Jun 302011

Today and tomorrow I am at the FIFTH BLOOMSBURY CONFERENCE ON E-PUBLISHING AND E-PUBLICATIONS, SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE ACADEMY: Enhancing and enabling scholarly communication. I’ll be liveblogging but the usual health warnings apply: expect typos etc.

Welcome to UCL and to the Conference from Claire Warwick (UCL) and from Anthony Watkinson (UCL)

Claire Warwick, who is interim Head of the Department of Information Studies and director of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, opened with a quick welcome from University College London then handed over to Anthony Watkinson, organiser of this series and the chair of this conference, to outline the day and to flag up some changes to the programme: some folks with bad back, one at a funeral, one with a baby.

Framing the Discussion – Different Perspectives
Description of Session from organisers: Scholarly communication does not exist in a vacuum. David Nicholas (the director of CIBER) will explain how CIBER research provides a context for online behaviour, Chris Batt (researcher and former chief executive of MLA) will place scholars in their public environment, Chris Armbruster (Max Planck) will suggest ways in which the changes of the infrastructure of science is impacting on scholarly communication and Dave De Roure (OERC Oxford) will talk on the co-evolution of digital technologies and research methods in and between multiple disciplines.

Virtual Scholar, beyond books and journals, resources/data and this one on Social Media and the Academy. The theme has been scholarly communication. You could see these scholars communicating with the general public but we’re not really thinking about that in this case. Scholarly communication can be curiously unresponsive to changes but things are changing so we’re hoping to work that out over the course of this events.

UCL run various courses on epublishing and digital humanities which ties into our interest in today: we are looking at the communications between Information professionals and scholars. And we are looking at what publishers call the “formal” part of scholarly communications and the informal side of things. In the academic world the distinction isn’t really there but publishers think of themselves as providing the formal side of scholarly communications.

This is also the culmination of a 2 week summer school on epublishing.

The Virtual Scholar: essential context for understanding social media users and use – professor David Nicholas, CIBER Research Group (Dave.Nicholas@ciber-research.eu) – being given by our chair Anthony Watkinson instead – Powerpoint Kareoke!

David has left the school of information sciences (?) and has now set up CIBER – as an offshore organisation. At the moment CIBER is in negotiation with another UK university and expect an announcement in the summer about that research group moving to that other university. CIBER was set up at 2002 – David Nicholas, Ian Rowlands and Anthony Watkinson set up the organisation. Ciber-research.eu includes information, publications, and presentations.

I am from a publishing background but most of the literature in this area is written by those with an information sciences background. These people have been very keen on making materials available to a wider audience. Journal articles, information etc. We believe in both getting things into the peer reviewed journals but also sharing materials more widely.

Tried to be dispassionate and take properly conducted surveys and analysis. We have come to the conclusion/discovery that scholars behave like other human beings! For libraries the expectations of the user community gets greater all the time as functionality in the outside world gets better. For those of us involved in early publishing remember getting PDFs online as our first publications online and the process of meetings, conferences, discussion and later publication. But that online publication landscape has changed many times over.

Tranformations: I remember in the early 1990s that I put all my publications online and was being told that journals would disappear as the web would enable the communication directly between the author/academic/researcher and the end reader/user. JISC thought that at the time. All the jobs were thought to be disappearing along with all the journals, replaced with interactive platforms. That didn’t happen but David thinks there is a recent disintermediation because of Social Media, because of Google (in part).

Now, here is David’s book (Digital Consumers – David Nicholas and Ian Rowlands) and it’s already out of date! We are all a little out of touch but David believes librarians and publishers are particularly out of touch with what people want. That there is decoupling between what users want and what they get. Transitions are very fast. Social Media amplifies behaviour we are already witnessing.

Digital behaviours:

  1. Massive Use and Growth – huge access to materials, not interested in what is locally available
  2. Bouncy and promiscuous
  3. Fast Information
  4. Trust difficult to discern and up for grabs – people want choice and making their own trust decision.

Conclusions – tidel wave breaking now and impact quickly being felt, publishers have only passing interest and librarians seem out of the equation, young are running with it and can feel shut out of other publications, level playing field for young and humanitoes scholars – a real reaction against the mainly middle aged, mainly male organisers of most of these events and groups and there are breakaway moves to build new peer groups.

The BBC and the British Library have commissioned us to do work on “Digital Natives” and the “Google Generation” and the research we’ve done which are in various publications and presentations (Google for “Google Generation CIBER”). This work has shown that there has indeed been a change in behaviour by those who have always grown up with computers. BUT other generations are catching up rapidly – there is a slight lag but only slight. Also many students do not know how to do things like searching. If they don’t find something on the first page they can be thrown. As we know in academic areas most of what you want to find may not be on the first page – unless you are fantastic with search terms. No-one uses advanced searching and many students don’t even know how to tweak and improve their searching. This is all part of computer literacy really. If you are really very sophisticated users already you still may need to relearn your techniques. This is perhaps why “older” people are catching up with “younger” users.

Michael Mabe and Michael Jubb would say that there are huge differences between disciplines. And there is an issue of authority. There will be a need to find authoritative information in this huge information overloaded space.

Scholars in the Public Environment – Chris Batt, Phd Student, UCL

Introduced with “he’s disguising himself as a PhD student”.

Chris is a PhD student and a part time consultant. I’m studying the boundary interface between information systems and people. Taking a systems view and looking at that boundary interface.

Chris says he is probably here because of the Digital, Curation and Two Way Engagement work he did for JISC.

If we talk about social media what on earth does it mean? Social media is like talking about “transport”. There are so many tools doing so many things .And we now have “Anti-Social Media” – a dialectic emerging here. And we have discussion about crowdsourcing – the same word covers multitudes of activities. And we have co-creation – for instance cars, buildings, books etc. are being created all the time (Charles Leadbetter crowdsourced We Create). And we have web 2.0 – what on earth does that mean? When do we get to web 3.0? I’m interested in Web x.0

There have been all sorts of changes. Feet, horses, coffee houses – all have enabled social exchange. We have our postie, we have conferences and professional bodies. Scholars have always been pretty darn good at socialising and communicating.

Status Quo 2.0 – what we have is the adoption of various elements of social networking/media and absorbing and making what’s already happening more effective – e.g. Mendeley, WordPress, Academia.edu, LinkedIn, Amazon etc. Amazon is here because it is far easier to search than the university catalogue – and will tell me all the related titles. I can then go to the catalogue and of course discover they are not in stock! But that’s an administrative issue!

It’s barmy to try and train information literacies, the systems have to work for users they are not going to change to suit the system.

So, what’s the problem? The scholars are facing something that we might consider to be a revolution. There is lots of subjective information to suggest this may be so (see Digital Information Culture: the individual and society in the digital age by Luke Tredinnick, published by Chandos). We have three strands here: Fragmentation – not just books but blogs, tweets, a brickolage of stuff here; Participation – we are all involved though what that participation is may vary, it can be hard because of that to know what are authentic, hard to know where things come from; Disintermediation – the degree to which there needs to be intervention, to put it bluntly how many of us will go ask a library a question before checking Wikipedia? People used to do that and you’d go look in encyclopedias and then also spoke to a knowledgeable librarian. We cannot require intervention. We need to help people go on a journey, know what to trust and how, and when to go in search of expertise.

There has been a fundamental shift in the ways people are connected together – the nature and the utility of connectivity has changed. Cue a map of internet traffic – global but really not globally distributed or created as many more connections in certain areas. Flickr in the Annual Review of Emerging Technologies – did a brilliant outline of texas but a huge pier that made no sense – turned out to be the place where gambling ships are moored.

Interactivity has changed – anyone can talk to anyone. And there is scalability. There is a shift in temporality – things can happen at a different pace than before, things can go from zero to global (whatever that means) in days or weeks. You can form communities of interest that may only last hours or may last longer. So I prefer to talk about the “Twitterpedia Generation” than the “Google Generation”. Twitter has so much potential for political change – far more than any of us individually – all sorts of examples but superinjunctions is the most recent. Public policy can shift in hours with that sort of communication. Same was true with MPs expenses – especially after the Guardian’s crowdsourcing initiative.

But you still don’t know who you are talking to – sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn’t.

