New Scholarship And Emerging Forms of Publication

Online Environmental Forums - Are they having the impact they should?
Creator: Victoria Martin (SAS), 2007
Contributor(s): Miranda Sollychin (VIS) - interviews with student and teacher
Description: Emerging forms of publication have been utilized the raise awareness about environmental issues, however are these forms of publication being utilized as effectively and as widely as they should be?

New Scholarship's Impact on the Environment, Health and Science

New emerging forms of publication, such as wikis, blogs, video blogs and meshups, are better than older manners of publication, books and brochures, as the previous ways of publicizing could only demonstrate the creator's point of view and there is no communication between the users and the creator. The new emerging forms of publication allow the exchange of ideas, in which this interaction allows for the product to be perfected and suit the users' needs. With this, the environment, health and science will be greatly impacted and develop more immensely and rapidly than before.

Overview of New Scholarship's Impact on the Environment

Current Impact

envir1.JPG New scholarship and emerging forms of publication has made significant impacts in raising awareness around the world about health and environmental issues. There have been numerous forums currently set up to discuss health and environment, and to brainstorm ways to help save our delicate earth. The Green Forumis an interactive forum that allows not only environment activists, but also ordinary individuals to discuss the problems our world is facing. There are many more similar websites with the same aim - to educate and to dis cuss. Several other examples are The Tourism and Environment Forum, The Environment Roomand The Environment Site.

Future of the Environment

As emerging forms of publication become more integrated into the lives of future generations, online environmental education will kick into effect. In terms of environmental education, it is simply not sufficient yet. This is due to the fact that our society is overly-focused on acedemic and scholarly issues, or simply focused on the future of businesses and profit-making. Although, we do see many environmental organizations attempting to influence our society, the focus is not yet on the environment, but it should be. Thus, it is important that online forums and forms of publication sustain their discussion of environmental issues. Since the internet is increasingly becoming the main educator of our children, as children spend a great deal of their time on the computer, it is important that the internet, and its forms of publication continue to raise awareness about environmental problems.

Futhermore, as emerging forms of publication become more digital, it would lead to a reduction in the use of physical resources, such as paper and ink. With the revolution of digital media, online journals and online newspapers, print media becomes more and more redundant, saving a great deal of paper. This would mean that less trees need to be felled to provide the necessary resources to educate an information-hungry society. Swivel Preview states that the 2005 per capita paper consumption for the world is 52.45 kilograms per year, more than double of 1961's 25.15 kilograms per year. Therefore, emerging forms of publication may just bring that number down, as it diverts the focus on print media to digital forms of publication.envi..JPG

What needs to happen to protect the environment

tree-felling.jpg To see significant improvements in things like resource consumption, it is necessary that publication firms make print and digital media mutually exclusive. This means that if they create interactive online publication of their articles, they should eradicate the print version, thus encouraging their readers and subscribers to switch to emerging forms of publication. Having both the print and online version, in a way, defeats the purpose of having the more environmentally-friendly online version. Also, society needs to be cooperative, that is to demand online versions of such publications. This is extremely necessary, because if the public does not favor online forms of publication, publication firms will not have an incentive to switch to it.

As far as online environmental forums are concerned, it seems as though environmental activists form the major of the present participants. Society needs to integrate these forums into acedemic education, such that any individual can learn about environmental issues. It is only in this way that present and future generations can be well informed about environmental issues that have a huge impact on the entire world. The effort to protect the environment needs to be taken on by every member of the Earth, otherwise it would not be as effective as it should.

Overview of New Scholarship's Impact on Science and Health

Current Impact

plos.JPG We currently see a trend moving from the passive learning of science to the interactive learning of science. There have been forums, wikis and various websites set up to allow for scientists, researchers, students and teachers to share data, results and resources. These avenues of digital learning and sharing have allowed for much collaboration, especially for research in scientific fields. Schools around the world have come up with moodles and wikis for teachers to disseminate assignments through the internet. This enables both teachers and students to communicate without requiring to meet face to face. At the same time teachers are able to post videos and set up forums to allow students to share data for lab experiments. For example, http://www.plos.org/ which is known as the Public Library for Science, is a database for research papers which is shared with the global scientific community. And the World Health Forum is one of the examples of an online forum discuss prevalent health issues.

