One of the more intriguing things about the scholarly-communication beat–my official bailiwick at the Chronicle–is the ethnographic component. In other words, schol comm covers not just what scholars communicate (i.e., research) but how they communicate, and to whom. Why does one researcher go for an online-only journal while another is bound to print? How do blogs and listservs figure in? What new genres are cropping up, and who’s exploring and exploiting them? It can be a fascinating blend of old and new scholarly folkways.
I hesitate to inflict another report on you, but the Association of Research Libraries released a pretty interesting one today– “Current Models of Digital Scholarship”–which explores some of the “largely unexplored ecosystem” of scholarly behavior in the digital arena. From my Chronicle coverage:
The report details some intriguing disciplinary differences and adaptations. Humanists rely more than their colleagues in the social sciences and sciences on e-mail lists and discussion forums. Social scientists lean on professional and scholarly hubs, and on preprint resources like the Social Sciences Research Network. Sites that speed access to and publication of data matter most to researchers in science, technology, and medicine.
The lines between genres have blurred, too. “We observed ‘video articles,’ peer-reviewed reader commentary, and medieval illuminated texts coded as dataâ€”all evidence of the creative mash-ups that challenge us to rethink the definitions of traditional content categories,” the report notes.