Interactive Scholarship (“far better than social media and the academy”) can be about a “dialogue which enriches knowledge for mutual benefit” (JISC report quote). We were looking at how you can create a lasting relationship between scholars and the wider community. Important to build up these links to the broader community. But you need to be clear about what your intentions are. If you are serious about using it for any activity but especially scholarly purpose you need to be clear about what you want to do, why and how you will do that. It is a sort of contract with the community. Make explicit the exchange relationship and the benefits to both parties. And there is already a growing body of best practice and evidence about how to do this communication – for instance in the Russell Group 2003 community investment, HEFCE Strategic Plan 2006-11 – 7 objectives for “third stream” etc. There is even a scholarly textbook on it “Community-University Partnerships in Practice – University of Brighton(?)”. And there is also the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement and their 6 beacons for public engagement. Audience adds that BriteClub at UCL is now going national, been funding for student work, margin notes with actors – great range of work at this beacon (others are North East, CUE East, Edinburgh Beltane, Manchester, UCL, Wales Beacon). And my interest in how these communications and changes shape activity in the future.

Interactive networks and the public environement:

  • New models of knowledge and learning (eg articles in IRRODL, elearnspace) – emergent learning theory, connectivism. Particularly coming out of the University of London’s Knowledge Lab. These argue that learning tools should be learner driven and built.
  • “Crowdsourcing” – see Jeff Howard’s Crowd Sourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business where he suggests new things that crowd sourcing can do that is certainly relevant to academia. So for instance I have pulled out: Analysis and review of data sets (e.g. GalaxyZoo, Jeremy Bentham Papers); New Knowledge (e.g. WWI Archive – running for some time and now moving to Germany to include those perspectives as well. This isn’t simply about particular objects but also stories and experiences that are from the direct family and those who currently hold those items. Adding new information from more obscure experts – e.g. on old weaponry); Opinions and views (these can be very useful for what scholars are doing); Influencing policy and practice (institutions developing systems should engage their users to unstand what they want and do).

More examples:

The Waste Land app for the iPad is, Chris says, a fantastic app. A mash up from Faber of resources around the poem – other edits. As readers. All sorts of ways to experience the text. Performances etc. Transformative media. Tools like this will transform the whole of education and learning.

Texteos – scholarly publications based on material on YouTube. Project from MIT. Completely new way of using a social medium as a resource for scholarly work [lots of work on the University of Edinburgh’s MSc in eLearning and in transliterate forms include videos in this way too].

New routes to market – the Open University has a spectacular site on iTunesU and an equally great one on YouTube. The Vice Chancellor of the OU says he sees these tools as “megaphones of informal learning”. They are not about formal learning but taking materials used in formal contexts for their own informal learning. Over time people dip in and out informal learning throughout their life. The OU had 500k hits on their YouTube presence in first few months and none of those took up course – but that’s not what that site is about, they are enabling different types of learning.

We should be thinking about new opportunities and resources; about the changed behaviours and roles – the niagara falls in terms of behaviours will change what scholars do, it’s not about use and absorbtion of these tools; clarity of purpose and relationships – rarely thought through from both sides of the equations.






How Social Media is Impacting on Scholarly Communication – Chris Armbruster, Max Planck Institute

Chris has no slides at all (which is a bit brave): I want to talk about social media and publishing. Potentially a big question. What is the relationship between social media and publishing. I want to put forward an argument – which is why I’ve dispensed with the powerpoint. As far as I’m aware social media use is going up. But there is a sense that in terms of publishing and academic publishing see it as an add on. Even CIBER looked at social media in all points of the research cycle but perhaps not hitting publishing to it’s core. But in that presentation of David’s and Chris there is some indication that there are some moves by publishers. I would take that further and say that this will bring about similar scenarios and changing as a the 1950s/60s – that was the emergence of science and the increasing importance of publishing. And a way that publishers, especially commercial publishers created opportunities for publication and were very successful. Social media changes the game. I am concerned with the 95% – scholars with an academic career who do not publish in the top 1% or 2% of journals but want to and do publish all the time. That recourse to social media can help them change the game. That top 1-5% sit on the editorial boards etc. And you can realise that you are a good scholar but you are unlikely to be appointed to Harvard, then what?

So I want to talk about Facebook – most of the room are on Facebook, many have seen The Social Network. So I will use the movie as an example. There is a moment where the try to hire (page 34-5 of the script) a programmer for Harvard Connect. What would have happened if they had created that instead. If a network opened for Harvard – an elite local network, selective, closed and small. Look at the Facebook idea and how it grew. Started at Harvard, then grew to other Ivy League colleges, then UK high end universities. It matters maybe that their origin and growth and marketing process. But today it doesn’t really matter to their current users.

Rupert Murdoch has sold MySpace for less than 10% of what he paid for it. You can get these things wrong too!

In terms of journal there is a great history – and big aspiration – to create “Harvard Connect” type models and products. There is some reaction from publishers – like PloS. But the question is does this go far enough?

Chris works at the Max Planck Institute and we are working on a project on the future of publishing with UCL and Louborough and Milan looking at user behaviours and publishing. One of things you see if “platform based competition” – especially on the internet. Most of you will have a credit card and you will be aware that there are relatively few credit card systems to choose from – you have network effects in these platform based competition spaces. So if a large number of stores accept your card then you can find more users. And the other way around. So this is the principle of platfrom based competition. You need to deal with both sides to create a synergetic effect that allows you to grow. And once that has run for a long time you will find only a few effective competitors of size is fairly limited. When you talk about publishing and scholarly publishing people will say that it has always been a cottage industry. Publishers will say how different their journals are, how many run on very different business models. But that’s not where we are going. We are still in the middle of that digital revolution. Many journals – at least their idiosyncratic organisation – may not have a future.

So if you have scholars that are increasingly active both as readers and as users this has interesting implications for the way you run your business as a publisher. Traditionally publishers take money from the agents – the libraries etc – not the readers. People organise themselves differently now though and libraries are losing importance to some extent. There is disintermediation taking place. There is also a trend to getting authors/funders to pay for publication in publishing (open access model). People want to do more and take things into their own hands. And many publications are being prepared using social media and there is some discussion of what role publishers actually play. Publishers will say “peer review” and that has been reenforced by the role in peer review in research assessment and government policy and funding around that. You settle the top 5% of scholars but what about all those other scholars. For publishers that 95% are very important and profitable so they really matter. It is an open game what kinds of new services and new tools are required there and what that means for publishing business models. We are seieng some of this but it has much further to go.

Is Open Access a possible solution to that? Well I’d like to start somewhere else – with the libraries and repositories and open access. The Max Planck Institute is behind the Berlin Declaration (2003) on open access. But I’m skeptical. Repositories are about post publication items (or items approved for publishing). Items sit there, the interaction is pretty much zero. There is no way to integrate that into the research process. You can’t do anything with that. It’s interesting to observe that. And there is maybe a question of the speed at which digital technology is changing – repositories are not connecting to the modern landscape, to social media. I am not convinved they can connect and keep up. One more comment there is a way to seemlessly integrate open access material into the web that you can never do with licenced content. But we haven’t seen tools that do this properly yet with journals properly connecting to social media. Functions are about sharing, tough to get comments – an audience member from PloS confirms this. BioMed Central present in social media but they didn’t feel they had anything to offer to today’s session [that’s from our chair].

It’s worth thinking about what happened in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in publishing in how publishers changed to meet the needs of scholars. The numbers of scholars are growing even more quickly – the elite is not going to grow but the remaining group of publishing scholars will year on year. This larger mass may be taking more to social media and this has implications for publishers and the ways in which we publish. We should move where scholars are to find a business model for finding scholarly publishing tools that meet their needs now.

Co-evolution of Digital Technologies and Research Methods – Dave de Roure (standing in for Jeremy Frey)

Dave’s background has been e-science. It was about the way in which science would be done in the future but not it’s really just “science”. E-science was defined by John Taylor (DG or UK Research Council) as “global collaboration in key areas of science and the next generation of infrastructure that will enable it”. Dave is a keen observer of the digital research infrastructure. E-science took the early adopters of complex high tech infrastructures. In the next phase the new methods established in investment in resources were taken up by more researchers, to a broader group. Social Sciences is still in this phase. And the new research and the new research methods and outcomes are coming out of these models and systems. Participation in the digital world by researchers, “natives” etc. This talk is about these new methods and how they connect to social media.

The data centric or data intensive research is at the core of this.

“the imminent flood of scientific data expected from the next generation if experiments, simulations, sensors and satellites”- Tony Hey and Anne Trefethan. And an important backdrop is that all this data

The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery (free book co-authored by Tony Hey) – start with data and form a hypothesis rather than the other way around. See also journal articles on the same, Wired article by Chris Anderson in 2008.

However for some people… “what’s all this fourth paradigm stuff – we’ve been doing data intensive research forever, it’s the first paradigm”. Digital Humanities both predates and postdates escience – in the UK eScience means eResearch. See World Wide Research by William H Dutton and Paul Jeffries for a nice balanced view of this.

