Jeffrey R. Young, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 2006) Reviews some ways educators are exploring new modes of electronic publishing.

The Book as Place (Paula Berinstein, Searcher, November/ December 2006) Describes the networked book as a destination and a center for community as well as reading material: “The book is now a place as well as a thing and you can find its location mapped in cyberspace.”

The Future of Books (Jason Epstein, Technology Review, January 2005) Reviews the writer’s experiences in the world of traditional publishing and looks ahead to the future of publishing.

Giving it Away (Cory Doctorow, Forbes, December 1, 2006) A technology writer explains the value of publishing electronic, free versions of books.

The Institute for the Future of the Book (Retrieved December 20, 2006) Promotes the next generation of the book with conversation, research, and even software.

[snip]

HTML [http://www.nmc.org/horizonproject/2007/new-scholarship]

Wiki [http://horizon.nmc.org/wiki/Horizon2007:Shortlist_3a]

PDF (Entire Report) [http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2007_Horizon_Report.pdf]

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