If you haven’t read it already, I strongly recommend the recently released report from the eighth annual Scholarly Communication Institute, which tackled emerging genres in scholarly communication.
Current print-based models of scholarly production, assessment, and publication have proven insufficient to meet the demands of scholars and students in the twenty-first century. In the humanities, what literary scholar James Chandler calls “the predominating tenure genres” of monograph and journal articles find themselves under assault from a perfect storm of major dislocations affecting higher education. Publishers are struggling to remake business models that are failing. Libraries strain to keep up acquisitions of print materials as the supply of and demand for digital publications escalate. The reliance of faculty on tenure and review models tied to endangered print genres leads to the disregard of innovation and new methodologies. And mobile, digitally fluent students entering undergraduate and graduate schools are at risk of alienation from the historic core of humanistic inquiry, constrained by outmoded regimes of creation and access.
The goal of SCI 8 was to reimagine the ecology of scholarly publishing, based on careful assessment of new genres, behaviors, and modes of working that have strongly emerged. The Institute focused on new genres in humanities scholarship because they are leading indicators of an information ecosystem that centers around digital evidence, digital authorship, digital dissemination, and digital use.