A couple items I have come upon in building my argument includes an April post on Peter Suber's Open Access News blog regarding scholarly communication and blogging. Peter is an independent policy strategist for open access to scientific and scholarly research literature, is a Senior Researcher at SPARC and the Open Access Project Director at Public Knowledge. Based on his blog experience:
- The process is much faster. A few hours to a few days to create a post, then a few hours of intensive review, then a day or two in which the importance of the reviewed work becomes evident as other blogs link to it. Stuart's comment came 9 hours into a process that accumulated 217 comments in 30 hours. Contrast this with the ponderous pace of traditional academic communication.
- The process is much more transparent. The entire history of the review is visible to everyone, in a citable and searchable form. Contrast this with the confidentiality-laden process of traditional scholarship.
- Priority is obvious. All contributions are time-stamped, so disputes can be resolved objectively and quickly....
- The process is meritocratic. Participation is open to all, not restricted to those chosen by mysterious processes that hide agendas. Participants may or may not be pseudonymous but their credibility is based on the visible record. Participants put their reputation on the line every time they post. The credibility of the whole blog depends on the credibility and frequency of other blogs linking to it - in other words the same measures applied to traditional journals, but in real time with transparency.
- Equally, the process is error-tolerant....Because the penalty for error is lower, participants can afford to take more creative risk.
- The process is both cooperative and competitive....
- Review can be both broad and deep. Staniford says "The ability for anyone in the world, with who knows what skill set and knowledge base, to suddenly show up ... is just an amazing thing". And the review is about the written text, not about the formal credentials of the reviewers.
- Good reviewing is visibly rewarded. Participants make their reputations not just by posting, but by commenting on posts. Its as easy to assess the quality of a participant reviews as to assess their authorship; both are visible in the public record.
More recently, Kevin Smith at Duke details how two scholars have recently undertaken to write major pieces of scholarship about scholarly communications issues in blog form. He writes:
Somehow it just makes some sense that librarians should be leading the way in recognizing the role that blogging plays in moving our profession forward. Having P&T committees that see and place some value on blogging is as good of a place as any to start. Sphere: Related Content
"Not only are these two projects interesting because of their topics, they also represent important experiments in the kind of collaborative scholarship that the digital environment makes possible."