#DH2017 starts today in Montreal. The theme is “Access/Accès”. Details in the hyperlink. I wish I were there!
I am sure the tweetage will exceed the limits of my poor Google spreadsheet, but as it’s become kind of customary I am attempting to collect as many tweets with the conference hashtag as possible.
Using Martin Hawksey’s TAGS, here’s what the archive looks like as of 6:35:05 AM Montreal time of the first official day (8 August 2017):
As of 9 August 2017, 6:11:33 AM Montreal time
As of 10 August 2017, 6:07:45 AM Montreal time
As of 11 August 2017, 7:12:46 AM Montreal time
As of 12 August 2017, 03:11:57 AM Montreal time. (I would have liked to take this screenshot later but I would not be online at that time. Considering the conference had finished by then it will do),
As of 13 August 2017, 05:50:54 AM Montreal time
On 9 August do note the hashtag went nuclear being spammed, particularly with annoying ‘trending topics’ tweets, so data could do with some refining. However it does not look, at a quick glance, that spamming was serious. With more time further on and once I have closed the collection I could take a closer look and give an indication of the extent of the spamming. In any case please note as always the counts I am presenting are merely indicative, numbers are not meant to be taken at face value and no inherent quality or value judgements should be inferred from the volumes reported.
As I often state the data presented is the result of the collection methods employed, different methods are likely to present different results.
Note that this time only tweets from users with at least 10 followers are being collected. For the purpose of the archive, retweets count as tweets (this means not every tweet contains ‘original’ content).
It has been assumed that those scholars or scholarly organisations tweeting publicly from public accounts at very high volumes from an international conference do expect to get noticed by the international community for for their tweetage with the hashtag and therefore are giving implicit consent to get noted by said community for scholarly purposes; if anyone opposes to their username appearing in one of the ‘Top Tweeters’ bar charts above please let me know and I can anonymise their username retrospectively if that helps.
This is the first year I manage to archive a more or less complete set. On the one hand it helps that TAGS has improved, that I was able to be collecting and monitoring the collection in real time, and that I set the limit of a minumum of 10 followers for accounts to be collected. It also helped I did not start collecting to far back in advance as I sometimes have done.
I will be depositing a dataset of Tweet ID’s and timestamps, which is the source data for the charts embedded here, next week.
Speaking of “Access/Accès”, here’sa recent post I wrote about access and license types in a set of articles from the Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities. In case you missed it (you probably did), it might be of interest given this year’s theme.
I made a quick alluvial diagram showing the publisher, access and license types of the top 100 papers in our dataset.
Priego, Ernesto; Lewandowski, Tomasz; Atenas, Javiera; Andrés Delgado; Isabel Galina; Levin, John; Murtagh, John; Brun, Laurent; Whitton, Merinne; Pablo de Castro; Sarah Molloy; Petersen, Sigmund; Gutierrez, Silvia (2014): Articles with Ebola mentioned online anytime as tracked by Altmetric, with crowdsourced type of access and license. figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1137162
Update: for a follow-up, please read this [opens in a new window].
I have shared a dataset of 497 bibliographic entries of scientific articles mentioning the keyword ‘Ebola’. The spreadsheet is an export from an Altmetric Explorer report obtained on Wednesday 6 August 2014 at 7:55 PM BST. The spreadsheet includes the number of mentions in different social media and Web platforms each article had as tracked by Altmetric at the time of obtaining the report.
We need your help. Ebola is a relevant topic right now and accessibility to research about it is critical. The intention is to crowdsource the type of access (non-Open Acces or Open Access) of each article (column J) and the type of license (column I).
Please click on the URL of an article (column E) and manually look for access type and license type. If you are accessing the Internet from your institution, please make sure to verify how you are getting access to an article; you may have immediate access to it, but this does not mean the article is Open Access properly. Please include your name and if appropriate Twitter username on column K next to your contributions.
