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The Future Of Scholarship Essay

3784 words - 15 pages

The Future of Scholarship

Introduction:

The development and rapid movement in the field of technology has changed the face of modern society from what it was twenty years ago. Information and communication technologies have changed dramatically even in the last ten years. Electronic mail, listservs, and the Internet, to name a few, are all parts of the new technology that is re-defining scholarly communication. In her article entitled “Scholarly Communication” Christine Borgman states that “[r]esearch was clustered around three variables: producers of the communication . . ., artifacts of communication . . . and communication concepts.” (146) The impact of the new communication technologies to scholarly communication cannot be understated. While the benefits are extensive, it also raises a number of questions. Kahin notes that “the digitization of information and the growth of research networking raise a distinct set of issues: How should the flow of research information be managed in the interests of scholarship and technological progress?” (1) In part because of this new technology as well as the ease and speed with which communication can take place and information can be disseminated, there is a trend within the scholarly community towards interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and disintermediation. In many ways, these three concepts overlap with one another creating an entirely new landscape for scholarly communication, research and education. When discussing interdisciplinarity it is first necessary to come to an understanding of what constitutes a discipline, its purpose and its function. In “Interdisciplinarity: The Road Ahead for Education in Digital Libraries”, Anita Coleman states that “[a]cademic disciplines have long been used to organize knowledge for teaching purposes. They are also the basis of organizing higher education and the professions engaged in teaching and research. The division of knowledge into disciplines, however, doesn’t impose a pre-ordained order and doesn’t easily transfer to the modern workplace. Many reports have stressed the importance of incorporating interdisciplinarity into the undergraduate experience at the research university.” (13) Elsewhere she states that “[d]isciplinarity is specialized scientific exploration of a particular homogenous subject matter, producing new knowledge and making obsolete old knowledge. Therefore, disciplinary activity results in continuous formulations and reformulations of the present body of knowledge about the subject matter.” (Coleman “The New Scholarship” 1) With this in mind, interdisciplinarity occurs when “curricula and/or research and innovation are organized around a problem that is too broad to be studied/solved using just the methods and knowledge in one discipline (Coleman “Interdisciplinarity” 9) When such a problem is addressed within the scholarly community, interdisciplinarity leads directly into collaboration. Maria Bordons and Isabel...

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