Trust and authority in scholarly communications

Nicholas, David Trust and authority in scholarly communications., 2013 . In VI Encontro Ibérico EDICIC, Porto (Portugal), 4-6 November 2013. [Conference paper]

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English abstract

The broad aim of the paper is to examine how emerging digital behaviours are challenging and, perhaps, changing concepts of trust and authority in the scholarly world. How researchers assign and calibrate authority and trustworthiness to the scholarly sources and channels they choose to use, cite and publish is discussed. Sources/channels like journals, websites, datasets, and social media. In particular how researchers are coping in today’s crowded, dynamic, diverse and dis-intermediated digital scholarly environment where it is ever more difficult to establish the quality, veracity, authorship and authority of information is looked at. Examining also whether the growth in the use of social media and open access publications for scholarly purposes impacts on conventional practices of establishing the authority and trustworthiness of information sources and channels. The overall study is international, although the emphasis of this paper is on the situation in the USA and UK and the study also focuses mainly on science and social science. Three methodologies (focus groups, critical incident interviews and questionnaires) were used in the broader study, but here we concentrate on the results of the focus groups, the first methodology to be employed. The findings show that the traditional trust measures – peer-reviewed journals, impact factors and personal knowledge and networks – are still very much in place, although social media is making some headway with early career researchers.

Portuguese abstract

O objetivo geral do trabalho é analisar a forma como os comportamentos digitais emergentes estão questionando e, talvez, modificando os conceitos de confiança e autoridade no mundo académico. É discutido o modo como os investigadores atribuem e calibram autoridade e confiabilidade às fontes e canais académicos que eles escolhem para usar, citar e publicar. Fontes/canais como publicações periódicas, websites, conjuntos de dados e media sociais. É abordado, em particular, o modo como os investigadores lidam com o ambiente académico digital atualmente sobrecarregado, dinâmico, diversificado e sem intermediários, onde é cada vez mais difícil estabelecer a qualidade, a veracidade, a autoria e a autoridade da informação. Questiona-se se o crescimento do uso dos media sociais e das publicações de acesso aberto para propósitos académicos tem impacto nas práticas convencionais de estabelecimento da autoridade e da confiabilidade das fontes e canais de informação. O estudo é internacional, embora a ênfase deste artigo seja sobre a situação nos EUA e no Reino Unido e o estudo também se concentra principalmente em ciência e ciência social. No estudo mais amplo foram utilizadas três metodologias (focus groups, entrevistas de incidentes críticos e questionários), mas, neste trabalho, concentramo-nos nos resultados dos focus groups, a primeira metodologia a ser utilizada. Os resultados mostram que as medidas de confiança tradicionais – jornais peer-reviewed, fatores de impacto, conhecimentos pessoais e as redes – ainda estão muito em vigor, embora os media sociais estejam a fazer algum progresso com os investigadores em início de carreira.

Item type: Conference paper
Keywords: Scholarly communication; trust; authority; open access; social media; digital; Comunicação científica; confiança; autoridade; acesso aberto; media sociais
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BG. Information dissemination and diffusion.
C. Users, literacy and reading. > CB. User studies.
H. Information sources, supports, channels.
Depositing user: Carla Ferreira
Date deposited: 23 Apr 2014 02:37
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:31


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