For the purposes of this project an article will qualify as “Open Access” if it is freely accessible without previous membership, login or paywall. It must be described literally as such by the platform/journal that publishes it and must have been published with a Creative Commons or similar open license.
“Free Access”, “Free to You” or any other access model which is not explicitly self-described by the publisher on the article as “Open Access” and is not published with a Creative Commons license should be listed as “non-OA” as there is no guarantee said article will remain available free of charge or that it can be accessed, distributed or reused without cost or previous permission.
“Type of license” (column I) refers to the license with which the article has been published under. Options are “All Rights Reserved” for non-OA articles and all the types of Creative Commons licenses. By definition, any article published under All Rights Reserved cannot qualify as “Open Access” even if it is available without toll. If the license is not clearly visible, please add “N/A”. If the article is published under different type of ‘open’ license (but not CC) please indicate which one.
The data in the spreadsheet might also need refining; i.e. some titles might not be relevant (not scientific articles properly or not about ebola) and these should be removed.
The shared spreadsheet is a public document and all visitors can edit. Please edit respectfully, responsibly and ethically. As such this is also an experiment into the possibilities of open collaboration. Thank you for your contribution!
It was a fantastic opportunity to meet colleagues from different countries (Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, USA…) doing incredibly exciting research and scholarly communications work.
We used the #scholarAfrica hashtag and I live-tweeted a lot. One of my intentions was to put to test some of the principles we’ll be discussing in terms of the role of social media in helping us become visible amongst our own immediate networks and beyond.
It was very nice to see it –as Kaitlin Thaney put it– go “boom!” like a rocket!
I have deposited on figshare a third alluvial diagram, this time focusing on the country of affiliation of the Principal Investigator/Author of the articles and the geographical area mentioned in the article title.
Like the previous two diagrams the source data is an Altmetric Explorer report I exported on 19 February 2014 including the 25 articles which according to Altmetric were the articles with the highest Altmetric score. Fourteen of those 25 are Open Access articles; 11 are paywalled.
Columns in the diagram correspond to 1) Country of affiliation of the article’s Principal Investigator/Author, 2) Geographical area covered in the title of the article, 3) Journal title 4) Access type.
Nine of the 25 PIs are from the USA; 6 from South Africa; 3 from the UK; 2 from France; 2 from Spain; 1 from Sweden and 1 unknown (author information was paywalled).
Nine of the 25 article titles mentioned the geographical term “South Africa”; 6 “Africa”; 3 “Southern Africa”; 2 “West Africa”; 1 “Central Africa”; 1 “Guinea” and “Africa”; 1 “North Africa” and “Southern Europe”; 1 “Northwest Africa”; and 1 “Southern and Eastern Africa”.
Also as previously indicated source data was deduped and cleaned and non-peer-reviewed outputs were removed from the original export. Source data is likely to change in future reports and it represents the online activity as tracked by Altmetric at that given point in time.
On my blog at HASTAC, I shared a post with some thoughts on the the UK Parliament BIS Committee’s Open Access recommendations (here).
We need to emphasise that Gold OA is completely compatible with institutional repositories. In my opinion a Green-only option that leaves the paywalled business model uninterrogated fails to tackle what I perceive as the biggest obstacle to fairer (legal) access to knowledge.
Mandating Green OA is a positive step in the right direction, but it might merely provide a temporary paliative to what still keeps most (version of record) research inaccessible by many on a timely and sustainable fashion.
Inspired by a conversation I had with my colleague Melonie Fullick, yesterday I posted “Various Shades of Digital Literacy: The New Digital Divides” on my HASTAC blog.
To be honest I am a bit concerned the HASTAC publishing platform is unreliable and offers no way of easily managing archives, saving drafts, etc. If the data is lost, it is lost, and I normally write all my posts directly onto their interface. I have seen other HASTAC scholars reblog there what they have published elsewhere, mainly on their blogs, ensuring thus they keep a back-up (and control) of their content.
