About this series
Scholars collaborate online. Data are collected, delivered, analysed, and distributed via the Internet. Communication, both formal publications and informal exchanges, have moved online. Yet face-to-face conversations are still valued, seminars and lectures retain prestige, conferences proliferate, and frequent flyer miles accumulate. This lecture series will provoke a rich discussion of innovations in digital scholarship with an international array of scholars, examining implications for the sciences, social sciences, and humanities and for libraries and publishing.
The series is co-convened by UCLA Professor Christine Borgman, Visiting Fellow and Oliver Smithies Lecturer at Balliol College; Professor William Dutton, Professor of Internet Studies at the OII and Fellow at Balliol College, and Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Librarian and Fellow of Balliol College.
Sponsors and Partners
The Digital Scholarship Lecture Series is organized by Balliol College, the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), and The Bodleian Libraries with support from the ESRC’s Digital Research Programme, based at the Oxford e-Research Centre, University of Oxford.
21 February 2013, 17:00 – 18:30
Speaker: Professor Alyssa Goodman, Harvard University
Respondent: Dr Chris Lintott, Department of Physics, University of Oxford
Title: Seamless Astronomy, Sea Monsters, and the Milky Way
Most astronomy researchers use online travel tools like Kayak and Expedia, yet they don’t expect such integrative services in their research. Instead, they use “modernized” versions of old technologies, such as sending each other email in lieu of paper letters. Some astronomers, however, are leading the way toward a future that has much less precedent in a pre-internet world. In this talk, I will explain elements of what future-leaning astronomers mean by “Seamless Astronomy,” a term which effectively describes an ecosystem for scholarly research as smart and streamlined as Kayak is for travel.
I will also explain why more traditional astronomers are not always quick to appreciate or adopt “Seamless” principles–even though they use its products (including a wealth of well-organized, interconnected, literature and data) all the time. To make the theoretical situation more real, I will organize my talk around an ongoing astronomical research project that concerns a long so-called “infrared dark cloud” named “Nessie” and how it can be used to map out the skeletal structure (“Bones”) of our Milky Way. The 10-person collaboration working on the Nessie/Bones project includes researchers whose preferences range from traditionalist to futurist, and so offers no end of anecdotes with which to illuminate the Seamless Astronomy story!
For previews of this talk’s content, see projects.iq.harvard.edu/seamlessastronomy/ and milkywaybones.org.
Alyssa Goodman is Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University, and a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. Goodman’s research and teaching interests span astronomy, data visualization, and online systems for research and education.
In her astronomical pursuits, Goodman and her research group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA study the dense gas between the stars. They are particularly interested in how interstellar gas arranges itself into new stars.
In more computationally-oriented efforts, Goodman co-founded The Initiative in Innovative Computing (IIC) at Harvard, and she served as its Director from 2005-8. The initiative created an university-wide interdisciplinary center at Harvard fostering work at the boundary between computing and science. More recently, Goodman organized a diverse group of researchers, librarians, and software developers into an ongoing effort known as “Seamless Astronomy,” aimed directly at developing, refining, and sharing tools that accelerate the pace of scientific research, especially in astronomy. Current Seamless projects include Glue, Authorea, the ADS All Sky Survey, the Astronomy Dataverse, and the WorldWide Telescope Ambassadors Program.
Goodman’s personal research presently focuses primarily on new ways to visualize and analyze the tremendous data volumes created by large and/or diverse astronomical surveys, like COMPLETE. She is working closely with colleagues at Microsoft Research, helping to expand the use of the WorldWide Telescope program, in both research and in education. In 2009, Goodman founded the WorldWide Telescope Ambassadors Program which pairs PhD-level researchers with educators and outreach professionals to improve STEM teaching.
At Harvard, Goodman teaches courses on astrophysics and on the display of data, including one called The Art of Numbers.
28 February 2013, 17:30 – 18:30
Speaker: Professor Dieter Stein, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
Respondent: Victoria Gardner, Taylor & Francis Group, UK
Respondent: Wolfram Horstmann, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Title: Open Access Electronic Publishing: A View from the Frontier
Most discussions of the cultural changes linked to the Internet are holistically focused – discussing the effect of technical changes on the characteristics
as a system as a whole. This talk will take a complementary perspective by focusing on how cultural change is being shaped from the bottom-up “makers” “, sufferers” or “perpetrators” of Open Access publishing.
The main part of the talk will give an insider’s perspective, as a case study, of the decisions, motivations and constraints of individuals and stakeholders at different points in the development of a major Open Access publishing project in linguistics. The perspective will then be widened to situate this particular development in the larger development of a “publication” as one functional element in the concept of open science.
Dieter Stein is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf (Germany). He obtained degrees (Staatsexamen) in Geography and English at Saarbrücken University (1972) and a Doctorate in English Linguistics at Saarbrücken (1975).
After being part of a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Sonderforschungsbereich on electronic language research and computational linguistics, he taught Applied Linguistics and Translation at Heidelberg University (until 1982). After his Habilitation at Aachen (1982) he was appointed professor for English Linguistics (text- and discourse linguistics) at Justus-Liebig-University Gießen and transferred to Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf in 1990, where he has taught since then in courses for teacher training, as well as general Masters, BA and MA courses. He has served in most administrative capacities, including dean and several terms as chairman. He has also taught at various universities in the United States, Canada, Spain and Italy, was invited scholar at UCLA, Berkeley, UBC Vancouver and Stanford.
