SLIS Professor Blaise Cronin recently completed three successful talks - two in Sweden, and one in the United Kingdom. The first presentation was given at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden on May 23, 2012. The talk was titled “The Changing Conditions of Scholarly Communication,” and was part of a seminar entitled, “Bibliometrics at the Crossroad.” The abstract is listed below:
Much has changed in the world of scholarly communication since the creation in the mid-17th century of the Royal Society and its house journal, Philosophical Transactions. The key components of the system, namely, the scientific article (whose architecture and discursive form have evolved over the centuries), the journal of record (a continuing source of community trust) and the process of peer review (much more complex than in Henry Oldenburg’s time) remain absolutely central to the effective conduct of science and scholarship. In recent years, as the velocity and interactivity of scholarly publication have intensified, the traditional journal article, monograph and conference paper have been joined by an array of complementary publication forms and fora: e-pre-prints, web pages, podcasts, blogs, tweets, etc. In addition to the standard manuscript we now have micro scripts, macro scripts, mega scripts, molecular scripts, mutable scripts and mobile scripts. The author function is changing, too. In many fields the idea of the individual author has become an anachronism; in some, hyperauthorship is the norm. What exactly does it mean to be an author in an age of team science and industrial-scale collaborations? Digital analytics enables the capture of myriad, heretofore largely invisible, contributions made by scholars to the commonwealth of knowledge. We are no longer limited to harvesting statistics on formal publications and citations but instead can cast the net more widely to trawl for a diversity of performance indicators—alternative metrics to use the vogue term—relating to scholarly engagement, impact and influence. Pandora’s digital box has been opened.
The second lecture took place at the University of Borås in Borås, Sweden. The presentation was entitled, “The Waxing and Waning of a Field: Implications for Information Studies Education” and took place on May 24. The University of Borås also featured an interview with Professor Cronin in a news article (in Swedish) on their school's website. The presentation abstract is below:
In this talk I’ll (a) sketch the early days of (mainly Anglo-American) information studies and the field’s gradual institutionalization, (b) describe its maturation, as both an academic discipline and a domain of professional practice, over the course of the last half-century or so, and (c) speculate on its future in the light of oft-expressed predictions of its imminent demise as an autonomous enterprise within the academy. I’ll present import-export data demonstrating the newfound outer directedness of the field and the growing attractiveness of its research to cognate disciplines. However, I’ll also argue that the permeability of contemporary information studies’ boundaries may in fact be the cause of its eventual undoing: in short, epistemic promiscuity comes at a price.
Dr. Cronin also traveled to the United Kingdom to give a third presentation on May 29. It was given at the Oxford Internet Institute. His lecture was called "Platforms of Plenty: Scholarly Communication and Digital Metrics." The abstract is included here:
In this presentation I examine the evolution of academic writing, from established genres (e.g., single author monograph, refereed journal article) to recent innovations, such as enriched texts, micro scripts and nano publications. I ask what it means to be an author in an age of team science and massive collaborations, of citizen science and crowdsourcing, of distributed accountability and vanity publishing. I consider the changing dynamics of the scholarly publication process, which has shifted from being a sluggishly linear to an intensively interactive, time-pressured process. I assess the implications of open access and open peer review in terms of system transparency and community trust. Lastly, I describe the emergence of multi-dimensional, real-time indicators of scholarly influence and impact that take us beyond conventional approaches to bibliometric evaluation.
Posted June 07, 2012