Web 2.0 and scholarly communication

I’ve posted a new article on Web 2.0 and scholarly communication

This was originally intended for Learned Publishing but they found it too journalistic for their style, and it also overlapped with other articles already in the pipeline. It’s possible I may expand the last section, We built it, why won’t they come?, into an opinion piece, but in the meantime I hope it may be a useful overview of developments for some people.

Topics covered include:

  • What is Web 2.0?
  • Web 1.0 and scholarly communication
  • Web 2.0 and Open Access
  • Blogs
  • Social bookmarking
  • Social networking
  • Podcasts
  • Wikis
  • Data
  • Peer review
  • Reasons for lack of uptake to date

Read more here …

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10 Responses to “Web 2.0 and scholarly communication”


  1. 1 William Gunn 14 May 2009 at 6:37 pm

    That’s a great overview, Mark. You covered most of the issues I’m aware of as a member of the friendfeed life scientists room. There’s a couple things I can update you on, however. Chemspider has been acquired by the Royal Society of Chemistry, Mr. Crotty is our resident curmudgeon about social networking (see here, here and here, and finally, I’d like to suggest Mendeley as a solution to many of the problems faced by these new services and technologies. People can get value from the desktop component of Mendeley, even if they don’t use any of the social features. It does happen to be a great hook, though.

  2. 2 Cameron Neylon 14 May 2009 at 9:14 pm

    And William, you miss the biggest example, which is also missing from Mark’s summary which is Friendfeed itself. I think the overwhelming message is that the question is not “Why won’t they come?”, but “How do we build a functioning and useful community here?”

    • 3 Mark 14 May 2009 at 10:20 pm

      Yes, Friendfeed has really emerged as an increasingly important focal point, and is an example of one way of dealing with the multiplicity of offerings.

      I actually drafted the article some time ago and only just got round to posting it now after a bit of hard disc house-keeping. It deserves an update to include Friendfeed and Mendeley.

      I also totally agree with your last point, Cameron – I just wish I knew how to do it reliably!

  3. 4 Web 2.0 15 May 2009 at 10:14 am

    Poor standards for impaired web users put accessibility high on the agenda … Web 2.0

  4. 5 William Gunn 16 May 2009 at 12:06 am

    Cameron, Mark, How would you define “functioning and useful” commmunity? One way to think about it is that what’s going on is exactly what needs to go on. Perhaps a different interface would prompt different kinds of interactions, but aren’t we mostly doing what we want to be doing re: networking?

    What could be added to Friendfeed that would drive adoption more widely among scientists?

  5. 6 Bob Badgett 26 May 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Regarding “Why won’t they come?”, another issue is the lack of academic credit for contributing to review that is based on Web 2.0 tools. At present, I suspect most Deans, Department Chairs, and prospective employers in academia are much more interested in which journals do their faculty peer review rather than in which blogs do their faculty write. Similarly, if a faculty wants to write a detailed analysis on a published paper, publishing that analysis as a letter to the editor contributes to the faculty member’s CV whereas more than a blog or wiki entry contributes. Thus faculty are more willing to provide traditional peer review than review that is Web 2.0 based.

  6. 7 Yannick Pouliot 7 September 2009 at 2:57 am

    Mark, excellent article. Here’s an additional reason why Web 2.0 has been disappointing as far as most scientists are concerned. It is the same reason why almost no one out there uses Google’s Advanced Query, a masterpiece of simplicity and ease of use: They can’t be bothered to make the tiny expenditure of learning required to put in use. Yes, you did allude to that, but my point is deeper. Humans, on average, are just plain too lazy to invest in their skills unless they absolutely have to. Now, that is *not* true for top scientists (I was supporting bioresearchers struggling at Stanford for years and can attest to that). Those folks behave very differently when it comes to investing in themselves and their operation.

    However, *average* scientists, behave no differently than the Great Unwashed masses out there. And that’s no surprise, if you consider our origins, namely, apes who would sit around grooming each other for hours once they’ve eluded predators, found enough food for the day and aren’t in a mating frenzy 🙂


  1. 1 Web 2.0 and scholarly communication « putting down a marker « MyPage Builder Trackback on 15 May 2009 at 1:02 am
  2. 2 Web 2.0 and Scholarly Communication « Scholarships - Student Scholarship Search Trackback on 3 February 2010 at 10:56 am
  3. 3 Web 2.0 and scholarly communication « putting down a marker « Social Computing Technology Trackback on 9 April 2010 at 3:35 pm
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