Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lunch with Michael Jensen

I had the honor of having lunch with Michael Jensen today along with several other colleagues from around campus. He is the Director of Strategic Web Communications for the Office of Communications of the National Academies and National Academies Press.

I blogged about his Chronicle Article last year which describes what he feels will be the new metrics of scholarly authority. I revisited the article and wanted to pull out some other parts.
In a world of unlimited computer processing, Authority 3.0 will probably include (the list is long, which itself is a sign of how sophisticated our new authority makers will have to be):
  • Prestige of the publisher (if any).
  • Prestige of peer prereviewers (if any).
  • Prestige of commenters and other participants.
  • Percentage of a document quoted in other documents.
  • Raw links to the document.
  • Valued links, in which the values of the linker and all his or her other links are also considered
  • Obvious attention: discussions in blogspace, comments in posts, reclarification, and continued discussion.
  • Nature of the language in comments: positive, negative, interconnective, expanded, clarified, reinterpreted.
  • Quality of the context: What else is on the site that holds the document, and what's its authority status?
  • Percentage of phrases that are valued by a disciplinary community.
  • Quality of author's institutional affiliation(s).
  • Significance of author's other work.
  • Amount of author's participation in other valued projects, as commenter, editor, etc.
  • Reference network: the significance rating of all the texts the author has touched, viewed, read.
  • Length of time a document has existed.
  • Inclusion of a document in lists of "best of," in syllabi, indexes, and other human-selected distillations.
  • Types of tags assigned to it, the terms used, the authority of the taggers, the authority of the tagging system.
None of those measures could be computed reasonably by human beings. They differ from current models mostly by their feasible computability in a digital environment where all elements can be weighted and measured, and where digital interconnections provide computable context.

What are the implications for the future of scholarly communications and scholarly authority? First, consider the preconditions for scholarly success in Authority 3.0. They include the digital availability of a text for indexing (but not necessarily individual access — see Google for examples of journals that are indexed, but not otherwise available); the digital availability of the full text for referencing, quoting, linking, tagging; and the existence of metadata of some kind that identifies the document, categorizes it, contextualizes it, summarizes it, and perhaps provides key phrases from it, while also allowing others to enrich it with their own comments, tags, and contextualizing elements.
Sphere: Related Content

No comments: