In The Scholarly Kitchen, Alix Vance made a important realization: Scholarly publishers need to recognize, if they have not already,  that they are part of a larger knowledge creation sector that is changing rapidly–a fundamental shift that is not limited to the academia world. Knowledge creation happens in nonprofit research institutes, corporate R & D labs, in startup companies, and even on blog sites like this one.

Scholarly publishers are not alone in this shift–technology is affecting every aspect of our lives. Alix pointed to the Digital Learning Council–a rapid virtual policy development collaborative sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education–as an example of a new form of knowledge creation.  The DLC included  representations education, policy, technology, publishing, and research (but, admittedly, not many).

Alix points to reasons that digital learning will ultimately impact the course of digital scholarly publishing:

  • Significant transformation in digital learning and educational technology will not be confined to or defined by traditional market boundaries—K-12, two-year, four-year, graduate, professional. Scalable technologies and commercial incentives virtually guarantee that what is embraced in one educational arena will quickly translate to the other.
  • Support for customized, technology-centered learning will advance the obsolescence of the traditional textbook model that many publishers have taken great pains to defend.
  • To the degree to which textbook publishers do not join the virtual learning movement, there will be new opportunities for scholarly publishers to downstream their content to virtual learning applications, in partnership with course delivery companies or open access platforms.

Universities have begun to create departments surrounding digital scholarly publishing. NYU created Digital Scholarly Publishing, innovative publishing services linking NYU Libraries and NYU Press. Most colleges and universities are in the process of transferring their information to an online system.

Note: Mike Smith’s OER post included a great list of open content sources for higher education.

Read the Digital Learning Now recommendations here.

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