6. Research & Scholarship on the Open Web

One of our motivations in introducing a Domain of One’s Own initiative at Muhlenberg is to support faculty interested in making their scholarship more open, and more accessible to a wider public.  At the outset of this FLC, we shared our interest in introducing faculty to Domains as a resource for building community around teaching and scholarship.  In the last weeks of our FLC, we’re turning our focus to scholarship and exploring the possibilities of constructing your domain as a space to engage in open, online scholarship.  In this interest, we join our library colleagues at Trexler Library who are already working to support open scholarship in a variety of ways.  We also have faculty colleagues at Muhlenberg who are already engaging in this work and providing thoughtful models for our consideration.   For our next gathering, we’ll explore this work as a basis for imagining some of our own goals for using Domains as a space to engage in and present open scholarship online.

The Domain of One’s Own initiative at Muhlenberg began in response to requests from several faculty for more open online space for teaching and research.  These were faculty like Sharon Albert, Margo Hobbs, and Ben Carter who were really working at the limits of possibility with existing campus resources and regularly bumping up against limits on access to and flexibility within the backend of these resources.  An earlier 2015 FLC, on digital mapping in the humanities, made it very clear that several mapping and visualization projects were growing and needing a different kind of space online to proceed.  While Tim worked closely with these faculty to help them advance their pedagogical and scholarly mapping projects, I worked on securing the resources to provide and support a new kind of online infrastructure for this work: Domain of One’s Own.  Prior to our official pilot launch in Fall 2016, we invited a small number of faculty, staff, and students to play with a Reclaim Hosting account, so that we might learn a bit more about the affordances and challenges of implementing a Domains project on campus.

Ben Carter, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, was among the faculty interested in exploring Domain of One’s Own as a space for his research on and with open, public archaeology. Here’s what Ben has been building:


Please explore Ben’s site and read the sections under Digital Data Collection menu here:  http://benjaminpcarter.com/digital-data-collection/.  We also recommend you follow Ben on Twitter @Spondylusarchy.

A graduate of the 2015 digital mapping FLC and member of the Domains FLC, Daniel Liesawitz, Assistant Professor of Italian Studies, is extending his earlier work in his Domains space, http://furiosoatlas.com/.  Daniel previously explored several story mapping tools to try to reelaborate Ariosto’s poem, Orlando Furioso, in spatial terms.   The work is now coming to fruition at his domain, offering a inventive way to “better understand the interaction of the real and the imaginary in the poetic text as patterns and meanings emerge which have heretofore gone unnoticed.”

Daniel has engaged two students as research assistants on the project, Hanna Caiola, ’18, and Aliya Gangji, ’17.  Tim Clarke and Jordan Noyes have partnered with Daniel on technological dimensions of the project, including integrating the Neatline plugin.  Please take a close look at Daniel’s project and bring any questions for Daniel to our meeting on Friday.  We suggest you follow Daniel on Twitter @FuriosoAtlas.

Finally, we’re sharing with you this week two short pieces by our colleague, Jeff Pooley, Associate Professor of Media and Communication.  One of the early proponents for an open access policy at Muhlenberg, Jeff continues to champion the case for open access and open scholarship in relation to the field of media and communication in particular, and in scholarly communication more broadly.  In “As Goes the Media, So Goes Scholarly Publishing,” Jeff examines recent trends in scholarly publishing, Jeff entreats media scholars to apply some our own concepts and critiques to the world of academic publishing.  It is a piece that takes up questions about the future of academic knowledge sharing, and is by no means limited to media scholars.  Indeed, Jeff draws comparisons and points of connection to developments and publishing practices within natural sciences.

In a second piece, “Media Scholarship Needs Updating: Iterative Article “Editions” for a Sped-Up World,” Jeff proposes

If scholarship is a cooperative enterprise—something like an ongoing conversation—then the multi-year delay from research to published article makes for a stilted exchange. The reality that we’ve labored to understand is already history.

Again, although the piece addresses media scholars in particular, Jeff makes his case by pointing to practices in other disciplines, including mathematics and the sciences.  “What’s plain is that the current system doesn’t work, and that it’s failing media scholars in particular. If we want lively scholarly debate—if we want to join the public conversation—we need to pick up the pace. We can’t publish more work (nor should we). Instead let’s publish our work more often.”

Media Scholarship Needs Updating: Iterative Article “Editions” for a Sped-Up World

You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffersonPooley where he tweets on open scholarship and other topics.

As you read these pieces and explore the excellent examples from Ben and Daniel, we invite you to think about how a Domain of One’s Own initiative at Muhlenberg might help facilitate this to engage in and share your academic research online and more openly with a wider public.  During our meeting, we’ll explore what we mean by OPEN, and some of the challenges and values of open scholarship.  And we’ll consider some of the many ways that FLC participants are already opening, or might begin to open, their scholarly practice and writing online.