From another point of view, science can be impacted by new emerging forms of publication in a different way. For example, in the field of nanotechnology, many companies such as Foresight Nanotech Institute concentrate in a wide range of scientific disciplines that focus on the production of devices and the control of substances on a scale smaller than 1 micrometer. Due to nanotechnology, there is a great chance that evolution and fabrication of new modern technology may arise. However, releasing new products that are milestones ahead and are created for a different trend then that of present day technology may scare the public and the new technology produced may not properly fit in with the current human lifestyle. Therefore, new forms of publication, such as wikis and blogs in which both the creators and the users can communicate quickly and give each other input, will allow for the creators to produce a product that suits the rapidly developing human technology, lifestyle and users.

With the help of the public's input, the way science is conducted and employed to create products or to acquire new information about certain aspects may develop differently. The scientists will then have a broader view upon what is aspired for and required from society and will develop their ideas and products accordingly. As in Foresight Nanotech Institute, it allows for users/members to comment on specific events and news articles. And in other organizations, specific blogs and forums are set up in order to gain feedback. This feedback is then used to mold the future product or scientific proposal.

Future of Science and Health

science-lab.jpg On the homepage of the Public Library for Science is a quote from Barbara Stebbins, a science teacher at Black Pine Circle School, "The availability of research papers will benefit the future of scientific research by providing motivation and stimulation for millions of fledgling scientists." This demonstrates the future of New Scholarship's impact on science. The difficulty of scientific research is that one problem has so many aspects of science to consider. Also, since experimentation is the center of research, this makes it all the more time-consuming and tedious. If scientists were to work individually on certain science projects, it might be almost impossible for them to come to any conclusion by the end of their lifetime, as there is simply too many aspects of scientific experimentation. In addition, in this world, science is subject to human inaccuracy, thus experiments must be repeated again and again to achieve desirable results. Collaboration through the internet and digital means allows for specialization in the sciences and the sharing of data which individuals may not be as strong and may not be experts in. Collaboration in the sciences is much like international trade when nations specialize in the product they have comparative advantage in, exporting those products, and importing others they do not have the comparative advantage in producing. Thus, the digital media is a medium that allows for a similar sort of trade in science - the sharing of scientific information and data. Like in trade, this would lead to greater efficiency in research, not to mention greater progress and new discoveries and breakthroughs.

Below is an advertisement for the Public Library of Science.

From the advertisement, it is evident that accessibility to scientific information can fuel scientific progress, more people can be acquainted with the newest scientific breakthroughs.

The article below is about the recent developments in the sharing of scientific information, including open access journals and open access archives. It suggests that these emerging forms of publication have greatly increased accessibility of scientific information and that this information can be shared even with those who are unable to afford print journals. Thus with this information reaching a greater audience than before, we can look forward to a bright future in the science arena.

(1) Article:

Will Research Sharing Keep Pace with the Internet?
Richard K. Johnson

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, Washington, DC 20036

The ways scientists share and use research are changing rapidly, fundamentally, and irreversibly.

The signs are plain to see. E-mail and a growing range of other network technologies efficiently and rapidly link researchers from around the globe and enhance informal communication. Most scientific literature is now created in digital form and, in nearly every discipline, some scholarship is digital-only or can be fully understood only in digital form. Google has cataloged more than eight billion web pages and a billion images, and is now undertaking to digitize books on a scale that previously seemed unthinkable.

These changes signal a new era of digital scholarship. Many of yesterday’s limitations on research and learning are being swept away by the Internet. For the first time in history, we have a practical opportunity for efficient, unlimited sharing of information at virtually no cost beyond that of providing it to the first reader....

Research sharing

The Internet offers the opportunity to eliminate access barriers that limit use of scientific findings, to share research freely among all potential readers. Because scientific discovery is a cumulative process, with new knowledge building on earlier findings, it is counterproductive to keep research locked up like books in a fourteenth century monastery.

The large audience for freely accessible scientific knowledge may be surprising to many, but the hunger for it is apparent from experience of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). A few years ago, NLM transformed its fee-based index and abstracts of biomedical journal articles to free availability on the Web as PubMed. Use of the database increased 100-fold once it became freely available. The potential scope of this usage could never have been anticipated by looking solely at use of the controlled-access version.

Who are these new readers? They surely include scientists around the globe at institutions that may not be able to afford needed journals. They also may be researchers in unexpected fields, search engine users who didn’t realize previously they could use work in a seemingly unrelated field. They may be students, patients or their families, physicians, community health workers, or others from the general public: taxpayers who finance so much biomedical research.

Much of the thinking about new ways to share scientific knowledge with these readers and about new economic models to sustain the process revolves around two complementary strategies.

