About ScholLIT

Overview

ScholLIT is the best site to share and communicate scholarship, publications, and other academic endeavors. Users can share ideas and discuss scholarly literature and other scholarly communications both anonymously and by their known professional personas. This platform democratizes the academic community by allowing its users to decide what is most relevant, what is most important, what is most controversial, and what isn’t worth the time to read. Discussions surrounding new and old publications can be lively and interesting because users will decide what commentary is most important. ScholLIT is community driven, with users who both post their publications, presentations, and scholarly communications as well as discuss, interpret, and build knowledge by collaborating together.

 

Mission

To change the course of scholarly discourse.

 

Background

Discovery before ScholLIT – Currently academic faculty and researchers publish in various outlets such as books, conference presentations, posters, and journals. Most share the notion that they want the ability for their work to be shared among the widest audience possible. This has given rise to various metrics that are used to judge the quality of both journals as well as their articles. These metrics include Web of Science’s Journal Impact Factor (JIF), which measures how impactful a journal is to a particular discipline and Elsevier’s Scopus, as well as others which provide interesting research metrics. The problem is that most of these metrics use citation analysis as the basis for judging both the popularity of journals and articles, but publications may exist that have not been published in a prestigious journal nor received the amount of attention they otherwise would deserve, leading to lower citations. Other metrics, the so-called altmetrics, look at the spread of publications across various online channels and social media. This is why many academics post their publications to various social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, and others. This practice has some merit, but a problem exists in that these posts are only shared among those who already follow the poster on the social media platform where the publication is shared. Questions exist about how to gain a following in these mediums. If important scholarly communications are published in less prestigious journals (for a myriad of reasons) they may never gain the notoriety and, more importantly, be able to spread their message.

Discovery after ScholLIT- ScholLIT changes the discovery process of scholarly literature and publications. It is a social media platform in which, instead of following individuals, individuals follow various academic subjects/disciplines and have the ability to add research/publications they or others have worked on to those subjects. For instance a faculty member of a psychology department at a university may follow subjects such as “Behavioral Analysis”, “Neuro Linguistic Programming”, “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”, and anything else they may find of interest. This faculty member can post their publications to these or any other subject that matches the topics of their papers. The real power of the platform is the community, who can then vote up/down these publications based on their opinion and expertise. An algorithm (trade secret) will be employed to ensure that the best publications reach the top of the subject area; using time as a factor in the algorithm no individual post or poster will be able to dominate the flow of publications. Users will be able to see best posts, top posts (over various user chosen time frames), newest posts, rising posts (those gaining steam quickly), and the most disputed posts (those with the most divided opinions or both voted up and down the most) both within a single subject and across multiple subjects. One of the aims is that some of the information generated by the platform’s ratings will enhance and compliment many of the current metrics for judging scholarly merit.

 

Scholarly Discourse/Discussion before ScholLIT– The current state of scholarly discourse is very slow. Academics can discuss their work at conferences face to face, over the phone, via email, or through social media. There are serious problems with all of these methods. Conferences occur seldomly throughout the year, last only a few days (to less than a day in some cases), and often are without their opportunities to discuss scholarly work in a meaningful way. Calling and emailing the writer(s) of a publication may be good for questions of clarification, but are not places to have disagreements, discussions, and don’t allow the contributions of many researchers in one forum.

Scholarship has another glaring problem in that publications are often written in the jargon of the discipline, creating a barrier to academics of other disciplines and non-expert researchers whose opinions may be no less valid than professional academics. There exists no current method of analysis for the lay-person or even for a PHD from another subject. This has a major effect on the ability for multidisciplinary endeavors to be tackled by researchers from varying fields. The current state of academic scholarship is confusing and exclusionary to most.

Scholarly Discourse/Discussion after ScholLIT– ScholLIT changes the course of scholarly discourse. When new research is posted to the platform, users will be able to post commentary including their opinions, thoughts, critiques, and analysis. Again, just like the rating/voting of posts, comments will also be voted up/down in order to build awareness and visibility of the most important commentary (and these comments will also be able to be sorted by various metrics). Comments will flow like conversations, with commentors able to reply to individuals anywhere within a comment chain. The platform will be engaging, drawing users to post interesting commentary by awarding points for high ranking comments, and the ability for users to award other users when they have posted a comment of significant importance (e.g. a user may reward a commentor for posting a comment that pokes a significant hole through the original poster’s research, or for a thorough, easy to understand explanation of a confusing article). Each subject may have one or more moderators (community volunteers) to create and enforce the rules of that subject. This will help ensure the use of etiquette, eliminate internet trolls from contaminating the commentary (and postings), and promote the flow of scholarly communications and discussions. ScholLIT will be a place where researchers can spread their ideas, publicize their research, and collaborate with others to examine and debate the implications of the work in their field.