Reputation mechanisms in Science 2.0

Posted on Actualizado enn

I have read a lot about reputation in science, this is not a new topic. Traditional scientific reputation is about cites and impact of publications in major scientific journals, but if we think about what we call Science 2.0, digital science or open science, maybe could be something new. How we can measure scientific reputation in this new digital scenario? 
First of all, I think that it’s time to rethink, time to change and it’s clear that science is changing, at least the way we do science, or the perception of the science, and this is mainly because of the new technologies. New digital technologies make available to researchers powerful tools that allow them support their tasks, foster collaborations, promote dissemination and enhance the reputation of the researchers..

But, and always is a ‘but’, I think there are actually too many tools and there is not yet a clear or unique strategy to promote this new way of scientific reputation, in my opinion.
I have read a very interesting report: JRC science and policy repot, that talk about:
Emerging reputation mechanisms for scholars. This report has confirmed my impression that there are too many tools actually.

Anyway, is a very interesting report explaining that conventional indicators fall short of reflecting adequately contributors’ reputation and impact in the field of stablishing and measuring scholarly reputation. Also emphasizes the importance of science and talk about Science 2.0 that is chanching the conventional ways of the collaboration of the general public in the creation, dissemination and transferring of the knowledge.

The report also introduces the Boyer’s model of scholarship adapted to the digital age:
– The scholarship of research, creation of the knowledge
– The scholarship of integration, interdisciplinary research
– The scholarship of application, research transfer to solve societal/practical problems
– The scholarship of teaching, transfer knowledge to new generations
– The scholarship of co-creation, involve other actors in the research process

In each of these activities, reputation plays a very important role. In the scholarship of research is clear that a researcher need acquire ideas from other scholars, evaluates the validity of ideas for further exploration and for subsequent research, and in turn to disseminate the results to the scientific community. In this way, the nature of research work commands the need for recognition of the value of one’s work by others in the field.

Reputation is not only the result of the research process, also is the result of its three main outcomes: some kind of publication (journal article, book, report…), the impact on others’ research or knowledge, on industry, in society or the way we think about ourselves as a human beings, and the enhancing of the reputation of the researcher (invitations, awards and promotion, and to obtain further funding). But how this is archived? Weller (2011) talks about:

Planning (using social networks and blogs, the researcher establish the question), Collect data (online information sources), analyses (using Google analytics, SurveyMonkey, data visualization…) and reflect (blog posts and video interviews). 

Then there is the dissemination of research results, and not only through books and journals but also essays, blogs, podcasts, videoclips… will also be seen as perfectly viable means for disseminating ideas. 

By now, apart from publishing their research data, a small but growing number of scientists even practice Open-Notebook Science (ONS), where researchers post their laboratory  notebooks on the internet for public scrutiny. Another way is the networking and collaborating (if the researcher collaborate with similar colleagues, can obtain a great number of cites)… Anyway , although there are other forms of peer review and citation analysis and impact through new digital tools and services, it is clear that the researcher remains evaluated by traditional metrics, but this will be change…

The scholarship of integration seeks to critically analyze, interpret, draw together and bring new insight to bear on original research, so this integrative mode of research, combines perspectives, information, data, techniques, tools, concepts and/or theories that usually cannot be solved by a single disciplinary approach, so it is important to interact with and learning from people with different backgrounds. The traditional academic career incentives do no stimulate interdisciplinary research, so this is one king of research where new science 2.0 can help more. 

The scholarship of application want to link theory and practice through dynamic interaction with various stakeholders. So want to communicate the knowledge to others, and has four types: knowledge exchange among scientists, knowledge exchange from scientists to public, knowledge exchanged iteratively from scientists to non-scientific public and vice-versa and knowledge exchange between scientific knowledge and local knowledge where are mutual respected. In this model, citizens work actively with science knowledge: asking questions, with research agendas, through consultations, and so on…

In the scholarly of teaching, there is a new model where research and teaching are both viewed as ctivities where individuals and groups negotiate meanings, building knowledge within a social context. And finally in the scholarship of co-creation, through Science 2.0, produces the discovery of new knowledge and the processes of participatory learning intertwine at time to form a whole.

There are many tools that can measure the reputation that a researcher can acquire through its researcher works, in this way there are: altmetric services, citizen science platforms, code repositories,data repositories, discipline-specific academic social networking services, electronic laboratory notebooks, multidisciplinary academic social networking services, open peer review systems, professional  social networking services, reference management tools with social media feature, review systems for MOOCs, social learning platforms.

In this way, ResearchGate and Academia support the reputational purposes of the larger number of activities. But we can see, tweeter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Mendeley and other tools…

In summary, and is my summary, with traditional model of reputation, a researcher can be well valued mainly for their peers and colleagues. With Science 2.0, a researcher can (and must) create its digital identity and can be recognized not only by a major number of interdisciplinary colleagues, but also by the society, and in the case of peer review, if a researcher perform an interdisciplinary research, the peer-review tasks in the traditional way could be more complex, but not in science 2.0. This report talks about the importance of the research openness and I agree. It’s time to use the internet potential to increase the visibility of the research and its results: collaborate, share, network, disseminate, teach…..

What do you think about scientific 2.0 reputation? contributions? experiences?

Access JRC report here
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