Digital Research Literacy

Over the last couple of weeks the OneShare team has been thinking some more about the scholarly process. We began by brainstorming  about potential end game scenarios for d-Roc. If we lived in a world where everyone made research objects of all of their research what would we be able to do with all the tastey distributed linked data. What we concluded was a variety searching and recommendation services. None of these really jumped out as the sort of ideas which were going to put a ding in the universe. Nevertheless what we did keep doing is making blind suggestions about what we could do with all the online artifacts themselves. Currently there is very little engagement with the existing research on the web. People download and read the paper write their own paper and upload it and thats all we see. However we all know there is more to the process than that…

In universities across the world people are talking about research. Whether that be in meetings, over coffee, while co-authoring it is definitely happening but we rarely see it online. Peer review is one of the biggest platforms for academic discussion but it is barely has a web presence at all. People discuss many things online and the mailing lists, wikis, forums and twitter feeds are bursting with discussion of a vast variety of subjects but research tend not to be one of them. There isn’t even really a good platform for doing it.

The white board quickly ballooned to include a cloud of web tools which would enable research discussion to come to the web.A sort of stack overflow for research, Peer pigeon, and having documents which are web native not locked in a PDF. I’ve concluded that the reason research seems so irrelevant and meaningless to me (and probably many people less directly engaged with it) is that the process still feels largely like an out of bounds transmission. To find out what a researcher thinks of something I have to leave the web…

All this brings me round to thinking of a presentation of Les Carr’s which, I read a few years ago but have never seen, called “Why the Web Never Took Off“. It talks about the tiny percentages of academics with there own web presence and why this might be (go read).  The same sort of arguments are used for why academics don’t want to put their research in open access repositories – the famous “I dont have time”. Which I am sure is the reason academics down have a stack overflow equivalent – there would be no time. The problem is a lack of Digital Research Literacy. Academics can not see why they should engage with web because they dont really understand how they fit into it. They can not see the potential value it brings and don’t know where they would go to have a discussion about research on the web. This is a problem which I think is growing larger everyday. More research is done never engaging with the web reading masses and research is gradually becoming less and less relevant to the point of extinction. It’s ok though because we do not have time to worry about it…

Tagged with: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*