SALAMI project – digging into data project looking at music information. Funding from multiple funding bodies. Take huge amounts of digital music collections and performances from the Internet Archive etc. Taken a subset to students to find the “correct answer” and then used that to calibrate algorithms from a community software resource (Music Information Retreival Community, imirsel, mirex?), analysed by a supercomputer and provided as Linked Data Repositories for musicologists. A humanities example of big data.

And a nice meme for that: Datascopes: telescopes for the naked mind – a concept from Malcolm Atkinson. Taking data from all sorts of sources througha socio-technical pipeline. This is the cross-diciplinary piece here.

The other thing we sometimes see is that the problem solving skills computer sciences have can be used in the research process. Often the computer scientists is the enabler for a researcher but the skills and attitudes of computer scientists can be applicable to some research materials.

E. Science laboris (Carole Goble). Go into any research environment and a researcher is using all sorts of tools in their research. Wouldn’t it be good to automate these? Well these are workflows – this is fantastic as it shows the method and records the research process not just to help you automate systems. This is about co-creation – many different systems for different specific tools for very different types of research. But all usefully capture that workflow.

“co-*” is about socio-technical effects.

So showing an example of myGrid – Paul Fisher, a scientist, needs to process data, sets up a workflow, shares it and a colleague reuses it just swapping in her data. Sharing can clearly be useful but how do they share? We created myExperiment – a website for sharing workflows. It’s kind of a repository of research methods, but also a community social network of people and things. In the JISC world it is a Social Virtual Research Environment. A probe into researcher behaviour, it’s open source, it’s Linked Data and has inspired other spaces/tools. Web 2.0 is good for sharing content, on myExperiment it’s workflows.

So here is the site. We see credits, licences, contacts. People want to share workflows, data, logs, slides, PDFs etc. so this is all enabled. The important point is that everyone is talking about data – issues, ethics, policies, sustainability etc. And what about the methods? What we do with the data really matters. This isn’t controversial but I’d like to take things further. People like to tie down data and then applying methods. How about fixing the method but letting the data being the live thing. Imagine your PhD is an executable thing – new results, new papers emerge! The data flows. For some time we seem to be trying to data down all the time.

So, Paul created his information as workflows, data, publications etc. wanted to express relationships, tags etc. It’s a research object – but could use a new name. That’s the thing people really want to share for re-running that experiment. Use standards for these bundles – and others do this as well. Shared aggregations from various places.

See De Roure 2010: Replacing the Paper: the Twelce Rs of the eResearch Record (Nov 27, 2010) – blogs.nature.com/eresearch/2010/11/27/

That’s where Dave was when a year ago he was invited to Utah for a meeting about reasoning over human knowledge. Expected semantic web etc. But it was about data mining the research papers. It’s so hard to get people thing outside of papers. We need to provoke discussion and communication in smaller ways, in different ways, in not always paper shaped sharing.

Around the same time Ted Nelson presented his authobiogaphy Possiplex and I was reminded that he says that documents should be interactive not “documents under glass”.

Repositories come in around publication but I think we need to question that and that papers are a key part of the process. Jeremy Frey who couldn’t be here today works on systems that create lab books collecting all manner of data on the way in which experiements take place which is increadibly important for analysis and reproducability and does this in a very social way (blog3: a blogging engine for the semantic web – Mark Borkum and Jeremy Frey).

  • MethodBox – allow sharing of methods across diciplines.
  • A bioinformatics Experiment – Scott Marshall, Marco Roos – an attempt to combine tools to see what a Methods section of a paper may look like in the future – probably about Semantically Enhanced Publication.
  • Workflow4Ever – about methods, preservations, provenance and recommendation – finding people, things, data etc. That’s going forward following that agenda.

Meanwhile very interesting Elsevier event: the “executable paper grand challenge” – interactive papers you can change data in and see results. 10 finalists all on the web. Really interesting as that’s a scientific publisher running that session.

And over the last few weeks this has moved into a discussion of Executable Journals – really interesting. In eScience we think hard on complex infrastructure. Entirely user centric based around scholarly communication. The platform hosts the experiments, journal submissions both run on and add components to the platform. To be discussed at the Future of Research Communication event coming up.

And finally Dave is being difficult about these tools. Some really interesting work being done with humans, no-one is asking the computer. In myExperiment we have scripts checking on stuff, telling us about changes, spam, assisting in content creation. We can make automatic suggestions of attribution and credits. Lots of machine processing going on here. So I’ve started thinking about the machine process of these objects – Research Objects contain process specifications. Can be executable – developing “Semantics” about this. Enthusiasm for REST but looking at how that can link to Linked Data and Programming Language Semantics. – Dave will be presenting this at Microsoft Research event in Stokholm

Key Headlines

  1. Primacy of method in the data-centric world
  2. Emergence of new sharable digital artefacts
  3. Social media elsewhere in the cycle
  4. Executable papers and journals
  5. Computational Research Objects

Panel Discussion/Q&A

Firstly Anthony Watkinson comments he does not have enough social science in the programme. OECD couldn’t make it along.

Q1) Micheal of Berlin(??) – yesterday looking at how we preserve things in a long term way both technically and digital cultural way. What I find really interesting is how we involve the kind of computational thinking and make it possible to use machine/automated methods to understand trigger events that are going to force us to do a cultural migration in the way that we have a reasonably good way of triggering a format migration. So my question is how do you get people to bridge this gap to computational thinking. Many of our students come from the humanities and we make them think objectively about what a computer can and cannot do – at 18 years old is that too late?

A1) Dave: Good question with many aspects. This is perhaps a weird moment of time. Our PhD students do not recall a world without the web and we can. Perhaps that will change but perhaps there will always be a gap. At the 20th anniversary of the idea of the web Tim Berners Lee made a joke about picking www – he googled it, no-one has used it so he picked it! Much laughter but when Dave repeated it to students they didn’t understand the joke. Escience bar chatter often around wanting to teach difference disciplines – culture changes take a while. We would like to help people in other departments in eResearch but people come to us wanting training in Latex or similar – that’s their notion of eResearch.

Q2) Damian Haddlington(?): the problem we’ve had is getting scholars to adopt these tools. Post publication peer review etc. People like traditional papers.

A2) Dave: If you looked at the web originally you might have predicted a change in scholarly publishing but it’s changed the whole world except scholarly publishing.

Q2) Sarah, Clemens Library School in Boston: Coming from a scienec and now a library background I notice that librarians try to drive that change. Scholars are quite defensive to new ways to manage their data. I am curious about how we get scholars to adopt these tools, right now we are being rebuffed.

A2) Chris: It’s the wrong approach. Institutions that are part of the scholarly processes but are not scholars have tried to push adoption. Lots of policies and recommendations about what scholars are trying to do. Watch their frustration and stop doing it. Go to what the scholars do, how they are doing it and whether there is an opportunity to improve or enhance it.

Chris Batt: I think the issue is not why hasn’t it changed. It’s about the judgement of when it will change. New and upcoming scholars will be different. All these approaches depends on what you are selling and why. All the succesful tools on the web meet a need really well. At some stage in the future you have to find the Facebook or linkedIn or whatever that people really really want.

Q3) One thing that wasn’t mention was Arxiv that was entirely scholar driven. But… if you don’t have peer review how will you ever establish the authority of a publication?

A3) Chris: Peer review goes on all the time – many papers have a multitude of authors who review each other. Journals and RAE are all peer review as well. The old system of journals and publishing isn’t so much about peer review but ranking in publications system and there is a way in which the Facebook example I gave earlier shows that this elite is still important. But there have to be other ways of working for the 95% of scholars who also want to publish.

Q3) How does the public assess that quality though – say an article on Intelligent Design?!

A3) Two comments: We have a great system of peer review nad people still find that stuff on the internet and believe it so I don’t think

Q4) Margaret Dork form University of Illinois: You were saying that all documents should be interactive – data and publications. As a librarian there is an ethical reason why not all data can be interactive.

Q4) Kim Johnson, Advisor in Digital Literacy at University of Worcestor: Scholars can be up for this stuff but librarians can be very protective about openness and awful things that the public may find.

Q4) Margaret: Well this is a participant stance, material shared in a repository may breach that privacy.

A4) Dave: I must declare an interest as a visiting researcher at Gislets(?). A couple of things: part of that is: in eScience at the moment it is better not to warehouse data but to share and let the community curate because there isn’t the dialogue with libraries who can do that although I see it coming. The other thing is the openness. Actually the missing piece of software is the data enclave – a way to store data in a safe way. I am into open ness but not appropriate to all types of research data.

Chris Batt: It’s interesting the discussion. It seems that there is an assumption that the future will be better than the past. That librarians might be able to make the future better. I think we know the future will be different (better or not). The amount of research that happens, how, what policy shapes that is changing. The JISC has £3million to spend on digitisation – the funders require that all material digitised must be open to the public. It’s the people who spend the money who have power to decide what is and is not open. Something I say is: if libraries didn’t exist would you create the same thing to meet the demand? Think the same about scholarly publishing – what would you do to meet research funders and community you are serving? That is the issue that might help answer some of these future issues.

