Duke Center for Instructional Technology

Keynote Speaker::


Blaise Cronin
Rudy Professor of Information Science
Indiana University

Scholarly Communication, Academic Cultures and Eyeballs:
How Tradition and Technology are Driving Disciplinary Change

The communication behaviors of scholars vary considerably, reflecting differences in academic cultures and institutional norms. What works for high-energy physicists won’t necessarily work for chemists; what holds for historians won’t always hold for cultural anthropologists. It doesn’t make much sense to talk about the scholarly communication system, or the future of scholarly publication. Today, there are many communication media, multiple genres of academic writing, and a range of approaches to peer review. Scholars can create post, publish, disseminate, and archive their research and pedagogic materials in myriad ways, but their choices have as much to do with the values and norms of their disciplinary communities as to the available information and communication technologies.

We can expect to see much more experimentation and innovation in the years ahead, as authors, librarians, provosts and publishers struggle to reengineer the publication value chain. However, it’s unlikely that a universally accepted model of scholarly publication will emerge; there are simply too many stakeholders, too many vested interests, and too many technological possibilities for a one-size-fits-all solution to emerge. But one generalization can be permitted; the migration of scholars to the Web will soon reach the tipping point. With online publishing, altruism and self-interest coincide. More people get to see my work, my work attracts more attention, and my stock rises. That’s the theory, but in the attention economy there’s a finite amount of attention to go around. Those (individuals, institutions, academic cultures) resisting the siren call of Web-based publishing will find that even less attention is being devoted to their work than before. Sooner rather than later they’ll capitulate. As a result, branding and salience (of individuals and groups) will become facts of life in an age of open access and institutional repositories. The scramble for eyeballs is set to move up a gear, and with it the search for robust, new measures of scholarly impact.

About the Speaker

Blaise Cronin is the Rudy Professor of Information Science at Indiana University Bloomington, where he was Dean of the School of Library and Information Science from 1991 to 2003, a position he reassumes in July 2004. From 1985-1991 he held the Chair of Information Science and was Head of the Department of Information Science at the Strathclyde University Business School in Glasgow. He has published extensively on scholarly communication, citation analysis, collaboration in science, scientometrics, cybermetrics information warfare, strategic intelligence, knowledge management, information marketing, and distributed education. Cronin is Editor of the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST). He has taught, conducted research, or consulted in more than thirty countries: clients have included the World Bank, NATO, Asian Development Bank, UNESCO, Brazilian Ministry of Science & Technology, European Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, Chemical Abstracts Service, Her Majesty's Treasury, Hewlett-Packard, British Library. He was a founding director of Crossaig, an electronic publishing start-up, which was acquired in 1992 by ISI. Cronin was educated at Trinity College Dublin (M.A.) and the Queen's University of Belfast (Ph.D., D.S.Sc.) In 1997, he was awarded the degree Doctor of Letters (D.Litt., honoris causa) by Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh for his scholarly contributions to information science.


Link to CIT : Perkins Library : Duke University

Blaise Cronin