His publications are on a broad range of topics ranging from the theory of linguistic change, via applied linguistics, the linguistics of discourse, to language and communication in the Internet, the theory of genre and the language of law and the development of modern English. He was President of the International Society if Historical Linguistics, he is currently President of the International Language and Law Society, he is also editor-in-chief of the Linguistic Society of America’s digital Publication Portal “eLanguage”. He was the organizer and conference director of a number of major international conferences, including “Berlin 6”, the Max Planck Open Access conference at Duesseldorf. He was also involved in organizing “Berlin 9”, the Open Access conference at Howard-Hughes Medical Institution, Bethesda, Md, USA. His current main research areas include: Language of the Law, Computer-Mediated Communication and language development.
21 March 2013, 17:00 – 18:30
Speaker: Professor James Evans, University of Chicago
Respondent: Professor Ralph Schroeder, Oxford Internet Institute
Respondent: Dr Eric Meyer, Oxford Internet Institute
Title: Choosing the Next Experiment: Tradition, Innovation, and Efficiency in the Selection of Scientific Ideas
Abstract: What factors affect a scientist’s choice of research problem? Qualitative research in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science suggests that the choice is shaped by an “essential tension” between a professional demand for productivity and a conflicting drive toward risky innovation. We examine this tension empirically in the context of biomedical chemistry. We use complex networks to represent the evolving state of scientific knowledge, as expressed in digital publications. We then build measurements and a model of scientific discovery informed by key properties of this network. Measuring such choices in aggregate, we find that the distribution of strategies remains remarkably stable, even as chemical knowledge grows dramatically. High-risk strategies, which explore new chemical relationships, are less prevalent in the literature, reflecting a growing focus on established knowledge at the expense of new opportunities. Research following a risky strategy is more likely to be ignored but also more likely to achieve high impact and recognition. While the outcome of a risky strategy has a higher expected reward than the outcome of a conservative strategy, the additional reward is insufficient to compensate for the additional risk. By studying the winners of major prizes, we show that the occasional “gamble” for extraordinary impact is the most plausible explanation for observed levels of risk-taking. To examine efficiency in scientific search, we build a model of scientific discovery informed by key properties of this network, namely node degree and inter-node distance. We infer the typical research strategy in biomedical chemistry from 30 years of publications and patents and compare its efficiency with thousands of alternatives. Strategies of chemical discovery are similar in articles and patents, conservative in their neglect of low-degree, distant or disconnected chemicals, and efficient only for initial exploration of the network of chemical relationships. We identify much more efficient strategies for maturing fields.
Senior FAssociate Professor of Sociologyand ’and Open Access shapesHe has also investigated the relation of markets to science by examining how using digital scholarship to then using,, the Mellon and John F. Templeton Foundations
25 April 2013, 17:00 – 18:30
Speaker: Dame Lynne Brindley, former CEO, British Library
Respondent: Dr Sarah Thomas, Bodleian Libraries
Respondent: Professor Christine Borgman,
Balliol College and University of California, Los Angeles
Title: Future of Research Libraries in the 21st Century
major challenges and opportunities now and in the next decade. context of global complexity in a digital information world that envelops scholars, researchers, consumers and citizens. The ‘data deluge’ and ‘always on’ digital culture combine to be awesome in global impact, unprecedented in terms of innovative possibilities, and yet inhuman in many dimensions. The speaker will consider core values of research libraries, whether those values continue to be relevant, and how they might be manifest in new ways. Questions to be addressed include what information should be preserved; whether t he physical library still important; whether a new balance between information as a public or private good; and libraries still be relevant to many disciplines.
Lynne Brindley was Chief Executive of the British Library for some twelve years until Summer 2012 when she stepped down from the role. She was responsible for opening up the BL in its new flagship home, as one of the world’s greatest resources for scholarship, research and business, to a much wider global audience, through major digital programmes and cultural and educational activities. She had previously spent much of her career in UK higher education, as Pro-Vice Chancellor at Leeds University and at the
London School of Economics and Aston University. She had a spell in the private sector as a senior consultant with KPMG. She is now a non-executive Board member of Ofcom (UK Communications and Media Regulator), a member of the Arts & Humanities Research Council, a member of Council of City University, the Wolfson Trust Arts Panel, and the Court of the Goldsmiths’ Livery Company. She holds a BA in music from Reading University, an MA from UCL and was made a Dame in 2008 for services to the British Library and to education.
16 May 2013, 17:00 – 18:30
Dr Frances Pinter,www.pinter.org.uk
Respondent: Dr Sarah Thomas, Bodleian Libraries
Title: New Open Business Models for Academic Book Publishing in the Post-Finch Era
The 150 page Finch Report has less than three pages on books. It takes the view that just as with journal articles any publication arising out of public funding of research should be made publicly available free to the end user. However, as the traditional book business models differ significantly from journals other types of solutions need to be considered. Finch encourages experimentation. Open access book publishing is being tried in a very tentative way by a few publishers. So far there are only a handful of models all of which have their strengths and weaknesses. Dr Frances Pinter will provide a review of these approaches. She will also present an overview of her own new initiative Knowledge Unlatched.
Dr Frances Pinter is the founder of Knowledge Unlatched, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) devising and implementing a new open access model for scholarly book length publications. (knowledgeunlatched.org). She was the founding Publisher of Bloomsbury Academic and ran the Churchill Archive digitisation project. Frances is a visiting fellow at both the Big Innovation Centre and the London School of Economics. Previously she was Publishing Director at the Soros Foundation (Open Society Foundations). In the late 90s she devised the business model for EIFL, one of the world’s largest library consortia. Earlier she founded Pinter Publishers that also owned Leicester University Press and established the imprint Belhaven Press. She has been active on a number of publishing trade boards and committees. She holds a BA from New York University and a PhD from University College, London.