And that’s us going for a tasty sandwich lunch with some excellent melty brownies!

Now it’s only the next section:

Research Findings Displayed
Description of Session from organisers: Three academic researchers, Ian Rowlands (UCL), Carol Tenopir (UTK) and Carolyn Hank (McGill) will set out the results of their own and related research to demonstrate what we actually know about the way scholars work with social media

Social Media and Scholarly Workflows – Ian Rowlands et al.

This comes out of a thing called the Charleston Conference – we’ve been regular attendees to this for the last 7 or 8 years. It’s one of the few conferences that brings together librarians and publishers in relatively equal numbers. It’s a big conference. Papers tend to respond to papers put forward at a certain time so David (Nicholas) wondered about editorialising a bit. So we came up with the Charleston Observatory – asking various people what themes they would like to see at the Charleston Conference. Then we report our findings as a keynote at the conference. In 2010 the will of the poeple was something on the economic downturn and how that impacts on scholarly communications, previously on social media. This year it will be on subject repositories both from institutional and researcher perspectives. So a quick piece of research to get people talking. So I would like to get lots and lots of questions out of this session.

There is a lot of talk about social media. A lot of us use it in our personal lives. So last year we wondered “Are social media impacting upon researcher workflows?” More and more forward thinking librarians and publishers are thinking about how they can get involved not just at the end of the research process but throughout the scholarly workflow. And the fundamental question here is when and how do social media impact on that research journey. We did an online survey and also did focus group interviews at the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Universty of Manchester and Taylor & Francis. We are currently now working with the Research Information Network who have also been doing research on social media and researchers so we are beginning what we think will be quite a long journey.

The survey had responses from 2414 researchers in 215 countries. It was hard to

USed various different mailing lists: Emerald (research partner and sponsor), Cambridge University Press, Charleston Conference, Taylor and Francis, University College London, Wolters Kluwer. This meant some people will have had multiple requests but perhaps the mix of lists significantly reduced bias. But we think that perhaps 8% of those invited responded to the survey.

The survey was a “non-probabilistic convenience sample” – so we do not have results that are neccassarily representative of the wider researcher group. And when we sent out the research survey we did say what the survey was about – this may well have put off those who do not use social media. But we were trying to zoom in on the population that is already using social media – if you are doing a survey on driving gloves there’s not a lot of point asking people who don’t drive [I’m not sure that analogy works]. However we did have a small group of non users who did respond. But we are focusing today on our 1923 responders who do use social media in research.

A graph onscreen shows that many are using, the largest chunk of responses were those aware of and thinking about using social media. For each type of tool we gave a category and then examples of well known tools to make it clear what was meant (e.g. Twitter is a type of microblogging…). Most poeple use social media in only one two or three categories of social media. So there are some strong pairings – blogging and microblogging; microblogging and social networking; microblogging and social tagging.

We also included lots of text fields on the forms and we did a wordle of tools people mentioned in these – Skype, Wikipedia, YouTube, Doodle, Google Docs all rank highly. Not that many specific scholarly tools were being cited here. These are “Anchor Technologies” – no matter what you think of them these are mainstream well adopted tools.

The research life cycle – where does social media fit in? So here we see an image of an 8 stage process beginning with identifying opportunities, finding collaborators, securing support, reviewing literature, collecting research data, analysing research data, disseminate findings, manage the research process. Librarians and publishing tends to come in towards only that last phase of dissemination. But perhaps there is a broader role for social media to be used throughout the cycle. Comments on social media and research are mixed: people can be quite enthusiastic but many are reasonably wary. The modal responses saw social media as very useful for identiying opportunities, finding collaborating, collecting data, disseminating and managing research. Less so for analysing research data or securing support. But it is useful across all 8 phases. With relatively little differentiation between the disciplines. But the group with the highest level of enthusiasm for social media was biosciences and health (though only slightly higher than others).

Scheduling tools were seen as useful for managing the process and collaborating is little else. Microblogging was rather broader – useful for opportunities, collaboration, literature review, collecting data and, of course, for dissemination. And a head map of tools and research phases – clusters of green show the usefulness. Most areas of that diagram show usefulness but for the securing support and analysing research data phases (only) few of the social tools were ranked as useful. [a question from the audience asks if these attitudes are from those using these tools or from those who might use the tools – Ian confirms this is from those using the tools only].

In terms of the benefits it is the bridging of time and space that is important. Althogh we think of social media as raising profile that isn’t neccassarily the aim of those spoken to – it’s more pragmatically about collaboration opportunities, working more efficiently etc.

In terms of drivers we found few institutions are investing in social media tools to support the research journey more generally.

Social media enthusiasts: we looked across enthusiasm across age ranges and looking at uptake of tools across stages of career. This is a bit counter intuitive. It’s by and large the tools flatline – they uptake at all stages of careers, not just the so-called “digital natives” though this does chime with other research we’ve done. It’s not really about age, it’s about the “Rogers’ adaption curve” – a new technology is taken up at different speeds by different types of people from Innovators to Laggards! You can see that the key driver isn’t age but people’s propensity to be in and part of the scene. That’s important I think because that suggests that the dam is about to burst. This is a relatively early stage bit of research and even the “laggards” in our groups were strongly using social media.

The answer from that first graph again – there is huge contested ground where we will see change very rapidly – huge numbers interestied in using these tools. And, going back to this study and the work we did for the RIN, I think researchers are being short changed in the sense that we are being encouraged to be more productive, more efficient in our research but we need tools to help us do that. If you are like me you will be using your email as a secure archive, a to do list, a set of reminders, a contacts database, a searchable database of documents. I don’t feel there are tools there to support me throughout my research journey but I don’t think any of them really join up across the whole process. So are there ways that publishers can support researchers throughout the research journey. Now I have an example from Elsevier to help chemists that helps them find funding opportunities, search literature, manage research, even connections to retailers that let you buy the ingrediants for experiments etc. Tools to help to support you to write the paper – graphics tools, formatting tools etc. That’s really my thought to end at – we’re looking at social media but none of those we’ve looked at really support that whole journey. And we need to do that if we are to stay ahead of the Chinese and South-East Asians who are snapping at our heels all the time.

Social Media and Scholarly Reading – Carol Tenopir, University of Tennessee Centre for Information and Communication Studies

Last year at this meeting I talked about survey of scientists and data sharing attitudes that should be out in PLOS1 today/this week which fits into this morning’s discussion.

This year we expanded our survey on scholarly reading to bring in social media and how our researchers create or consume social media. We wanted to see if those that used social media used fewer traditional scholarly articles – that turned out not to be true but

Scolarly Reading and the Value of Library Resources – worked for JISC Collections. The survey response rate of 15-25% and was drawn just from research staff at 6 UK Universities.

  • Academic staff read from an average of 25 articles, 8 books, 11 “other” per month (websites, reports, government documents etc).
  • 78% used journal articles as last source of information for work
  • 88% of readings are from an electronic source (and 94% of the readings that came from the library were in electronic form)

We’ve been doing this sort of research for decades now but we looked at form and format of articles. If you are reading something in print you can’t be being very social. Once you print an electronic journal you’ve eliminated the social factor.  If you look at the percentage of readings that come from electronic and print journals – in the US in 2005 54% of readings were electronic, 46% print. In the UK in 2011 some 88% were electronic and 12% of print. Now those 2005 figures included a lot of personal print subscriptions and over the last 35 years the amount of people with personal subscriptions and the number of personal subscriptions has hugely reduced.

In terms of the final form of reading. In the US in 2005 only 19% of readings were done from the screen, in the UK in 2011 some 45% of readings were done from the screen. What we didn’t ask was what size those screens were – whether computer, laptop, smart phone, ipad type device etc. We didn’t differentiate but we will be doing that next time. Some big changes here – with many more reading on screen – and that perhaps enables merging of reading with additional social media/interaction.

There is some relationship on age and there is some correlation with personal subscriptions. We did wonder if it was to do with income but just seems to be a behavioural trend. But many journals came with professional societies and those are also falling.

Use of Social Media and readings and scholarly materials: we have slightly different categories for social media but we did also look at different types of social media were used. And we did make a distinction between consuming, reading, viewing. We wanted to see numbers for both passive and active participation. Only a quarter of our respondants did not use any social media, a big chunk used one or two and a very small group used six or more. These are representative (or an attempt to be) samples, not those who have said they use social media.

