In the 20th century, scholars communicated within relatively small fields of other experts and did so primarily through monographs and peer-reviewed journal articles. Those works of scholarship were discoverable because they were indexed and sorted into card catalogs and bound reference manuals.
These analog forms of scholarly communication are now joined by new modes of digital expression that augment and occasionally supplant earlier forms. In this topic series, we explored changes in the modes and emphases of scholarly communication, examined the shift from book- and journal-centric academic publishing to open access hybrids and alternatives, including film and video.
We also explored the ways that social media can serve scholars to connect their work with wider audiences, including non-academic readers, activists, journalists and engaged citizens. What responsibilities do scholars have to shape and reflect public understandings? What can academics do to contribute fully to efforts to enhance the public good?
As part of our series, we recapped in-person discussions we hosted of Cathy Davidson’s meta-MOOC on the future of (mostly) higher education (#FutureEd). These changes in higher education and scholarly communication are intricately connected to the debates happening around “open access,” and we featured regular contributions from experts in this area. We talked about the changing landscape of “impact” in scholarly communication, as well as the implications this has for the work we do as academics, particularly for early career scholars. And, finally, we featured regular interviews with some of today’s leading documentary filmmakers, discussing the many ways that their work traverses scholarship, activism, art, and journalism to create social change.