A very happy 2015 to all our readers. To welcome the new year, Omega Alpha | Open Access has both a new look and an expanded scope.
Up to now, the blog has been closely focused on Open Access (capital O, capital A) as it relates to scholarly journals and books for religious studies and theology (RS&T). However, the last few years have seen the development of several other “opens”: open data, open peer review for publications, or the development of software tools in an open source way, to name just a few.
More generally, there seems to be an increasing unwillingness to accept the apparent givenness of much of the apparatus by which scholarly activity is conducted, from the initial interaction with primary sources, through the in-progress interaction between scholars, to the publication and dissemination of finished research outputs. This questioning is in part the natural behaviour of scholars, but it is also connected with a broader dissatisfaction with the apparent marketisation of scholarship and with the means by which scholarly activity is assessed and funded. There are signs of a more collaborative culture emerging, which has the shape of a ‘freemium’ business model for scholarship, in which collaboration and sharing of certain parts of one’s intellectual capital is instrumental in the building of one’s reputation and professional network.
With the addition to the OA|OA team of Dr Peter Webster, the time is right for this blog to take into view all these various developments in open scholarship, and the connections between them.
Areas might include (but are not limited to):
- “crowdsourced” projects that involve the public in the making of new data sources
- new digital resources, with a particular preference for resources that allow innovative kinds of user interaction
- innovative modes of sharing of data/texts
- use of social media and other means of scholarly network formation and public engagement
- development in peer review
- altmetrics and developments in research assessment
- open source tools that might be of use to RS&T scholars
Also welcome are broader reflections on the implication of this digital turn for RS&T, for engagement, “impact”, and career structures and trajectories. Arguably, given the diversity of potential audiences for work in these disciplines, these new developments should be of greater than average concern.