Closed access irony award: Christine Greenhow & Benjamin Gleason on social media and scholars

Well, isn’t this ironic.  There are a few news stories I was pointed to about a recent paper from Christine Greenhow & Benjamin Gleason at Michigan State.  Here is one of the stories: Why scholars don’t trust social media? | Business Standard.  And here is a link to the paper: Social scholarship: Reconsidering scholarly practices in the age of social media.

In the news story linked above one of the authors of the study is reported to have said:

“Only a minority of university researchers are using free and widely available social media to get their results and published insights out and into the hands of the public, even though the mission of public universities is to create knowledge that makes a difference in people’s lives,” Greenhow explained.

And here are some quotes from another story: The “Ivory Tower” Appears Reluctant to Use Social Media:

I’m arguing that we need more “social scholars.” Social scholars use social media to publish and interact with scholarly output and to join an online community around their topic. Social scholarship is characterized by openness, conversation, collaboration, access, sharing and transparent revision… engaging an informal, social review process may help surface inaccuracies and engage a wider, nonspecialist audience.

And also

“Academia is not serving as a model of social media use or preparing future faculty to do this,” Greenhow said. Adding, “The issue is at the heart of larger discussions regarding accessibility, equal rights to higher education, transparency and accountability.”

Obviously people who know me would know that I certainly feel that it would be good to have more scholars being active users of social media. Though I don’t think I would push the discussion too far into “equal rights” at least in this context.

But though I support the general idea of some of the quotes from Greenhow, I can’t say I agree with what is in the paper.  I can’t say I disagree with it either.  You know why.  Because I do not have %&(#(&$ access to the paper.  This is what I get when I try to get the paper:

So let me get this straight.  There is a scholarly paper discussing the limited use of social / free / open media by scholars.  And one of the authors of the paper is lamenting this limited sharing of knowledge.  And the paper is not openly available.  Brilliant.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

3 thoughts on “Closed access irony award: Christine Greenhow & Benjamin Gleason on social media and scholars”

  1. I'd like to comment for a brief moment on another kind of closed access. It is at this time illegal to burden basic research with a security classification. Setting aside that this is effectively done all the time by deeming the knowledge dual-use (and that some basic science may be dual use in a meaningful way), I have spent several years engaged with government information technology folks. They have frequently discussed aspects of information assurance that I don't find compelling, as balanced against those I do. I keep trying to focus them on things like good backups, effective 100% accessibility, and so on. They want to focus on security. They seem puzzled by my general response that I would be happy enough to post all my data on a billboard near I-95, if I thought people would read them there. They ask about intellectual property and all that – my response is that attribution is enough, thank you, and even that could be sacrificed in exchange for progress.


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