Sunday, May 24, 2009

Digital Scholarly Communication: A Snapshot of Current Trends.”

Nancy L. Maron and K. Kirby Smith, Strategic Services Analysts, Ithaka, recently published the brief report “Digital Scholarly Communication: A Snapshot of Current Trends.” They state that the internet has made possible and facilitated numerous innovative types of digital scholarly resources and has introduced scholarly communication that reaches end users directly while diminishing in many cases the role of the academic library as an intermediary. The report aimed “to highlight interesting examples of digital scholarly resources, their contribution to the scholarly process, and the organizational and business models that help them survive and thrive.” The authors examined eight types of digital scholarly resources: E-Only Journals; Reviews; Preprints and Working Papers; Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and Annotated Content; Data Resources; Blogs; Discussion Forums; Professional and Academic Hubs.

The report’s summary of findings:
--Digital innovations are taking place in all disciplines.
--Digital publishing is shaped powerfully by the traditions of scholarly culture.
--Some of the largest resources with greatest impact have been in existence a long while.
--Many digital publications are small, niche resources.
--Although many of the digital scholarly resources are primarily text-based, there are also examples that incorporate multimedia technology and networking tools to create new and innovative works.
--Establishing credibility is not easy, but is of critical importance.
--Achieving sustainability—especially for those resources with an open-access mandate—is a universal challenge.

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