The Digitization of Scholarly Communication: Discourse and Practices, Measurements and Identity Formation

Start of the project: 2022-Jan-01 - End of the project: 2024-Dec-31

The digitalization and platformization of societal communication is currently changing many different realms such as democracy, media, finance, and culture. In the science system, these technological changes are not only altering the modes of knowledge presentation, but also the ways of (quantified) (e-) valuation and performance measurement. These processes take place in a phase of deep transformation in the relationship between science and society which is intensely discussed in various discourses about the uses of science in modern societies.

Against this backdrop, the project aims at investigating the modes and effects of the digitalization of scholarly communication in the context of the changing societal environments of science. We intent to explore: 1) the discourses on scholarly communication and academic identity in the digital age, 2) how digitalized scholarly communication is valued through measures and metrics, 3) how the changing values and affordances of scholarly communication affect academic identities, 4) and how such changes affect the organizational and professional uses of digital scholarly communications and its data.

The primary research goal of this project is to explore the ways by which the socio-technical as well as social forces of digitalization affect and restructure the field of scholarly communication and impact on the formation and display of academic identities. This entails several research questions:

  • How are academic and scholarly communication toward non-academic spheres maintained, disturbed, or transformed by the digitalization process?
  • How far is the change of the digitalized scholarly communication subfield-specific? Do the disciplines’ different epistemic cultures and different forms of social organization lead to specific patterns of digital presence?
  • How do societal expectations regarding the contribution of science to the solution of societal problems benefit from the digitalization of scholarly communication?
  • How do these processes modify the construction of value in academia and the formation of academic identities?

These questions will be tackled by deploying a multi-method research design, combining investigations into the discourses of scholarly communication with in-depth case studies of scholarly self-presentation and communication.

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Publications

What happens to science when it communicates openly?

Blümel, C., & Fecher, B. (31. Oktober 2023).
What happens to science when it communicates openly [Blogbeitrag]. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10037220
Abstract

The contribution deals with what happens when science opens up and communicates’ and the emerging challenges for future scientific communication.

MapOSR - A mapping review dataset of empirical studies on Open Science.

Lasser, J., Schneider, J., Lösch, T., Röwert, R., Heck, T., ... & Skupien, S. (2022).
MapOSR - A mapping review dataset of empirical studies on Open Science. F1000Research. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.121665.1
Abstract

Research that investigates respective researchers’ engagement in Open Science varies widely in the topics addressed, methods employed, and disciplines investigated, which makes it difficult to integrate and compare its results. To investigate current outcomes of Open Science research, and to get a better understanding on well-researched topics and research gaps, we aimed at providing an openly accessible overview of empirical studies that focus on different aspects of Open Science in different scientific disciplines, academic groups and geographical regions. In this paper, we describe a data set of studies about Open Science practices retrieved following a PRISMA approach to compile a literature review.

Offener, agiler, partizipativer? Impulse für ein vielfältiges Forschungs- und Innovationssystem.

Blümel, C. (2022).
Offener, agiler, partizipativer? Impulse für ein vielfältiges Forschungs- und Innovationssystem. Forschung: Politik - Strategie - Management, 14, 68-72.
Presentations

Digitale Sichtbarkeiten in Berufungsverfahren: zur umstrittenen Einbindung neuer Entscheidungsaspekte.

Köchling, S. (2024, März).
Digitale Sichtbarkeiten in Berufungsverfahren: zur umstrittenen Einbindung neuer Entscheidungsaspekte. Poster auf der Tagung Soziale Digitalisierung, Multi‐Generation Smart Community (mGeSCo); Ernst-Ebbe Hochschule Jena, Jena, Deutschland.

Wissenschaftsfeindlichkeit verstehen und entgegenwirken.

Blümel, C., Wandt, J., Fejes, M., & Fecher, B. (2023, November).
Wissenschaftsfeindlichkeit verstehen und entgegenwirken. Vortrag auf der Konferenz Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation, Bielefeld.

Science-Specific Platforms: Formal Organizations for Scientific Infrastructures and Services.

Köchling, S., & Kleimann, B. (2023, Mai).
Science-Specific Platforms: Formal Organizations for Scientific Infrastructures and Services. Vortrag auf der Konferenz STS Conference Graz 2023 „Critical Issues in Science, Technology and Society Studies“, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Österreich.

Digitalization of Science Communication & Scholarly Communication.

