Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The transformation of scholarship from print to digital

Douglas Brown, Scientific Communication and the Dematerialization of Scholarship, ProQuest CSA, 2007.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Abstract:   Many scientific research fields are becoming massively computationally intensive, handling and mining enormous datasets, a trend that is opening up possibilities for new methods of discovery, transdisciplinary and problem-centred investigation, and very large scale collaboration. Simultaneously, research practices at the frontier are changing rapidly as scientists and engineers are moving towards a research process of continuous refinement - writing, annotating and revising in near real time using the Internet - a tendency that may be further encouraged by the emergence of new, informal writing platforms and collaborative tools. These and related developments of the last decade may be contributing to the transformation of a system of scholarly research communication, based on the printed scholarly journal and the research article, that has been in place essentially unchanged for over three centuries. Following a backward glance at the beginnings of modern scientific communication, this article draws attention to this sudden, apparently dramatic shift, reviewing moves towards the development of 'cyberinfrastructure', a vision of a 'natively digital' scholarly communication system, the proliferation of open access institutional repositories, and the possibility of entirely new forms of scholarly communication as science itself shifts into a new phase in the 21st century.