So far I have only used this blog to keep track and link to my online publications but I think that from now on I will start reblogging my contributions to third-party sites here on my own blog, hoping that if something happens at least there’s a back-up somewhere.
Various Shades of Digital Literacy: The New Digital Divides
I’d like to thank my colleague Melonie Fullick for the conversation that led to this post.
I have been organising collaborative online activities since the late 90s, and throughout those years I have experienced the challenges and opportunities of doing collective work remotely with collaborators who have different backgrounds and levels of expertise.
More recently, as a researcher interested in the digital humanities and as a blogger, editor and academic blogging and social media workshop facilitator I have observed an interesting phenomenon which is also a cause for some concern.
This concern is the rise of different shades of digital literacy levels within groups or communities that are often assumed to have the same skill sets or more or less similar degrees of access to infrastructure, financial means, education, connecitivity amongst others since these groups’ members belong to the same organisation, faculty, department, etc. That members of the same organisation should not be assumed to necessarily have the same digital skills or level of access to said skills, education or resources is precisely one of the motivations for this post.
At the time of writing this, the current “Global Digital Divide” Wikipedia entry reads:
“The global digital divide is a special case of the digital divide, the focus is set on the fact that “Internet has developed unevenly throughout the world” causing some countries to fall behind in technology, education, labor, democracy, and tourism. The concept of the digital divide was originally popularized in regard to the disparity in Internet access between rural and urban areas of the United States of America; the global digital divide mirrors this disparity on an international scale.
The global digital divide also contributes to the inequality of access to goods and services available through technology. Computers and the Internet provide users with improved education, which can lead to higher wages; the people living in nations with limited access are therefore disadvantaged. This global divide is often characterized as falling along what is sometimes called the north-south divide of “northern” wealthier nations and “southern” poorer ones.”
In this case I would like to suggest there are other types of digital divides that are not necessarily between those with access and those without. As Howard Besser pointed out,
“Much of the promise of the digital ages is an increase in democratic values and of broadening public participation in the various aspects of society and culture. In order for this promise to be realized, we need to take concerted action to narrow a host of different digital divides and allow everyone an equal opportunity to partake in this democratic promise.”
Besser is right to point out that “The digital divide also includes a gap between those who can be active creators and distributors of information, and those who can only be consumers.” Nevertheless, the other types of digital divides I have been thinking about take place within those who can be both active creators and distributors of information, as well as consumers of that information.
The group I am talking about is graduate students, post-docs and academic staff in higher education institutions, and specifically within the arts and humanities and in developed nations such as the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. The sometimes exceedingly high standard expected from candidates as specifically detailed in some digital humanities job descriptions announces a new digital divide, between those who can build the digital platforms and those who would only consume them. Importantly, it may also announce a time in which there might only be funding available for large institutional projects that already involve a great deal of infrastructural support and, very importantly, qualified human resources with advanced levels of humanities resource building –as in coding– and not for those that “only” involve advanced levels of engagment –as in, interpretation and teaching– with those humanities resources.
But there are various shades of complexity before we even get to that divide between those who “build” and those who don’t. New digital divides created by the great diversity of digital skillsets amongst most arts and humanities scholars.
The recent popularity of the digital humanities (or rather, of the term “digital humanities”) has meant that many propose that in the near future everyone in the humanities will be a digital humanist, and that the adjective “digital’ will have to be dropped soon. It is more and more common to see job adverts seeking scholars with PhDs in very specialised arts and humanities themes who can also code (for example, PhP, Python, whatever). In general, these are skills that are not formally included in most postgraduate humanities degrees. Often those humanities scholars who possess some level of coding skills acquired them through alternative methods, taught themselves or have backgrounds in disciplines that until very recently were not part of the humanities curricula.
