Platformisation of Science. Conceptual Foundations and Critical Perspectives for the Science System

Authors : Benedikt Fecher, Raffaela Kunz, Nataliia Sokolovska, Marcel Wrzesinski

The digital platforms we are dealing with in this article are auxiliary tools that do not produce anything themselves but provide an infrastructure for service providers and users to meet. They have potentially unlimited scaling potential and have become the central places of exchange.

In academia we can also observe that research and its communication becomes more digital and that digital services are aiming to become platforms. In this article we explore the concept of digital platforms and their potential impact on academic research, firstly addressing the question: To what extent can digital platforms be understood as a specific type of research infrastructure?

We draw from recent literature on platforms and platformisation from different streams of scholarship and relate them to the science studies concept of research infrastructures, to eventually arrive at a framework for science platforms. Secondly, we aim to assess how science platforms may affect scholarly practice. To this end, we relate common platform practices to scientific practice. Thirdly, we aim to assess to what extent science is platformized and how this interferes with scientific understandings of quality and autonomy.

In the end of this article, we argue that the potential benefits of platform infrastructure for academic pursuits cannot be ignored, but the commercialization of the infrastructure for scholarly communication is a cause for concern. Ultimately, a nuanced and well-informed perspective on the impact of platformisation on academia is necessary to ensure that the academic community can maximize the benefits of digital infrastructures while mitigating negative consequences.

URL : Platformisation of Science. Conceptual Foundations and Critical Perspectives for the Science System


Transparency, provenance and collections as data: the National Library of Scotland’s Data Foundry

Author : Sarah Ames

‘Collections as data’ has become a core activity for libraries in recent years: it is important that we make collections available in machine-readable formats to enable and encourage computational research. However, while this is a necessary output, discussion around the processes and workflows required to turn collections into data, and to make collections data available openly, are just as valuable.

With libraries increasingly becoming producers of their own collections – presenting data from digitisation and digital production tools as part of datasets, for example – and making collections available at scale through mass-digitisation programmes, the trustworthiness of our processes comes into question.

In a world of big data, often of unclear origins, how can libraries be transparent about the ways in which collections are turned into data, how do we ensure that biases in our collections are recognised and not amplified, and how do we make these datasets available openly for reuse?

This paper presents a case study of work underway at the National Library of Scotland to present collections as data in an open and transparent way – from establishing a new Digital Scholarship Service, to workflows and online presentation of datasets.

It considers the changes to existing processes needed to produce the Data Foundry, the National Library of Scotland’s open data delivery platform, and explores the practical challenges of presenting collections as data online in an open, transparent and coherent manner.

URL : Transparency, provenance and collections as data: the National Library of Scotland’s Data Foundry

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Assumptions and Challenges of Open Scholarship Researchers…


Assumptions and Challenges of Open Scholarship :

“Researchers, educators, policymakers, and other education stakeholders hope and anticipate that openness and open scholarship will generate positive outcomes for education and scholarship. Given the emerging nature of open practices, educators and scholars are finding themselves in a position in which they can shape and/or be shaped by openness. The intention of this paper is (a) to identify the assumptions of the open scholarship movement and (b) to highlight challenges associated with the movement’s aspirations of broadening access to education and knowledge. Through a critique of technology use in education, an understanding of educational technology narratives and their unfulfilled potential, and an appreciation of the negotiated implementation of technology use, we hope that this paper helps spark a conversation for a more critical, equitable, and effective future for education and open scholarship.”


Supporting Digital Scholarship Bibliographic Control Library Cooperatives and…


Supporting Digital Scholarship: Bibliographic Control, Library Cooperatives and Open Access Repositories :

“Research libraries have entered an era of discontinuous change—a time when the cumulated assets of the past do not guarantee future success. Bibliographic control, cooperative cataloguing systems and library catalogues have been key assets in the research library service framework for supporting scholarship. This chapter examines these assets in the context of changing library collections, new metadata sources and methods, open access repositories, digital scholarship and the purposes of research libraries. Advocating a fundamental rethinking of the research library service framework, the chapter concludes with a call for research libraries to collectively consider new approaches that could strengthen their roles as essential contributors to emergent, network-level scholarly research infrastructures.”


Open Access, scholarship and digital anthropology

This paper consists of three arguments. The first advocates the development of Open Access for anthropological books and journals and critiques the way we have ceded control of dissemination to inappropriate commercial concerns that come to stand for what should have been academic criteria.

The second argues that this is best accomplished while being conservative about the process of review, selection, and the canons of scholarship. Third, the paper address the emergence of Digital Anthropology, suggesting this has considerable significance for the very conceptualization of anthropology and its future, and suggesting that it can be given definition.

But, this should not be confused with the issues of Open Access and review. This is followed by ten helpful and critical comments. In the concluding discussion I respond to these and argue how these points can be taken into account in creating the conditions for a shift to Open Access while defending the concept of Digital Anthropology.


From analogue to digital scholarship: implications for science communication researchers

Digital media have transformed the social practices of science communication. They have extended the number of channels that scientists, media professionals, other stakeholders and citizens use to communicate scientific information.

Social media provide opportunities to communicate in more immediate and informal ways, while digital technologies have the potential to make the various processes of research more visible in the public sphere.

Some digital media also offer, on occasion, opportunities for interaction and engagement. Similarly, ideas about public engagement are shifting and extending social practices, partially influencing governance strategies, and science communication policies and practices.

In this paper I explore this developing context via a personal journey from an analogue to a digital scholar. In so doing, I discuss some of the demands that a globalised digital landscape introduces for science communication researchers and document some of the skills and competencies required to be a digital scholar of science communication.