The Academic Book of The Future, another in the seemingly never-ending train of £500k two-year AHRC research projects, launches at The British Library on 10th February 2014. Grants of up to £450,000 are on offer.
Anvil Academic is a new “fully digital, non-profit publisher for the humanities”…
“Anvil will focus on publishing new forms of scholarship that cannot be adequately conveyed in the traditional monograph.”
All its content will be Creative Commons, and the first Anvil title is set for “late 2012”.
Incidentally, Open Reflections has a new long article from someone who’s actually gone through the risky process of using… “digital tools to explore open access, collaboration, remix” as part of creating a work titled The Future of the Scholarly Monograph and the Culture of Remix.
Three really interesting developments in fine Web typography, which may interest ejournal editors concerned with presenting elegant HTML articles online…
* Lettering.js offers “complete down-to-the-letter control” for making appealing magazine-style layouts.
* Arctext.js puts curvy text on your webpage.
A slick new video from IDEO, presenting three concepts for “the future of the book”…
The cost of coding of this sort of rich content seems likely to be quite expensive, so I suspect an advertising-based model (not seen in the video) will be needed to support it?
MegaZine v3, an open-source page-flip engine for presenting sophisticated paper-like online magazines and books. Try the demo, which shows how multimedia elements can be easily incorporated into pages — there seems to be a lot of scope for “electronic artists’ books” here, made by those who can use Photoshop but not Flash or Director.
The only worry I’d have would be how well search-engines would index the text of articles. It’s somewhat worrying, for instance, that I can’t copy and paste text from the demo. Nor can I search within the text. I guess a publisher would want to put an additional small button on the foot of the web page, leading to a plain version of the text used.
I was on holiday at the time, so I couldn’t attend (even though it’s on my doorstep) — but Craig Bellamy has a detailed report on the Tools for Scholarly Editing over the Web workshop in Birmingham, England, on 24th September 2009.
It’s very rare to find an academic department website where the research outputs are all websites, and not only websites but well-made websites offering full-text and rich interactive content. I only found one such department while scouring the web for JURN (it was in Nottingham in the English Midlands, actually not far from me), and was pleased to see open access websites were all that the department produced.
Producing work in this way is not going to be an option for everyone — there will be skills and talent issues, issues with copyright vs. fair use in areas such as art history, issues of the cost of some specialist tools and the training to use them, and often intractable issues of time-management if one lacks the skills and thus has to work with a volunteer student to make your website, etc.
But the biggest hurdle is no doubt persuading the university managers that you deserve the same credit for a polished and rich website as for a journal article or a book. Leonardo magazine has an article in the Feb 2009 issue on this topic, and the basic PDF is freely available…
“This paper argues for redefining evaluation criteria for faculty working in new media research and makes specific recommendations for promotion and tenure committees in U.S. universities.”
Similar thoughts on how to validate new media, from a 2009 Reference Services Review study of how undergraduates access and comprehend research. “Undergraduate research in the public domain: the evaluation of non-academic sources online”…
“…finds that authority, accuracy, currency, coverage, and objectivity (as evaluative criteria for academic resources) are not always applicable to evaluating sources in the online public domain (blogs, wikis, forums, etc). Instead, she encourages librarians to look at whether online resources are at a level of scholarship appropriate to the task, support the argument of the assignment, add value, and present legitimate information. Unfortunately, many faculty members restrict students from using internet resources, such as Google Scholar, and in the worst-case situations, prohibit the use of anything except books and journals found in the library in hardcopy format.”
“We wrapped up the paper yesterday and it got me thinking about what a fully interactive version of the paper would look like. What if all the maps and charts were embeds? What if you could download all the data sets used for the analysis right from the paper? While many journal have come online and some even in openly accessible venues – I don’t think we’ve really tapped the power of the Web for interactivity, data sharing, innovation, or peer review.”
The full article, on “Geospatial Modeling of Supply Shocks”, is included in the post…
“Opening up the commenting and feedback process could foster even better critique of work. By also making data available, an incentive is created for fellow researchers to interact with the research, provide feedback, and collaborate with authors. Potentially you could create a journal in such a format leveraging interactive tools across the web. To give this idea a go I’ve created an example of what such an article could look like with our oil paper as the guinea pig”
Francke, Helena (2008).
“Telling a different story in Open Access journals?”
Nordic-Baltic Forum for Scientific Communication. Volume 4, Number 2, 2008.
This interesting article explores…
“the possibility that research will be narrated in different ways” in online journals. “The discussion is based on a study of 265 open access journals. An indication that new ways of communicating research may be emerging is identified, although they are so far fairly uncommon.”