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Thursday, November 9 • 3:30pm - 4:10pm
The Scholarly Workflow in the Digital Age: What Do We Know? What Should We Do?

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The figure of the “workflow” is common in studies of scholarly communications, including the role of libraries. Accounts and images of the workflow, based on surveys and interviews, ethnography, and scholarly autobiography, have identified the sequence of steps in research. The first part of the presentation (“What Do We Know?”) explains what is common to such work and how workflow configurations differ in representing the newest technologies in research and publishing. Thus, among other innovations, there are new tools and services (e.g., for citation management and collaboration) and formats for measuring impact via social media and influencing the academic reward system (e.g., altmetrics). Attention to the workflow challenges scholars and libraries to recognize how it is evolving technologically. The second part of the presentation (“What Should We Do?”) features recent work aimed at managing elements of the workflow as it changes. Thus, recent books, articles, reports, services, and organizational initiatives seek to guide scholars toward the uses of new tools for discovery and search, the production of multi-media digital texts, peer review in novel forms, open annotation, the dissemination of research including Open Access, and the evaluation of digital work in the reward system. Libraries too act in the remaking of the workflow, with proposals (as in a recent project at the Cornell University Library) to join research library design and organization to fresh research on how scholars work. Altogether, the workflow is a format for understanding how scholarly communications reflect the individual, disciplinary, and institutional conditions of faculty work. Still, steady innovation has prompted one influential observer to ask if a “piecemeal” approach will provide “fixes but no lasting and feasible rearrangement of the system.” The presentation closes by asking about the utility of such a goal, for faculty scholarship and the library’s contributions to it.


Steve Weiland

Professor of Higher Education, Michigan State University

Thursday November 9, 2017 3:30pm - 4:10pm EST
Pinckney Room, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401