Academic publishing…say hello to web 2.0

I recently had the opportunity to share some thoughts about how the web is impacting traditional notions of academic publishing with a group of doctoral students in the School of Social Work at VCU. It was a wonderful chance to share some emerging possibilities that are currently taking shape, as well as point out some things on the horizon.

The presentation was also an opportunity for me to formulate and pitch some ideas that have been cooking for a while. I really appreciate and admire the School of Social Work students for the interest and willingness to engage with the ideas of how web 2.0 practices are reshaping some long held views about scholarship.

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There are some tough questions and issues out there for new – as well as established – scholars to consider about how and where to “publish” their ideas given the range of emerging web-based possibilities. I tried to hit the obvious features on the landscape, and pose some questions for discussion.

Are published articles in open access peer reviewed journals as valuable as those in print-based journals? Is the quality of the peer review process all that different in between these distribution mechanisms? Can blogs written for academic purposes be a form of scholarly publication? Is web-based peer review in blogs and wikis a legitimate means of vetting scholarly work? Do podcasts represent a new form of academic publishing? Can web-based videos be considered scholarship?

These are thorny questions. Some answers reside in the willingness of various disciplines to wrestle with emerging notions of collaboration, expertise and participation.

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