Open scholarship: Twitter autoethnography? A chat with Lenandlar Singh

Open scholarship: Twitter autoethnography? A chat with Lenandlar Singh
A discussion with Lenandlar Singh

On Open Scholarship and how we might demonstrate it

I’ve been in a number of conversations recently where we’ve been talking about how we talk about Open Scholarship outside of our communities. If I talk to someone else who identifies as an open scholar, there’s no problem, I can just talk about my practice. But what if I’m in a tenure and promotion context? What if I’m trying to talk to someone who is considering open scholarship but they are concerned that the time spent will not be recognized.

And so… a series of conversations with people who are thinking about these things. This first conversation is with Lenandlar Singh of the University of Guyana who I have been fortunate to be connected to online for close to 10 years and is currently thinking and researching on the usage of Twitter by early career scholars.

It was a fascinating window into his current thinking. It was, in effect, an open scholarly conversation on open scholarship. Some of the initial questions Lenandlar urged us to consider included:

  • How do we demonstrate open scholarship to people outside our communities?
  • What artifacts might you count/consider to be scholarly contributions?
  • If I’m looking at someone’s scholarship on twitter… what am I looking for?
  • What might be the evidence showing up in their engagement
  • Are they engaging with text and other scholarly work?
  • Are they using it to disseminate their work?
  • Why might they be doing that?
  • Who are they engaging with?
  • Is there any follow up?
  • Is there some kind of intertextual engagement?
  • What communities are they engaging in (hashtag inclusions etc…)
  • Are they running those communities or just echoing them? 
  • What are they ‘not’ engaging in?
  • What might count over some period of time?
  • Are there changes of people’s ways of doing things?

One thing that really stood out to me was the idea of doing a Twitter autoethnography (i mean, doesn’t need to be Twitter, that’s what we were talking about). What would a framework that structured a review of your open scholarship for a year look like? How could you credit the people who influenced you in a way that would support their own reviews? How could we maintain a critical eye on that autoethnography so it could be a locus of growth rather than simply a catalogue of ‘connections’. Lots of people’s work was mentioned during the conversation (both during the recording and before and after) but one person that stood out was the work of Jon Rainford in the UK (unfortunately not open access).

This will hopefully be the first of a few conversations leading to some ideas about how we can translate open scholarship to the rest of the academy. Any resources you have, research that already does what I want (I don’t NEED to recreate it if it exists) or any other thoughts are very welcome.