Scholarly Communication

Since the beginning of the humanities a few centuries ago, scholarly communication has been important in the publishing process of humanities works. However, as the 21st century has progressed, this practice has undergone significant changes. One of these changes involves the transition of scholarly communication from physical to digital. Prior to the 21st century, scholarly communication regarding  academic and humanities-related works was practiced by humanities professors and historians, while today scholarly communication is widely open to the public via certain websites and can be practiced online by people who aren’t employed by academic instititutions. In addition, while the reception of scholarly communication between two or more parties used to take months, online scholarly communication can be received instantaneously with the click of a button. In her book Planned Obsolescence, Kathleen Fitzpatrick spends time discussing websites and online programs that are designed specifically for scholarly communication, such as CommentPress, which uses blogs to promote conversation around long texts and documents. In the same chapter that she discusses CommentPress, Fitzpatrick also mentions hypertext, which allows readers to interact with classic works online by reorganizing them and connecting them with other texts, and  MediaCommons, which is an online community that encourages peer-to-peer review among scholars and social networking for academic purposes. On MediaCommons, scholars can share their input on any paragraph that they read during a public open peer review. For example, on the public open peer review of Jason Mittell’s Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling, scholars either quote certain sentences that need clarification or share their opinions on the examples Mittell uses to support his argument. A clear connection between the shifts in scholarly communication and shifts in the digitization of scholarly work can therefore be seen.

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