Open-access journals

Open-access journals, whose costs are typically covered through advertising, dues, publication fees, sponsorships, in-kind contributions, or a combination of these and other sources of support, are emerging as an alternative to the traditional subscription model. According to the Directory of Open Access Journals, there currently are >2000 open-access journals in wide-ranging fields. This is a good start, but so far it represents only about a tenth of the world’s peer-reviewed journals.

Online open archives

Commonly hosted by universities or government agencies to advance their mission, online open archives provide free access to articles, supporting data, working papers, preprints, images, and other material deposited by members of an institutional or disciplinary community. In biomedicine, the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central online archive is the best known open archive, but many universities have also established "institutional repositories" to preserve work conducted at their institution. Open archives supplement journal browsing and readership; they don’t replace it. The outlook for the future of open archives is framed in large part by the sometimes-conflicting terms and obligations of authors’ agreements with their funders and the journals in which they publish.

A discussion of the merits and tactics for each of these open-access strategies is beyond the scope of this commentary, but suffice it to say that neither spells the end of science or peer review, as skeptics have suggested. However, both involve the unbundling of the functions journals have traditionally performed: registration: establishing the intellectual priority of research; certification: certifying the quality of the research and the validity of the claimed finding; awareness: ensuring the dissemination and accessibility of research, providing a means by which researchers can become aware of new research; and archiving: preserving the intellectual heritage for future use (Roosendaal and Geurts, 1998).

These functions can now be distributed via the Internet among various service providers, not just a journal. No longer is it obligatory for the certification of research quality (e.g., the peer review process overseen by a particular editorial board) to be hardwired to its dissemination; they can be independent. This disaggregation opens the door to a more dynamic communication environment...

(1) Richard K. Johnson."Will Research Sharing Keep Pace with the Internet?". The Journal of Neuroscience. Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, Washington, DC 20036. September 13, 2006. <http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/full/26/37/9349>.

To see full article, click here.

Other great relevant articles, see...
"Why Open Access to Research and Scholarship?" - John Willinsky
"Open Access and the Future of the Scientific Research" - Matthew Cockerill and Vitek Tracz

Future of Science and Health (Continued)

stethoscope.jpg Think about this, with so much information, including extensive research papers, available on the internet and accessible to almost anyone, could we be making our own diagnosis? When the sharing of health information, could there be a day where general practitioners in medicine, become redundant? This is possible. With information about health and science made so easily available on the internet, the general public, the average joe can diagnose themselves, and decide whether or not they would need to see a specialist.

However, can the availability of scientific information be harmful? Can this knowledge be used detrimentally? How is it that almost anyone can figure how to construct a bomb? This might just be a potential problem of the future. Some say "knowledge is power" and this is true, so the question is, do we want any random individual to possess such power? We might find our future world to be one where individuals, who are equipped with an abundance of information, using it to benefit their selfishness. Therefore, it is crucial that the future members of our society be civil and educated socially, such that the abuse of available scientific information would not occur.

What needs to happen to have more effective scientific research?

iconmicroscope.jpg First and foremost, collaboration, made possible through new scholarship and emerging forms of publication like the digital media, should be continued and integrated into the way scientists research. No man is an island, and it is therefore more likely for scientists to come to a substantial conclusion through collaboration. Scientists should frequently utilize discussion boards, forums and online research pages to share information, and to give back as much information as they take. Scientists, like every other member of the "shrinking" world, should take on the mindset of interdependence, where scientists see themselves as part of a developing scientific community, rather than individual scientists trying to make it on their on. Scientific awards should be directed more to scientific communities, rather than individuals. This naturally encourages collaboration. Individual awards create a sense of tension among scientists, and an incredible sense of secrecy and competition that contributes little to the future of science.

Resource Documentation

  • Collaborative Tool

Information Gathered From:
- Public Library of Science (used by Victoria M.)
- Swivel Preview (used by Victoria M.)
- The Journal of Neuroscience (used by Victoria M.)

  • Creation Tools

Images Taken From:
- Sustainabilityforum.com (used by Victoria M.)
- Forestry (used by Victoria M.)
- Healthcare and Life Science Club, University of Michigan (used by Victoria M.)
- Public Library of Science (used by Victoria M.)
- Acedemics, Vanderbilt University (used by Victoria M.)

*Alternatively, you can click on the images to go to the link where they were found.

  • Citation Tool

MLA Citation format: MLA Citation Style