It is as if suddenly, in some section of the academic world, we were witnessing the rise of a super-humanist, who is not only an expert in Aramean manuscripts but can also develop XML schemas, tweak APIs, design WordPress templates, who is a master of custom CSS design for ebooks and blogs, tweets, curates data sets and visualises online networks; this highly-skilled born-digital creature quantifies her open access journal articles webometrics, in brief this prototype scholar is some kind of mutant 21st century super-powered being who simultaneously designs and maintains algorithmic architectures and deconstructs the history of literary theory and textual scholarship by heart.
On the other hand, we have what I think is a more immediate scenario, that of the scholar (please humour me for the sake of argument) who mainly communicates over emails and listservs, who, say, does not know how to save a PDF or what a hashtag is and has never used a shared Google Drive document. This scholar knows her/his stuff, hates Microsoft, resents having to use a Moodle or PowerPoint (or absolutely loves them), but is not really comfortable with this whole Web 2.0, scholarship-in-the-cloud malarkey.
There’s also an in-between group if you wish, conformed by scholars who are very fluent (or think of themselves as very fluent) in off-the-shelf Web 2.0 tools, they blog, share what they do, keep track of who reads them and eganges with them, who might know what a MOOC is and might even have facilitated or participated in one, who know what tags and attributes are, who learned what they know in different ways, who may know a lot or who may struggle with some aspects of it but just about manage to get along.
And, of course, there’s always those who will belong to all of the above, to just a couple of them or to neither of them, or any other combination you can possibly imagine. The thing is, all these categories are destined to be caricaturesque generalisations, precisely because there are so many shades of fluency and engagement with technical digital skills, expertise and tools.
Therefore these new digital “disparities” in digital fluency are not necessarily about access (or privilege, or wealth, or technology, or connectivity, or language, etc.) as it used to be discussed (between the rich and the poor, the north and the south) but about actual varying degrees of skills within the same groups. These disparities have allowed a technically savvy elite to sometimes get hold of a position that depends on a big group not possessing the skills they have, so rarely there are situations in which they are encouraged to teach others. Sometimes those others will not think they have anything to learn, or will resent being told that perhaps it would be a good idea to sit down and learn how to do something. Sometimes those others wish they had the institutional support to count with the time and space and access to training necessary to acquire new digital skills, no matter how “basic” or “advanced” they may seem to others.
Moreover there is the assumption that commercial off-the-shelf web services are simply picked up by intuitition and trial and error. This is true in some cases. It’s come to the point though in which the web is not something that only interests technically-minded people, but the platform on which and with which, for better or worse, a great percentage of human communication is increasingly taking place, and as such it is worth considering if it would not be a good idea to stop taking for granted that academics (of any age) do not need structured learning opportunities to master the nuances of the web (in this case not as coders, but as skilled users). Perhaps tool-based learning is doomed to failure as these are likely to change or disappear, but core critical and practical skills appliable to a wide variety of web tool scenarios would be a great thing to have a structured, recognised framework for.
Arguably, as web platforms become the mainstream rather than the underground, not only do those platforms become more complex: their users also cannot be expected to always-already have a great degree of proficiency in their management or use. (It can be argued that unlike mainstream scenarios, underground scenes are more or used to be more likely to engage in Do It Yourself and self-taught activities and processes).
For instance, some knowledge that some social media users might take for granted, such as logging in, updating profiles, uploading files, making hyperlinks, etc. might be unknown to even the most apparently proflific of social media users, as sometimes things happen “as if by magic” without users necessarily understanding the processes behind them or without being able to replicate them when contexts or circumstances change. We must stop taking these skills for granted, and reconsider how we might be contributing to new digital divides amongst groups of peers by assuming everyone has (or even should have!) the same digital skillsets, when perhaps they don’t.
These are just some quick notes seeking to suggest that before all arts and humanities scholars become that mutant 21st century super-powered being we need to first recognise the existence of the great diversity of levels of digital literacy, and second that academia needs to figure out how to ensure that, for example, everyone feels comfortable using a search engine before asking them to code one from scratch.
PS. I could have added a lot of hyperlinks to the above post as references, but I’m afraid I don’t have the time, so you get what you pay for. Sorry about that.