Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology at the OU, explores the impact of technology on higher education in his new book, The Digital Scholar. Martin says that starting to blog was one of the best decisions in his academic career to date and explores how the age of academic publishing - when new platforms extend opportunities beyond those of the academic journal or conference paper - is changing thanks to digital technologies. Here he explains his reasons for writing the book, why you can access and adapt its content for free, and how you can win a signed copy...
The sort of thing I discuss on my blog (edtechie.net) is the impact of technology on higher education. In the past two years or so the term 'digital scholarship' has started to be used to cover these sorts of issues. So last year I decided it would be a good idea to explore these issues in more depth in a book.
We've witnessed lots of changes in other industries as a result of new technology, for example the music and newspaper industries have been almost completely transformed, and the question is often asked 'are universities next?'. There are some similarities with those industries, but also some crucial differences too. So in the book I wanted to explore what changes were occurring, but also what potential changes could occur as a result of the adoption of new technologies.
One example is the academic publishing industry. Generally, if academics wanted to communicate their research they needed to publish a journal or conference article. Now they have many other alternatives available to them, such as blogs, YouTube, Slideshare presentations, etc. So they suddenly have a choice of alternatives, where previously none existed. This doesn't mean the academic article will disappear but it does mean it's not the only option. We've also seen a big change in the academic publishing business with the advent of open access publishing, whereby articles are made freely available, instead of being in databases owned by the publishers.
When I wrote the book I was adamant that it should be released as open access, as much of the book advocates this approach. Finding a publisher that would agree to this was difficult, but eventually I got a contract with Bloomsbury Academic who have been very innovative in this area. So, now you can buy the physical version of the book, or the kindle version, but you can also read the book for free online.
The copyright is interesting too - it is released under a Creative Commons non-commercial license which means you are free to use the book in any way you wish, as long as it's not for profit. This means people can take it and make different versions, use it in teaching, post it elsewhere, etc. I am interested to see what this freedom of use will lead to, as often it is the unpredictable outcomes that are the most interesting.
*NOW CLOSED* Winner to be announced soon.
To win a signed copy of Martin Weller's The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice, simply comment on this article.
Terms and conditions
This competition opens on 22/09/11 and closes on 22/10/2011. Prizes must be taken as offered and are not transferable or exchangeable for a cash equivalent. Only one entry per competition per person. This competition is open to all. Entries must be received by 22 October 2011. The promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are incomplete, illegible, corrupted or fail to reach the promoter by the relevant closing date for any reason. The winner will be selected at random after the closing date, and will be notified within 14 days by email. Entries are taken as acceptance of these terms and conditions. The name and town of the winner will be published on Platform. The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.