A real digital scholar

Martin Weller, originally uploaded by jjn1.

Back to the OU this afternoon (accompanied by my Arcadia Fellow, Helle Porsdam, who is doing a project on digital humanities) for the launch of Martin Weller’s new book, The Digital Scholar: How Technology Is Transforming Scholarly Practice. It’s a remarkably satisfying and rounded examination of three important and puzzling questions:

1. How is digital technology affecting scholarly practice?
2. How could it affect scholarly practice?
3. What are the implications for academia?

What’s great about Martin is that — unlike some academics — he doesn’t opine about this stuff from the sidelines: he lives and breathes networked scholarship. Thus he not only maintains a thoughtful and widely respected blog, but he campaigns energetically to have scholarly blogging recognised as a legitimate form of scholarly activity. He believes that academic work should be networked and open, and so refuses to do peer-reviewing for ‘closed’ journals. And in choosing a publisher for his new book, he went for Bloomsbury Academic, which publishes scholarly books under a Creative Commons licence. (Full disclosure: I’m on the Advisory Board of Bloomsbury Academic.) So you can buy the book in conventional print form. But you can also read it online for free.

I wish there were more academics like him.