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  • Scholarly Network Features

This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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This page is for discussing various possible features for a scholarly network. Please add your comments to existing features and/or add new features below, using the same format if possible. The initial seeding is based on features discussed at Workshop 2.

Authority of information (Restricted sign-up)

Who has it: Academia.edu (restricted to scholars; librarians and technologists are excluded); Facebook used to have it. Actually, I don't think Academia.edu has it - I was able to create a fake ID and research group at an institution, done in order to test 'authority'. It may be that Academia.edu is trying to keep barriers low during the early phase where they are trying to get people to sign up, but they will have an interesting dilemma deciding when to restrict sign-up and how to clean out potential fraudsters. I think the most likely route is the institutional email address, if the supplied address is valid and receives a confirmation from the owner of the address that they deliberately registered, a low level of authority will be obtained. But this does not confirm the veracity of any assertions made by the individual on the academia.edu site.

How important (1-5, 1 is "critical", 5 is "would be nice"): ???

A way of limiting participants to ensure that they are a legitimate member of the scholarly community. Would there be an approval process? Would users have to have an .edu e-mail address? What about independent scholars? A suggestion might be a recognised process of 'graduation' where it is explicitly stated what criteria have been met for 'authenticity'. A process used in certificate issuing is to use the network itself to validate incomers. Seeded by trusted individuals, they 'recognise' peers and once a peer's status is established, the peer obtains the power to 'recognise' others.


Discovery feature (of tools, papers, etc.)

Who has it: Academia.edu (papers). Biomed Experts has an interesting 'referer system' which looks at the papers you author and picks out co-authors (and possibly research topics) as a way of identifying potential reseachers with common interests. The Thought Ark Demonstrator is premised on the idea of networking scholars based on their co-citation practices. 

How important (1-5, 1 is "critical", 5 is "would be nice"): ???

A way for participants to post content and tools in a way that they would be findable. IP/publisher concerns? Can it be linked with institutional repositories and/or the "open access" agenda?


Involvement of professional societies

Who has it: Facebook has apps that you can install or not as you choose

How important (1-5, 1 is "critical", 5 is "would be nice"): ???

What form would this take? Would professional societies use this to manage membership, get RSVP's to conferences? Is this a tool to connect members? None of the above?

Personally, I think the terms of use of Facebook and its claim to a fairly broad license on all materials submitted to its servers, mean Facebook is a non-starter for academic networks (unless they change their terms).


Directory

Who has it: Facebook can search by listed interests, Academia.edu can search by research interests

How important (1-5, 1 is "critical", 5 is "would be nice"): ???

Meeting people you might not otherwise meet who share your research interests; connecting with librarians or technologists who could help. See reference to 'referer systems' above. Cornell has an interesting 'profile assembler' in Vivo, which runs on the Vitro software.


Choose-your-own-layout

Who has it: iGoogle offers a gadget-based approach.

How important (1-5, 1 is "critical", 5 is "would be nice"): ???

A way for users to modify the site layout to suit their own needs (iGoogle-like).

Real Time Audio-Video networked communications

Who has it:  H.323 and other higher and lower-end IP videoconferencing,  webconferencing

How important (1-5, 1 is "critical", 5 is "would be nice"): ???

A way for participants to see and hear each other in real time, not always needed, but can add human voice and non verbal aspects of human interaction (from all participants), or allow for non- text-based remote participation in meetings, workshops, social events, performances, etc.,  at great distances.

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1 Comment

  1. Unknown User (abosse@uchicago.edu)

    I stumbled across an interesting post on the Mendeley blog. The central claim is that the most successful social networking sites began with a large, existing collection of material (e.g. music, images, friends) and then interlinked these in interesting ways. For academics, that collection is the secondary literature pertinent to their field:

    http://www.mendeley.com/blog/2009/02/a-human-scored-research-paper-recommendation-engine/

    The post (and the original referenced post, which you should read first) then go on to suggest different kinds of ways these interconnections (e.g. recommendations) might be constructed in an academic context on top of tools such as Mendeley.