Is the Web just a faster horse?

05/11/2012 – 11:11 am

“On Monday the Duke Libraries celebrated Open Access week with a talk by Jason Priem that was ostensibly about alternative metrics for measuring scholarly impact – so-called AltMetrics. Jason is a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina School of Library and Information Science, a co-author of the well-regarded AltMetrics Manifesto, and one of the founders of the Web tool called ImpactStory. In addition to his public talk, Jason gave a workshop for a small group of people interested in how ImpactStory works; you can read about the launch of that tool in this article.

So Jason is as qualified as anyone to talk about AltMetrics, and he did so very well. But his talk was much broader than that subject implies; he really gave a superb summary of the current state of scholarly communications and a compelling vision of where we could go. For me the most memorable quote was when he said, toward the end of his talk, that the Web had been created to be a tool for scholarly communications, yet while it had dramatically changed many industries, from bookselling to pornography, it had not yet revolutionized scholarly publishing as it should. The problem is that publishers, and, to some extent, authors, are treating the Web as simply “a faster horse” and not truly exploiting the possibilities it offers to change the way scholarship is done…”

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Author: Kevin Smith

Source: Scholarly Communications @ Duke

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