In terms of usage videos and YouTUbe was the top for usage and blogs and user comments were big areas of activity. Podcasts were lower and only 14% of people use Twitter for work related purposes though I think this will change further as people use tools for personal use. The biggest answer for frequency of use was “Occassionally”. Weekly or Daily usage was significantly lower.

In terms of disciplines it is the Social Sciences and Humanities are more likely to use more types of social media. Computer science and mathematics close behind. Engineering were least likely to use multiple types of social media. Academics over 50 are less likely to use 3 or more types of social media but otherwise quite an even usage level. In terms of types of social media there are some differences by discipline. HUmanities and Social Sciences use more podcasts and videos than other disciplines. Academics over 50 are less likely to use and to follow people on Twitter but largely there is little difference between age groups and usage of tools (though a peak in podcasts for middle aged academics).

Are there factors about the workplace that impact on use of social media? WHat is the relationship between the amount of reading of scholarly articles and social media? Mostly not significant differences between those with low reading, average reading and high reading. The only differences is that many of those that read more use social media more – people engage in both in a pattern which we had not expected.

Focus of work and use of social media – here the group was broken into those who have research-intensive roles vs. teaching-intensive roles. Those with teaching-intensive roles have a significantly higher usage of social media tools (though both groups have high usage).

Switching to creating in social media 55% of our respondants do not create at all, next biggest response was that they created in one space. Adding user comments to article was the biggest group of those creating. YouTube and blog were next biggest group, only 8% were tweeting. A question from the audience about the distinction between YouTube/Video and Podcasts (since video can be podcasts) – think distinction is between audio and video. Also a question about commenting – this refers only to commenting on scholarly articles. Carole confirms the information will be on the website and this is data collected in June so still analysing.

Those that do create also fall into the “Occasional” frequency of usage factor. 50 is again the age at which creative social media use drops off but no significant differences before that. The over 60s are more likely to put user comments and an upswing in blogging – perhaps mapping to retirements?

Looking at work factors – again reverse expectations. Not counterintuitive to commenting perhaps but again high readers are highly creative. Academics who read more, also create more types of social media. Teaching intensivestaff are more active in videos and podcasts, research intensive staff more active in commenting and blogs (but only slightly).


  • There is no relationship between amount of reading of articles and use of social media
  • More academics use social media than create it
  • most academics use and create social media for work only occasionally
  • Academics with a teaching focus use and create more videos and podcasts; research focused create more comments
  • All ages use social media (slight drop off over 50 or 60)
  • Younger academics are more likely to create social media (younger meaning under 50s). But I expect that may change over time.

New Media, Social Scholarship – Carolyn Hank (Carolyn.hank@mcgill.ca)

Carolyn wishes us an early Happy Canada Day (get your putine at Trafalgar Square tomorrow!). Carolyn is talking about her dissertation on Scholars Perceptions of their blogs.

  • Research Question 1) How do scholars perceive their blogs as part of their scholarly records
  • Research Question 2) How do schoalrs who blog perceive their blog in relation to long term sterwardship? Who do they perceive as responsible and capable for preserving their bogs
  • Research Question 3) What blog characterisctocs impact preservatio What logger behaviours impact preservation?

Carolyn loked at Questionnaires, Interviews, and Blog Analysis. Purposive Sampling – finding scholars who blog is like finding a needle in a haystack so looked for scholars from the Academic blog portal. Looked in areas of History, Economy, Law, BioChemPhys. Removed duplicates and had some eligibility criteria – of 600 ish blogs about 188 blogs were eligable (or thse 125 were single authord). Then identified 200+ eligable bloggers. Response rate for questionnaire 1 (for single bloggers) – 41 to 58 questions – about a 63% response rate. questionnaire 2 (for co-authors) – similar number of questions but reworded with 4 extra questions on rights – about 46% response rate. Combined response rate of 52%. This was really high and very happy with this – carolyn happy to talk about how she recruited bloggers!

24 semi-structured phone interviews even after the really long questionnaire. Then coded 93 blogs according to 57-63 indicators (on/off blogs).

The Results of this research were that:

86% of respondants to questionnaires (combined single and collaborative authors) are employed in post secondary institution. 51% were at level of distinguished/chaired professor or full professor. Real age – around 45 years old. Professional age was a mean of 15 years (but from 0 to 39). 78% of respondants are male (in economics nearer 95%!), established publication and research history – all of respondants have published at least one peer reviewed article (89% respondants had), book chapters etc – most had published many. In terms of service in terms of scholarly publishing – of those that had had some role: 79% had refereed journal articles, 70% had been a manuscript/book evaluator, 38% has been a journal editor or associate editor.

42% of respondants publish to at least 2 or more blogs. 58% do not tweet – those that do have linked their blog to twitter in some way. For 55% the blog they were answering questions about was their first blog. 57% of blogs were between 5 and 8 years old (blogs had to be a year old to be eligable). Only 13% of bloggers use a pseudonym exclusively, most blog under their real name. 78% update their blog with a new post every week. 99% of blogs are made publicly available. An average of 30 posts/month across the blogs looked at (though a mean average).

Asked who their primary audience 61% blog for colleagues and professional peers, general public was 32% and far fewer for others (including students). 96% of participants respond to comments, 40% comment on others’ blogs one or more times per week. 57% of the most recent posts had no comments – but they publish so often this wasn’t very helpful. The previous year showed that still 40% had no comments, most had 1 to 2 comments. A couple of outliers had 20+ comments (one had 212 for one post!). However I didn’t count unique commentators for these.

I also wanted to look at the blogs during analysis about whether there were any policies or statements for contributors – copyright statements, creative commons statements etc. 49% feature 1 or more statements or licenses. For most there is a copyright note in the footer or sidebar. Only 26% had an explicit or implicit disclaimer-style statement. Many scholars have real blurriness between professional and personal lives. Most that had a statement were in economic and legal areas to cover themselves in case advice used to make financial etc. decisions.18% of bloggers did have an explicit or implicit comment policy or guidelines -a  few said comments gave them a non exclusive right to use and record comments.

96% of bloggers report that they edit their posts at one time or another. But only 2 blogs had any kind of post editing policy or statement. One was very elaborate and clear. The other was less specific.

Scholarship – asked bloggers if their blog was Scholarly record according to: Association of Research Libraries (1986)  and then asked criteria from Braxton, J. M., Luckey, W.. and Helland, P. (2002) and 100% said their blog was public, 68% said it was open to review etc. Basiclaly they do think of these posts as scholarship.

76% of bloggers said that their bloggers led to inviatation to present, many said it led to partnerships, 71% said it led to invitations to chair, edit etc.  and 82% said it led to publications opportunity – articles, comment pieces, books etc.

So, I wanted to know how blogging has impacted their scholarly life through 10 categories. Bloggers reported improvement across 8 or the 10 – particularly for greater visibility, work enjoyment, research creativity etc. Least useful: opportunities for promotion and tenure, and research quality – in both case this was about “neither improving or impairing” rather than a negative impact.

80% would like their blog preserved for public access and use into the indefinite future (Carolyn had them choose over different time frames). And wanted to know how bloggers saw their blog continuing in the future – 35% say they blog about the same as when they started, 25% blog somewhat less often. Very few expect to blog more often in the future.

In terms of value I did present a doomsday scenario! What if their blog went dark! They would be sad, some might be angry (some might sue), some were relieved, some said “C’est la vie!” (one said not as bad as a fridge breaking and all lab samples being lost), some doubted it – it’ll be somewhere in some form (Google will have cached it).

Carolyn thanks her dissertation committee including Dr Lynn Sillipini Connoway, Dr Cal Lee etc.


Panel Discussion/Q&A

Q1) from Anthony Watkinson) Commenting seems like a high percentage?

A1) Carole: but they did say occasional comments, could be very few indeed

Q2) What are the perceived negatives or barriers to participation rather than age or technology?

A2) CArolyn: I only went for bloggers actively blogging – posting every two weeks or more. But many of those they spoke about them not using their blog in their tenure or promotion paperwork, see it as a service.

Q2) Is there a risk of exposure or judgement?

A2) Carolyn: most said I wouldn’t put anything out there I wouldn’t wnat my grandmother to read

Carole: We didn’t ask that kind of question but we did ask about shairng data and biggest barrier there was time and not having enough time – same may apply to social media.

Q3) Chris Armbuster: What were the differences of your sample of 6 universities in terms of adopters, innovators etc… where do you think this is going?

A3) Carole: Ian made the point that he only looked at those using one or more types of social media.

Ian: Unfortunately Carole and I were using different categories so can’t compare but would be interesting to do that. But another survey on same basis would be able to show us where things are going. But my feeling is that uptake across categories is growing significantly.

Carole: So Carolyn’s was restricted just to bloggers, Ian’s to social media users, ours was the most broad speaking to averagely ranked research universities.

