Digital Scholarship: Digital Identity and Networking

Digital scholarship seems to be a combination of digital identity and networking for scholarly purposes.  Out of the four DigPINS topics, this is probably the one I learnt most about, but I may have said that before…

I enjoyed reading Just Be You: Tips for Professional Networking in the Digital Age, and the tips that resonated most were “a little humility goes a long way, but don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion” and “be prepared to respond to backlash.” I have too much humility and not enough self-promotion, and I am never prepared for backlash! This article also made it clear that developing a professional academic digital identity is hard work!  The article Beyond Academic Twitter: Social Media and the Evolution of Scholarly Publication demonstrated how Twitter can be a stepping stone to other forms of publishing, including blogs and academic journal articles.  It clarifies the open, accessible, and fluid nature of shared scholarship, and how ideas evolve through different types of input.  How does this impact what we ask students to do when conducting research?  We tend to emphasize the importance of having reliable resources, usually in the form of respected publications.  It is quite common to consider blogs and wikis as informal, and therefore not reliable sources.  Maybe we should modify this approach in light of this change in the way ideas are developed with input from the community.

I totally agree with the point made in the article Access vs. Accessibility in Scholarship and Science. It would be great if writers included an accessible explanation or summary of their work.  This would certainly increase readership and broaden the audience to include non-specialists, and would not prevent academics of the field from reading the original work.  I was shocked when I read the article Predatory Journals Hit By ‘Star Wars’ Sting.  It changed my views on peer review!  It seems peer reviewers sometimes would benefit from the explanation or summary to be able to understand the content they are reviewing!

I found the article Everything But The Burden: Publics, Public Scholarship, and Institutions both interesting and refreshing.  It clarified the downside of public scholarship, while putting it in context.  It reiterated the point I referred to at the beginning of this post about being “prepared to respond to backlash.”  It stressed that institutions should support their faculty!

Regarding Hypothes.is, I found it a useful tool.  I enjoyed reading other people’s annotations, and added a few myself.  One of the articles was very heavily annotated, and I found it confusing to read all the posts, so I decided to only read a few.  It was interesting to read how other people reacted to the use of this tool on the DigPINS Slack chat, and there was some discussion that students, especially those in their first-year, might find it overwhelming.  If I’m to introduce this tool to my students, I’ll have to start small, taking into account the suggestion that the teacher can begin by modelling a few annotations to encourage the students to participate.  I was interested to note that opening a link from an article in Hypothes.is seems to open the new article in Hypothes.is too.  I’ll have to try it out more to see if that is always the case.

All in all, these past four weeks have been very exciting, and I have been exposed to a lot of new ideas and tools.  I hope to review what I have learned in the coming week or two and decide my next steps.  I don’t want what I learned to end with DigPINS.  If I’m to apply anything new, I need to plan and consciously include it in my work.  So, rather than being the end, this is but the beginning! 

Banner Image Credit: Giulia Forsythe

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