Fast Forward: A Brief Tour of The ScholarlyHub Platform
BY JASON MILLS AND GUY GELTNER
ScholarlyHub is about community, not traffic; sharing research, not pushing it, scraping it or leveraging it as a product.
Our goal is to help you pursue your curiosity and connect you with those who share it. The architecture of our future site, which we hope to build together with our members, will reflect what the SH community says it needs, not what venture capitalists define as benchmarks or milestones for launching an IPO or selling it to the highest bidder. It will also refrain from overwhelming scholars’ profiles and publications with metrics that are rarely designed as quality indicators for scholarship. Finally, it will accommodate scholars beyond the traditional mold of an academic, that is someone with an advanced degree who holds (or is formally pursuing) a tenured position at a research institution. Professional academics are a pillar of the scholarly community, but the scholarly endeavor comprises diverse communities of practice around the world, whose needs and voices should be served. We’d like to show you how we tried to embed these values in some of our initial designs for the site.
The search page is freely accessible to anyone and–more importantly–leads to fully open-access research papers, data sets, reviews, and more. Anything beyond this (and other SH search portals) can be viewed and downloaded without registration or providing further information.
Members signing up will be asked to provide basic personal info and payment details. These will be kept confidential and to a minimum. What will be expanded, however, is members’ ability to profile themselves (or not) in terms of scholarly interests, not academic rank or affiliation, or in any way that makes claims to what is “normal” on this site. Scholarship first!
You are now looking at a logged-in member’s main feed page. Members can design their own feeds and move between types of feed at will, thanks to the use of movable tiles. As a starting point we’re proposing four possibilities: a centralized SH blog, a bottom-up General Assembly, a scholarship feed, and an education and outreach feed. Members can opt into or out of each of these through a simple interface that allows them to shrink, grow or eliminate feeds. What appears on all but the first feed, moreover, depends entirely on members’ preferences (e.g. through tagging and their network).
Here is where members can shape and update their profiles, once again using a friendly and flexible tile design. Miriam, the logged-in member, has chosen to upload a photo, write a brief bio and list four main scholarly interests on the top-left tile. (As you’ll see in the next slide, she also chose to upload a CV and provide contact info). Academic affiliations, positions and ranks are not part of how the profile gets built, but can certainly be part of your bio. The next tile to the right offers an overview of Miriam’s network and allows her to connect with other scholars. Keeping relationships horizontal, colors are randomized, and we avoided both metrification as well as terms such as following and followers. The next tile to the right provides a tag cloud, reflecting Miriam’s teaching, research and other interests.
The left tile in the middle row is where Miriam can list, upload ad manage her publications, also in terms of their position on a publication sequence, e.g. draft, pre-print, published and post-publication peer review. The next tile to the left is a log of her peer-review activities on the ScholarlyHub website. Although in the dashboard you can see the names of the authors and texts she is or has been reviewing, the procedures could still be anonymous or even double blind, as in the third paper under review. The final tile on the right is where Miriam can manage her teaching syllabi, handouts, videos and other materials. These, like all of her articles, can be freely viewed and directly downloaded from her homepage and the site’s general repository.
At the bottom left, Miriam chose to place her posts, which would be seen by anyone in her network. Posts can but don’t have to be synchronized with other social media. The General Assembly tile to the right is where she can participate in and initiate conversations about issues she thinks need to be dealt with at the site level, e.g. governance and policy. Finally, the bottom-right tile features the variety of collaborative projects Miriam is involved in, both in and beyond her academic home.
Control of the dashboard is to a large extent in your hands. The presence, location and size of each tile (and other types of tile may be created) is flexible and optional.
A Scholar’s Profile
This is what Miriam’s ScholarlyHub profile looks like to the outside world, reflecting the choices she’s made through her dashboard. Logged-in members can communicate with her directly through in-mail, but otherwise the view is the same. By toggling between tabs you can look at different activities Miriam’s involved in. Any publication connected to these activities should be immediately visible and available to you. You can also search the repository directly from the bar at the top right of this page, and join the Hub as a member.
Let us know what you think about our work in process!
Beyond the site’s basic features, it’s the individuals and communities within SH who will determine its development priorities and schedule. The back end of the site, that is the servers and services written into its operational code, will be based insofar as possible on existing, open-access and open-source programs out there in order to avoid redundancies and let the OA community’s initiatives fulfill their goals.
We did not go at this alone. For brainstorming with us, our genuine thanks to Louis Lapidaire, Henriqué de Assis Brito, David van Hoytema, Markus Stauff, Shelly Makleff, Susan Gagliardi, Robin Celikates, Sixiang Wang, Nathaniel Hansen, Luca Scholz, and of course the members of our great advisory board.