Q4 – Jeffrey Bilder(?)) One of the things that Ian said is that the tools that are used most are those which others can require you to use – scheduling tools, Skype and WebEx etc. It’s hard to avoid them.

A4) Ian: Yes, a very good point.

Q5) Wendy: I’m also very interested in the user and their use – do they trust it, do they cite it, how do they evaluate and back up their work. The other question is the process of your career over time: as a young scholar or recent doctorate it’s very different. Many doctoral students want to build their network and many say you have to blog so that people know you. And I am wondering how place in career change what is used and how they are using these tools. Would you use a blog as you might a scholarly article.

A5) Ian: well we are currently working on next Charleston Observatory and we will be asking about repositories but also about that idea of whether they would cite a blog. I am very interested in Carolyn’s idea of academic age as career stage is bound to affect attitude

Chair: When we did the focus groups we asked about whether participants felt journals were neccasary and they all did and thought they wouldn’t be going away. What interested me about this stuff is that it seems to show a much higher status for blogging than I had appreciated. And we also asked if we took away all tools except one which would they keep and the answer was email!

Q5) Would people trust a comment on a blog?

A5) Ian: I do remember seeing a life time analysis of the publishing of Sir Harry Cronos the Novel Prize winner – he started publishing many articles in low status peer reviewed journals, then as he made his Nobel winning discovering he published rarely in high status peer reviewed journals and then afterwards switched to writing lots and lots of articles in non peer reviewed journals

Q5) Dominik, PLoS1: We very much publish established scholars for similar reasons

A5) Carolyn: we’re doing a follow up study to look at publication patterns to compare to blogging etc.

Q6) Sarah: Did you ask about type of content on blogs?

A6) Carolyn: Not really but I didn’t include websites, filter blogs but only took “knowledge blog”.  I did analyse original vs. quoted words.

Q7) Micheal: I saw 88% of reading in the UK was electronic. In germany our students are more tied to paper and I suspect you’d get different stats there. The greater intensity of use and interest in social media – is it helping get people accustomed to reading on the screen, or is it the way around?

A7) Carole: You have to look at technology – screen ain’t what it used to be!

Q7) Micheal: the point is whilst the medium ceases to make a difference does that not make it easier for poeple to see that a blog might be as valid as a journal that would have looked so much more formal in the past?

A7) Carole: we did some work at the clues academics look for for quality. Journal title, known author of good reputation are important – a blog by a known author of good reputation (see PRC website and article and Learned Publishing).

Carolyn: My bloggers wanted to make it clear that their blog is not their published researchers etc.

Carole: In terms of readers etc. We are looking at staff with big collections of materials and electronic resouces that can be used all over the place – library policies have a real role there.

Q8) Virginia, NYPL: In library and information sciences the students are very enthusiastic about topics that are only in social media, that are not in published journals. They are not interested in what the journals say but in what people are doing in social media. But I’ve put instructions not to use blogs.

A8) Carolyn: you did say it is research in the social sciences

Q8) JEffrey: in terms of citation: all content is ephemeral depending on when you cite it. When formal literature cited you will see a publisher but if you look in the bibliography you will invariably be a URL. But who is preserving this stuff

Q8) Jonathan: for Carolyn – did you ask questions about application for blogging?

A8) Carolyn: most use a free blog location and free software. Blog networks are important here in terms of looking at authority – Science Blogs (there was a real shake down there over Pepsi last year), Nature Network etc.

Ian: Coming back to the students wanting to use blogs is there a need for a quality stamp for blogs. For Science blogs you have to have a peer review, you have to show a certain level of daily hits. Rather than demonising our young people perhaps we turn this around to encourage use of autortitive resources.

Q9) Chris Armbruster: Do social media, blogs, twitter etc. mean results are published earlier and open gates to more information and for more people.

A9) Ian: Chris to throw another thing in here we find that publishers find that abstracts are really poorly written and then get to a very terse article and experiments cannot be repeated because of format. Social media have to be an outlet for what you’ve talked with and the final product is often not that good!

Chair: my wife had a paper accepted by Nature and they take great care over how that’s presented but then they have the money to do that well.

Q10) Jo Stitchbury: did you analyse the readership?

A10) Carolyn: I did some analysis but I am skeptical of some of these statistics

Q11) Alison Jones, Palgrave McMillan: Do bloggers have strong views about who has responsibility for curation or preservation?

A11) Carolyn: Yes (for preservation only), first and foremost they are most responsible, Google and the Internet Archive ranked high as most capable. National libraries, Institutional archives, etc. ranked as less capable.

And now it’s onto a short break before the last session of the day:

How are intermediaries involved?
Description of Session from organisers: Intermediaries in this sense are information professionals who facilitate scholarly communication. There are speakers from the library world (Anne Welsh UCL), from publishing (Jo Stichbury NPG) and Damian Pattinson (PLOS) and from archives (Alexandra Eveleigh UCL).

Our chair is a really interested to hear on how this technology impacts on library and information studies:

Ranganathan in the 21st Century – Anne Welsh, Lecturer in Library and Information Studies

Ranaganathan was originally a mathematics academic in India and came to UCL to study libary science and is the founding father of libraries in India. When I was in cataloguing classes I was made to recite the Ranganathan’s 5 laws of libraries.

The book has evolved – Ranaganathan talks about the book but it’s probably now the “information object”. And so has the library – most access things via the web wherever you happen to be – purchasing, links etc. has made the library move on. But our principles remain. Anne is away of the polyhieracichal nature of what she will be talking about – she could have used all sorts of headings!

1. Books are for use

The myth of librarian of gatekeeper and a mediator. In the traditional sense I talk about items. So here we have two videos from the British Library about how to handle archive materials. What has disappointed me about the last 3 of these conferences has been the lack of reference to early materials. There is quite a large academic user community whose materials will never be digitised for good reasons but they are a core part of what libraries do.

CURL are trying to build a network of digitised research materials. One of the impacts of technology is that we digitise some items and not others – but different copies are different so one impact here is that digitisation tends to be for one not all copies. Have all marks been captured by digitisation. And this usage of books is actually going up as a result of digitisation and dissemination. We aggregate materials on Europeana, the World Digital Library etc. It is now easy to see what is in our local libraries, our national libraires and international libraries. Requests for visiting materials are going up. Cataloguers and rare book cataloguers are being kept very busy. We now have a two new projects to catalogue archive materials. One of the impacts of social media and digitisation has been increased awareness of the value of archive information and I’d like to see this included in the research cycle and in social media. This is a growth area in history and cultural anthropologists.

2. Every reader his book [Anne has resisted the temptation to switch the gender]

Feed me! Librarians do a different kind of mediation. They are helping people find material rather than looking through lists of catalogues of what is coming from publications. It’s only pressure from librarians (in 2007) that saw legal publishers start pushing feeds of publications so that it can be read and understood – rather than flicking through the catalogue.

3. Every book it’s reader

Here we have a standard OPAC – entry headings, holdings etc. You can see where it’s held. Absolutely standard. UCL also uses Matalib etc. so I’m being a bit unfair. But lets compare that to “OPAC 2.0” – University of Huddersfield’s catalogue has colour, it has a virtual shelf browser, links to Amazon, QR etc. Dave asks “do you want to put lipstick on your pig” (with the pig being your catalogue)?

The catalogue connects to social media and that’s important to users.

4. Save the time of the reader

Everything we do as a librarian should fulfill this need. I’m not a huge fan of information literacy training for the similar reasons as Chris Batt outlined earlier. You can be better off just helping those that have trouble. You have to target all of your users and make sure your interface is up to it but the librarians need to be there to offer information literacy on demand when these users come to you. That’s information literacy I can get behind. But we don’t want all your questions – come to us when you’ve tried! Don’t ask us how to manage your Twitter feed. There was a fear that the computer would kill librarians as a profession but all that has happened is that the dumb questions – yes, even from undergraduates –

5. The library is a growing organism

When we said the library was mobile we meant a big bus but now when we say this we mean devices. A library gave all it’s students ipads. We don’t talk to a classroom of students, we are helping them from their own libraries and laptops. The rise of the clinical librarians have really driven this. Pip Rimmington (cilip.org.uk/jobs-careers/careers-gateway/life-at-work/career-profiles/pages/piprimmington.aspx) is out there with her handheld device to help scholars, more and more librarians embedded in academic departments in new modern ways – the German style of librarianship is the historic form of the way we are using social media today. See the work done at University of Indiana and PDA/Handheld device, see Cummings et al Library High Tech 2010. As far as I’m concerned my students can certainly cite social media but they better not overlook a journal or a book. Sometimes the slower production methods of print items brings authority.