Blümel, C. (2023, April).
Digitalization of Science Communication & Scholarly Communication. Impulsvortrag auf der Tagung Talking about Zoonoses - how to communicate science, Nationale Forschungsplattform für Zoonosen, Hannover.

Quality, impact, productivity: Researchers' conceptions of bibliometric indicators and altmetrics.

Sachse, J., & Leckert, M. (2022, Oktober).
Quality, impact, productivity: Researchers' conceptions of bibliometric indicators and altmetrics. Vortrag auf dem Workshop Metrics 2022: ASIS&T Virtual Workshop on Informetrics and Scientometrics Research, Association for Information Science & Technology. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7337147
Abstract

Bibliometric measures are increasingly used in academic funding and hiring situations. Although rather vaguely described as “impact” or “performance” indicators, they often appear to be equaled with research quality. Altmetrics challenge established bibliometric evaluation concepts by promoting alternative notions of impact: Attention, visibility or societal relevance are some of the concepts that may be used to charge metrics with value and thus add to the many dimensions of quality. Research quality, however, is a hard to define concept. Researchers are likely to express different understandings of quality, influenced by their fields’ shared epistemic and cultural beliefs.

Die Digitalisierung wissenschaftlicher Kommunikation und die Rolle von Organisationen.

Köchling, S. (2022, Oktober).
Die Digitalisierung wissenschaftlicher Kommunikation und die Rolle von Organisationen. Vortrag auf der Tagung 5. INSIST-Nachwuchstagung: Wissenschaft und Technologie Kommunizieren: Kontroversität, Dialog und Partizipation, INSIST (Interdisciplinary Network for Studies Investigating Science and Technology), Berlin.

Challenges of Digital Scholarly Communication on Platforms: Science, Economy, and Organizations in Social Systems Theory.

Köchling, S., & Kleimann, B. (2022, September).
Challenges of Digital Scholarly Communication on Platforms: Science, Economy, and Organizations in Social Systems Theory. Vortrag auf der Konferenz Luhmann Conference: Scientific Communication - Observed with Social Systems Theory, Inter-University Centre (IUC) of post-graduate studies, Dubrovnik, Kroatien.

Digital contestations of openness: dynamics and frictions in digitized scholarly communication.

Blümel, C. (2022, Mai).
Digital contestations of openness: dynamics and frictions in digitized scholarly communication. Vortrag auf der Konferenz STS Conference Graz 2022, Graz, Österreich.
Abstract

Open Science, it is often held, aims at enhancing the science and society relationship by making science more open, transparent, and accessible to the public, thereby restoring trust in scholarly knowledge production. Yet, in order to restore trust and to make science more accountable to the public, scholars are also expected to more openly communicate their ideas and findings to the public, exploring new channels for communication and interaction with wider audiences. This session aims to explore which frictions such practices of open communication face in the light digitalization.

Conceptualizing digital science communication: affordances, values, contestations.

Blümel, C. (2022, Mai).
Conceptualizing digital science communication: affordances, values, contestations. Vortrag auf der Konferenz STS Graz 2022, Graz, Österreich.

Deterritorialization of Digital Science Communication – The Case of Altmetrics.

Leckert, M. (2022, Mai).
Deterritorialization of Digital Science Communication – The Case of Altmetrics. Vortrag auf der Konferenz 20th STS Conference Graz 2022 , Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria.
Abstract

The advance of Open Science by Digital science communication (DSC) has been a major argument in promoting Altmetrics. Such metrifications of DSC have turned out to be a profitable business: Collected from commercial online platforms, aggregated by for-profit companies, showcased by most large publishers. While the question ‘what do they mean?’ remains, Altmetrics are reflected back on scientists, scoring their work alongside citation measures. By analyzing interviews with both researchers active in DSC and experts from the Altmetrics field, this contribution contrasts scientists’ situated online behavior with its re(e-)valuation in aggregated form. This allows to study the production of reactive potentials in science (e-) valuation.

Conferences

Open Up Data Reuse: Wie kann eine neue Forschungsdaten Governance aussehen?

Blümel, C. (2023).
Open Up Data Reuse: Wie kann eine neue Forschungsdaten Governance aussehen auf der Konferenz 9. Konferenz für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten, RatSWD, Berlin.

Contact persons

Clemens Blümel
Clemens Blümel +49 30 2064177-31
Bernd Kleimann
Prof. Dr. Bernd Kleimann +49 511 450670-363

Researchers

Stella Maria Köchling

Funded by

VolkswagenStiftung