Exploring the pre-publication communication for RePEc users

Two months ago, we announced a new free RePEc service that allows RePEc users making a fragmentation/annotation of papers and linking whole papers and/or their fragments by scientific relationships. These new tools are publicly available at sociorepec.org. It can help researchers with their everyday academic work, like discovery, analysis, and writing of new papers.

Using these tools researchers create private or public micro research outputs (annotations, relationships, etc.). If it is public, SocioRePEc can initiate direct scholarly communication between the researchers who used some papers to create micro outputs and the authors of the used papers. Such direct communication takes place while researchers are collecting findings, manipulating and organizing the findings, e.g. as their manuscripts. Thus, researchers have an opportunity to come to scholarly communication before the manuscripts become traditional publications. We call this the pre-publication communication.

Recently we presented our vision of the possible impact of pre-publication communication in a position paper “End of Publication? Open access and a new scholarly communication technology“.

We are looking for partners (organizations or individuals) to explore the pre-publication communication.

We want to find out how useful pre-publication communication is. As the first step, we propose some experiments with SocioRePEc facilities:

1. Competitive selection. The basic pre-publication communication provided by SocioRePEc is public. That means the system allows experiments with creating some elements of competition. Members of the research community can trace the “author”<–>”user” pre-publication communication. Then they compete with the author by offering the user better research results or more efficient solution to her/his research problem.

2. Identification of the “neighbours”. We can think of researchers using research outputs of other researchers as “neighbours” in the global scientific labor division system. Pre-publication communication can help researchers to find out who their neighbours are. This can give the neighbours better collective intelligence. They can interactively adjust and adapt their “supply” and “demand” to get better mutual impact from their direct research cooperation.

3. Exploring challenges. Do researchers appreciate that pre-publication communication is an instrument for identifying problems in and reducing potential issues of the credibility of their work? To shed some light on this question we need some additional qualitative study on how a research culture (formal and informal norms, rules, and motivation) can be developed that can lead researchers to adopt pre-publication scholarly communication.

4. Publication as aggregation. It is also important to find out what could motivate scholars to adopt the idea that the future of research publication is aggregation. Neylon wrote about this: “If we think of publication as the act of bringing a set of things together and providing them with a coherent identity then that publication can be many things with many possible uses” [1]. Possible questions for the experiments are: What kind of forms in general can research outputs usage have in, say, economics? Will researchers agree to share micro research outputs in order to benefit from the pre-publication communication? Under what circumstances could researchers adopt the idea of “publication as aggregation”?

5. Transparency in research. What changes in research practice can initiate global pre-publication scholarly communication between authors and users of research outputs? How can this improve the transparency and credibility of their research findings? Answering these questions will imply some study of, for example, the community of RePEc users. We see them as a pro-active group of scholars open to innovations in the field of global scholarly communication technology.

We rely on grant support, sponsorship and community donations to get started.  Please consider making a donation or support us in another form (email for contacts).

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[1] Neylon, C. The future of research communication is aggregation, Science in the Open Blog, published: 10 April 2010. Available online:  http://cameronneylon.net/blog/the-future-of-research-communication-is-aggregation/

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