Models for creation and dissemination of scholarship are changing dramatically, yet in many ways our methods of validating the quality and utility of the work, and of valuing and rewarding the work of authors and other contributors, have remained bound to patterns tied to the pre-digital age.
In scholarly works that take complex digital forms and involve teams of collaborators to build and sustain, how do we understand what it means to be an author? How do we value, attribute, and reward the work of different kinds of contributors? What systems of incentives – structural, legal, financial, reputational, and more – exist or should exist to encourage the creation of scholarship in new forms? What “counts” as scholarship, as the modes of creating and sharing it change so quickly and dramatically?
Once a new work is created, how can it be validated by different audiences? How do we track and understand the relative value of assessment by peers within a discipline, scholars from other fields, funding agencies and policy makers, and the public at large? How do we discover and recognize the relative value of insight versus impact? Can a single work serve all these audiences and goals equally? Should validation by one be worth more than others?
None of these questions are unique to digital scholarship, of course, but the mix of validation proxies and valuation short-cuts that we’ve become used to are more clearly visible when we try to apply them to new forms of scholarly communication, and raise questions about incentives and rewards for scholarly work generally.
For SCI 2015, we invite teams to explore these and related issues, and to build projects and initiatives that experiment with and implement the results of the explorations. Help develop new patterns, new methods, new standards for valuing and validating scholarship in an increasingly complex and diverse digital landscape.
If you’re interested in participating, please see and reply to this Request for Proposals (submission deadline is 20 March 2015).
[ Image by Tim Evanson, adapted and used under CC license. ]
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