The question for information professionals is how do we keep ourselves visible – once you get into bed with someone they can cease to remember you are there!

Social Media and Scientific Publishing – Jo Stitchbury, Head of Communities, nature.com

Jo has been at Nature for 7 months taking over from Steve Scott. This will partly be his story and what’s is coming.

Jo is giving a quick introduction to Nature Publishing Group (NPG). It is a small family-owned business, less than 100 hournals in total of which Nature is the flagship. They don’t just do journals but also lots of online presences. They aim to be the best not the biggest.

Nature Network was set up in 2007 as an early initiative in social networking  for scientists. We haven’t done huge amounts of development but put resource into community management, seeding conversations, on the discussion forums, keeping the network busy and interested. There is engagement through groups, forums hubs, Q&A. There are hosted independent blogs and some staff blogs. Also user profiles – a bit like LinkedIn for scientists. It’s been very popular as they have great SEO for these pages.

Blogs are the heart of Nature Network. About 80 active bloggers, about 40 blog each month. Most are independent and blog on all manner of topics from what it’s like to be a researcher to specific subject blogs. There is also cartoonist who adds a new image each week. Nature.com also has blogs of editors which are more official than the editors’ blogs on Nature Network.

We have a few Nature Network Forums. There is a Nature editor forum, a Jobs forum etc. But largely people have set up forums for their own interests – there is a women in science forms, ORCID have a forum, Science Online London forum etc – lots of location based forums. There is Nature India forums but we have set up three official hubs: Boston, London and New York and each of these hubs has a specific community manager that bridges physical and virtual events. The London hub has events, pub nights, quizzes etc. We also have Nature Events and Nature Jobs for each region as well.

Nature Workbench is one of the newer elements. This is built on OpenSocial (used by iGoogle, Yahoo! and MySpace). This is an attempt to help researchers with research data but we’d like to work with other developers and companies to provide more tools. So users can choose widgetsand arrange them on Workbench (e.g. Latex markup tool), searches etc. We’ve also released developer APIs to help people build widgets and tools.

Nature Network – What we’ve learnt

There is no single community but a variety of forums and communities. People organise around subjects and activities (conferences, locations, areas of interest). Community managers are really important and we get lots of comments because they solicit activity on postings – picking up interesting highlights, looking for feedback. Far more comments on Nature Networks than Nature.com.

Since Nature Network launched Twitter and Facebook have emerged – people don’t really do following and social graphing as they do that elsewhere.  Science blogging has grown and fragmented: we have an aggregator site of around 1000 science blogs to flag up strong science content as important and interesting. We can’t and don’t want to host every science blog.

What’s next?

Nature Network’s hub model will be used more – build hubs out from request and feed into other social networking sites. We want to be able to draw in other information. We also want to recruit more hub leaders with guidance and templates for community development so that they can become their own community managers.

Example community: lindau.nature.com

This is a site for the Lindau-Nobel meetings and we have a member of staff out blogging these meetings, another Storifying Tweets etc. It’s built on WordPress and it feeds into and out of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube.

But social networking isn’t just about online. I thought I would flag up some events: SoNYC is a physical event every month but a third of participants take part via Twitter and there are live streams of the events. These have been phenomenally successful and demonstrate the crossover of online and physical space.

Science Online London is an annual event. This one started being about blogs and bloggers but now broadly about communication of science – this year the theme is visualisation of data.

Social media/web 2.0 at NPG: Connotea (social bookmarking); Scitable (blogging for PhD students); NaturePodcast; Wikipedia; YouTube; Facebook; Twitter etc. We have Twitter feeds for Nature and also for NPG. About 33 feeds for different journals. And we encourage individual staff to tweet as well.

On the site itself we also have sharing and commenting features for articles. Although we do all this and Twitter is out 10th largest referrer but it only accounts for about 1% of traffic to Nature.com. Less than 3% for all social network referrals.

PLoS ONE – Damian Pattinson

PLoS is an open access peer-reviewed online journal. We don’t make assessement of impact or significance of paper, we just look at the science. As a result our acceptance rate is about 70% which means we publish around 1000 papers a month. We are very busy!

So we are using social media three different ways:

  • to disseminate new research
  • to measure impact
  • to enhance content

We disseminate work in fairly common ways – e.g. Data Sharing by Scientists: Practices & Perceptions by Carol Tenopir et al. – so we have sharing options and social bookmarking options from each item. If you search for PLoS on Twitter you’ll see lots of ocmments and links. We also have Twitter feeds etc. but we rely on the community to generate buzz for papers they are interested in too.

This is a tweet by @stew/Euan Adie has found about 2,500 tweets per day linking to a science paper (0.001%). There are about 4000 papers published each day so… each paper gets half a tweet?!

The other thing we do is use a blog – some on PLoS.org: everyone is the PLoS One community blog. We get lots of coverage through the blogosphere. PLoS Blogs was set up after the demise of Science Blogs. This is a blog for anyone around PLoS and we link to our own blogs here too. This hosting is quite a new thing for us.

And a new feature as of yesterday! Now adding media coverage, as we find it, to the comments itself. So bookmarking coverage and commenting the links on. So the Epigenetic Predictor of Age paper has multiple write ups and you can see the press coverage. We try to only show the ones that add value and interpretation – negative as well as positive. A cross section of the story but not copies of press releases.

So PLoS has article level metrics – we’ve been keen that papers should be judged at the article not the journal level – how is the paper being received? So we have a tab that give you usage statistics, how many downloads, cumulative views etc. We also have citation data from Scopus, PubMed Central, CrossRef and the Google Scholar link. Comments can be rated but rarely are. We are considering whether or not we should continue with comment rating.

On some papers we get lots of interesting discussion and comments – the author is pinged when a comment is received – but generally few comments on articles.

We also include number of bookmarks count from CiteULike, Connotea, Mendeley is coming (and, our chair adds, someone from Mendeley is coming along tomorrow!). And we also grab counts of blogs – but all of these counts depend on APIs so it works until the API breaks. But it’s all live data that adds context.

We also publish all this data – it can be downloaded as a summary excel file [this would be an interesting set to compare with the OpenURL journal usage Data that EDINA recently released]. We see some bookmarks and some trends – there seems to be some correlation between bookmarking and citations. Paper by Yan and Gerstein  on this that is well worth reading.

Future Developments:

  • PubMed Centra usage data
  • Non-scholarly citations – Facebook, Tweets, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Life
  • Incorporation of Mendeley data
  • Integration of Google Blogs data

All information to give you a sense of impact other than being published in a big high profile journal. We pull out this data for this purpose – they bookmark etc. because it is useful for them to do this, the bookmarking tools aren’t there for stats but for function.

Using social media to enhance content: We have a hub from PLoS that is curated by a set of editors. So we have created a biodiversity hub – includes papers from other spaces as well as PLoS. We include metrics and citation data. But we have a curator’s note as well and a list of species mentioned in the article. The whole article is marked up with links which takes you to aggregations of metadata from all over the web and open sites.

Next steps for PLoS Hubs:

  • Enhance and automate content enrichment
  • Develop hubs community – let people follow curators
  • Extend literactrure sources beyond PMC
  • Extend Hubs concept to other disciplines
  • Make Hubs easy to replicate

Crowds and Communities: Facilitating Purposeful User Collaboration in Archives – Alexandra Eveleigh

Alexandra is an archivist first and foremost but I’m talking about my research which has an archival flavour to it…  I’ll include some information on interviews I’ve conducted with archivists etc.

So here are some examples of USer Collaboration in Archives including YourArchives, Exploring Surrey’s Past, Africa Through a Lens, Labs, Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collections, Militieregisters etc. All sorts of initiatives around participation and user collaoration in the archives sector. So what does Alexandra mean by Purposeful User Collaboration?

  • Designed to make use of users’ skill,s knowledge or creativity
  • User-focused, perhaps user-led
  • Reciprocal
  • Focused upon description and resource discovery (metadata creation and re-use) [for the purpose of Alexandra’s research]

these are clearly different from the marketing type user collaboration. These are all base on some level of acceptance that the participants will have more knowledge than the archivist acting alone. So it is important that users contribute rather than just passively using the site. But that means the people running these sites must commit to develop the site to meet user needs.

Several years ago my colleague Joy Palmer criticised the “If we build it, they will come” attitude to these types of services. We have a pragmatic and postmodernist take on this:

  • A “free” solution to cataloguing backlogs – appearling to archivists and particularly in current economic climate and government policies
  • The Archival COmmons – in theory about opening up archives, democratising them

But there are issues in opening up the archives around authority of archivists, about trust and authenticity of data.

