Academia, networkedscholar, Open Education, OpenAccess

Being #Open Comes with a Number of Assumptions, Challenges and Tensions #scholar14

Being an open educator is critical. From my personal experience, I have engaged and interacted with research, teaching, and service scholarship based on the examples I have seen around me.  A large number of collaborative research and learning opportunities could not have been possible without using open and social platforms. To be a truly effective educator and researcher, I believe it is critical to share our research-to-practice work. It is through transparency and openness, scholars are able to contribute to their discipline, connect to other related fields, and, most importantly, contribute to public knowledge.

open
Photo c/o Flickr member OpenSource.com 

As I think about digital scholarship and “openness” as an early career researcher, there are a number of questions unanswered and need to be discussed further as academia is challenged by the digital (Pasquini, Wakefield, & Roman, 2014, p. 13) :

  • What type of research exchange will scholars participate in during the 21st century?
  • Is scholarship just about publication and citation index?
  • Should research require a social aspect to connect and exchange discourse and/or debate?
  • What social media and altmetrics are best suited for interaction and engagement within each discipline?
  • How do individual research impact factors influence academia career development?
  • What suggestions do seasoned researchers have for the digital scholar generation?

Challenges and tensions should be considered when openly giving back to the resource pool of learning and research. A number of researchers have expressed their concern for being open and sharing methods, research findings, and other aspects of the “process” of learning and research. To balance these concerns, also comes the tensions of network influence, identity, and impact that continue to pour over from #scholar14 Week 1 conversations:

“Uncovering differences in network structure according to discipline and position points to a relationship with academic career trajectory and identity. This finding contradicts the perception that the online environment acts as a democratising space, suggesting instead a preservation of ‘off-line’ hierarchy” (Jordan, 2014).

Within this past week, I was fortunate to hear how a few members of my personal learning network grapple and manage these dueling tensions in academia – here are a few notes, tweets, and ideas gathered from these talks:

  1. Martin Weller‘s #UTAlink talk  Battle for the Open
  2. Royce Kimmons (@roycekimmonsAssumptions, Challenges & Tensions #scholar14 Chat
  3. Dave Cormier‘s #aln14 Keynote on Rhizomatic Learning – The Community is the Curriculum

“Tearing down the traditional walls” is becoming more common in online, social academic communities. This breaking down of the traditional norms in academia, is designed to remove barriers placed between the faculty member and their learners. To be part of this sharing community, you need to really embody core values of openness, equity, access, and sharing. The challenge often emerges when your own philosophy of being “open” is not inline with your post-secondary education institution. I strongly believe that open needs to be a key  attribute for PSE institutions to take the lead on, specifically in terms of policy or manifesto that includes (e.g. Open Access @ UNT), OER resources, open scholarship, open data resources (e.g. UNT Data Spot),  and more.

How does the culture of your academic community, discipline, or institution influence you? Are there considerations and tensions challenging you “to be or not be” in these open spaces? Please share. My ears and eyes are open. Always.

References:

Jordan, K. (2014). Academics and their online networks: Exploring the role of academic social networking sites. First Monday, 19 (11 – 3). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4937/4159 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i11.

Pasquini, L. A., Wakefield, J. S. , & Roman, T. (2014). Impact factor: Early career research & digital scholarship. TechTrends, 58(6), 12-13. DOI 10.1007/s11528-014-0797-7

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networkedscholar

Presence & Visibility With Scholarship #scholar14

Are you “present” online? Do you share your scholarship? Are you blogging about your research in the field? Can I find a slide deck of your last academic presentation on SlideShare? Have you tweeted about your academic writing lately (#acwri)?

Based on last week’s conversation in The Networked Scholars (#scholar14) MOOC – you probably should. Week 1 focused on Visibility, Presence & Branding – Check out the LIVE chat video and tweets. During the live chat discussion, Laura Czerniewicz reminded us that:

The challenge with online “presence” is that scholarship and research distribution is not shared equally – or at least not well represented online (based on the Web of Science documents):

This image and article left me with a number of questions for visibility and presence for scholars:

  • Why is the representation of scholarship skewed geographically?
  • What impact does this geographic distribution of knowledge have on our research disciplines?
  • How can we work to have more “market share” of knowledge in underrepresented areas of the globe?
  • Do the location of networking sharing services impact the voice of disciplines? Can this be neutralized/balanced?

Although the web has the potential to create a level playing field for scholarship participation, there still seems to be infrastructures and institutions in academia that prevent researchers from uploading content and sharing knowledge across geographic boundaries.

With the growth of digital scholarship and online knowledge sharing, it is critical that scholars engage in distribution of their research impact to their field. Through research identity management and citation tracking, scholars are able to specifically identify influence, share findings, access publications, and connect with academic peers for collaboration and further scholarly work:

Academics should utilize these emerging platforms to increase their influence and reach beyond traditional publishing forums. These researcher identification and citation tools are not “just for geeks,” but rather a growing expectation for scholarship development and publication notation. It is a critical time to rethink how research is produced, distributed, and acknowledged. Researcher impact tools, such as ORCID, Researcher ID, Scopus, and Google Scholar Citations, will help to identify citation influence and impact of knowledge for the field with respect to publication use. Social academic tools, such as Academia.edu and Mendeley, provide scholars a place to share their professional profile, links to research, and areas of research interest (Pasquini, Wakefield, Reed, & Allen, 2014).

It is important to consider where you will share your progress, publications, and work for your discipline. It also helps to organize your scholarly citations and publications. Where will you leave your digital scholarly footprint? How will you track your research impact? What do you want to be found online about your research?

Reference:

Pasquini, L. A., Wakefield, J. S., Reed, A., & Allen, J. M. (2014). Digital scholarship and impact factors: Methods and tools to connect your research. Proceedings of the 2014 AACE World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (ELEARN) in New Orleans, LA.

networkedscholar

Once A Networked Scholar… Always One? #scholar14

 

Social media is my thing (so I’ve heard). Really, the THING about social media is the SOCIAL. Throughout my personal, professional and academic career, I have touted the value of my personal learning network on Twitter. I give credit to this 140-character medium as it daily contributes to my literature review, data collection, and connected engage in my discipline.

I am not alone in the love of Twitter and scholarship. Other academics have identified value in Twitters’s role for scientific publication and power of dissemination when shared among the network of scholars. In contrast, there is a dark side to being in this particular space (“they” say). I shared this article earlier in the stream today, “To tweet or not to tweet: academic freedom and social media” – if you have not read it,  you should. This article is one of MANY that calls into question the use and impact of social media networks in academia. As an early career researcher, I am interested in learning more about the impacts to the field and the influence digital scholarship has for teaching, learning, service and research scholarship. {More on this research and work… to come.}

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I have a number of questions that need answers on the networked/digital scholar topic:

  • How will social networks shape tenure and promotion?
  • What issues do academics face, when being active in social media spaces?
  • What challenges will emerge with the use of transmedia for research and learning in post-secondary education?
  • Will digital scholarship impact and shift how tenure and promotion?
  • What other influences should be considered for impact factors and scholarly contributions?
  • How does the digital influence our own doctoral programs & preparation?
  • How digital influence truly effect impact factors for research? Should it?
  • What information do we know about “the networked scholar”?

These are just a few of my questions. I have more. I signed up for George’s (@veletsianos) Networked Scholar (#scholar14) MOOC to continue this dialogue and bat around a few ideas with other interested scholars. I am looking forward to continuing my meanderings on my blog and, of course, on the Twitters => #scholar14 Won’t you join in the discussion and banter as well? http://networkedscholars.net/