“we need to create holes that allow in the voices of our users” – Duff, W.M. & Harris, V, (2002) “Stories and Naes: Archival Description as narrating records and constructing meanings” Archival Science 2(3)

Archivists are skeptical of contributions that could be received and wary of public reputation being damaged. But actually this risk can be managed on the whole. However there is a difficult fit between strictures of traditional metadata and democratised data – it can be hard to make user contributions work well for both parties.

Clay Shirky, in Here Comes EveryBody, saw this type of experimentation as a normal stage of the process but we should also move beyond that. There seems to be a mismatch between what archivists think will be appealing and what actually is appealing to users. ANd how do we move users into more active ongoing participation.

  • What are the optimal frameworks for participation?
  • How can systems be designed to motivate and reward contributions?
  • How effective are contributions recognised and encouraged?

In 2010 there have been some crowdsourcing initiatives that take user motivation more seriously with league tables and competitive elements (e.g. Transcribe Jeremy Bentham, Old Weather) but this is a long way from the ideal of a community of practice around research. But this idea of collaboration is hardly new.

Hilary Jenkinson, October 1947 talked about the role of the Amateur – the idea of Serious Leisure. My contention is that the first phase of user participation tried to replicate serious leisure in an online setting – they relied on existing interest in the subject and communities. So Living the Poor Life (at the National Archive in LOndon) was based around established groups. But those are limited approaches – they still exclude those outside established groups, they allow archivists to maintain structures of trust and attitudes to users – full moderation of contributions and reviewing of contributions etc. Real reticence to challenge traditional centres of authority.

More recent user collaboration attempts have tried to appeal to the largest number of participants. I’ve been avoiding the “crowdsourcing” term – often applied to any sort of social media type project. YourArchive has 29k registerd users but only about 20 regularly contribute – is that crowdsourcing?

Sometimes crowd type models that look for action rather than opinion can be useful for extended control, predefined tasks, often project-based. Interesting again for changing types of authority.

Haythornthwaite, 2009 talk about Crowds and Communities contrasting not what the collective does but how and whether the participants have to pay attention to each other.

2010 was very much the year of the user contributed transcriptions. A few like Old Weather seek to crowdsource small commitments from lots of participants but the connection might be fleeting. More community focused initiatives are about building long term connections, and traditionally these fit with volunteering type models. There are distinct models and this must impact on the design on the design of the platform, the role of the professionals and the measures for success.


Panel Discussion / Q&A

Q1) John: You pick up coverage automatically?

A1) Damian: No, we do that as individuals at the moment, that’s manual but we would like it to be more automated. But we use Diigo to bookmark and collate those bookmarks to the articles. It would be great to come up with a way to do this but it feels managable as only a small percentage of our articles get lots of coverage. And we only link to proper reporting or comment.

Q2) Micheal Seagle: I was really puzzled Anne when you said you thought that there were works that would not be digitised. Is that just about funding? I wonder in the sense of being old enough to remember the idea that we would never need more than three computers in the world

A2) Anne: I suppose that depends on what you mean by the resource will be digitised. The British Library have digitised two editions of the Guttenburg bible and that highlights the difference. Digitisation tends to be user driven and discoverability is about use – for books where maybe 30 people in the world are interested in that item it’s hard to justify the cost with the demand. For my own research I am interested in every copy of the book – the book as object is super important. Just as in publishing there is material that is available in

Comment) Damian from ProQuest: We think books are sexy and we are not selective about early European books and we do knowingly digitise duplicates. We have 4 partner libraries at present – Wellcome, National Library in Hague, National Library in Denmark, and a further library in Firorenze?. We are hoping to move on though. We think some books we’ve digitised maybe have no readers in the world right now but digitising them may bring readers.

Anne: Indeed, I know about that and I would love to be proved wrong! Standard libraries are destocking all the time and we are concerned that small libraries will dispose of something before it gets to being digitised.

Comment) Micheal Seagle: We hear this sort of comment all the time. The idea is to digitise all visual materials but quality is important too. Digitisation does not need to mean we lose information…

Comment) Tula: For books perhaps you can digitise everything but for archival content that’s near impossible. But we do work with communities to collect and store materials, memories, etc.

Alexandra: My Brighton and Hove is also

Q3) Claire Bower, BMJ: Resourcing Twitter – do people work full time on your main Twitter account. How do you do this?

A3) Dedicated resource but not just for Twitter. Sometimes an editor or journalist but for Nature News we have 50% of one person’s time on Twitter

Chair: I’m interested in what didn’t work – Second Life for instance?

A3) Jo: It worked well as an experiment and for meeting venues but it’s time has passed so we don’t run that any more

Damian, PLoS: Yes, you have to try things out. Commenting actually works well on BMJ but not sure how Doctor Doctor is going.

Comment) Claire, BMJ: a clinical network with blogs and Twitter and Facebook and trying to integrate it more with journal content but that is quite manual so a lot of resource is needed.

Chair: Alexandra said that you’ve been early into the crowdsourcing initiatives in archiving. I think there has been a shift in the last year around that though.

Q4) Wendy Duff?: Would archivists and historians trust people they know – special priviledges for people they know – a social capital network

A4) Alexandra: Yes, I’ve done some work around that and there are people who have commented that they get to know people. YourArchives had a distinct sense of specific expert users who they trust, Zooniverse gives some moderation responsibility to some trusted users and have done this well.

Wendy: We like to and train ourselves to control (see Jean Drydon’s thesis on archiving and copyright that shows that archivists control more than they need to).

Alexandara: Are archivists control freaks? YEah. But there is definitely a range. I’ve interviewed 13 people with huge variance in opinion between those who do and do not think users have contributions of value to make – those that value contributions often have experience in social media

Q5)?, NYPL: Do users contribute by changing existing data or by just adding data?

A5) Alexandra: YourArchives is practically a blank page, they are too open. Zooniverse and Transcribe Jeremy Bentham both scaffold contributions

Q5) ?, NYPL again: So, do you ever connect digital metadata created back to the physical object – there was a

Q6) Nick Henderson?: Building online communities we didn’t really know what success looks like – did Nature Network or PLoS One have a clear idea about that?

A6) Jo: We have a target for hubs at the moment and participants, say, and it’s metrics like that. We do have a criterion based on success in the past.

Damian: No clear idea exactly. We let the world decide about comments but we have an idea about what might be useful.

Chair: Does anyone remember portals? or thin portals? They used to be huge but didn’t really work at all. But now we have better ideas of what we want to do and that works wekk.

Tula: This is engagement, marketing goals almost. If you become siloed and isolated you disappear so these become critical tools and makes your presence in the world real and visible

Comment: Chris Batt: About the difference between publishers and the other half of the equation. For me it’s to do with where the power sits. For publishers it’s the people who has the money to buy the product. In the past it’s been about institutions and curation. At a conference at Berlin we looked at a museum of computer games but there was a sense that it was the power of the market and what works and what doesn’t. We spent the afternoon talking about the big digital initiatives like Europeana etc. that replicate digital simulacrum of physical archives. It’s an interesting tension that in the future if the public institutions make decisions the professionals do not want then who has the power about what happens next. That idea of who has the power about what to is important to consider.

Comment: Anne: I’m really interested in History from Below (as they say in US) or Hidden History (as we say in the UK) – there is a sense that things are lost by the demands of the market, but also because culture ignores many people – so little of the 19th century history covers up the role and impact of women or black people. We have archives full of materials that original publishers sold off or got rid of and only library intervention has saved copies of that. In a well formed society there should be a tension between the needs of the many and the needs of the few. How do we protect against bias in the market.

Chair: publishers do focus on the authors I think but also on the audience?

Damian: Well our authors and our users are important. But our users are mediated by libraries and we need to remember that in our choices.

Comment: What’s happening in that presentation earlier – people are using Twitter but no one is using it? Just shouting! What happens there? Alan Wenire(?) and Carol Palmer: Make People Not Read?

COmment: How many papers have citations but not readers?

Description of Session from organisers: All speakers on both days and those attending the conference are invited to a reception at University College London for further discussion of the themes of the conference

 June 30, 2011  Posted by at 12:34 pm Events Attended, LiveBlogs  Add comments

  4 Responses to “Social Media & the Academy – Day One Liveblog”

  1. […] Today I’ve been dipping in and out of the Bloomsbury Conference on e-Publishing and e-Publications. Nicola Osborne is liveblogging today and tomorrow, so see her blog for an account of the presentations. […]

  2. really I don’t have any idea that how the world social media is related to the word academy but through this blog my all doubts all clear .I just want say thanks to all of you for giving such a wonderful information.

  3. […] Read more here: Social Media & the Academy – Day One Liveblog » Nicola Osborne […]

  4. […] those interested, a more detailed blog of the conference can be found here. Advertisement Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed Top 25 […]

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