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Title: A multi-stakeholder investigation into the effect of the Web on scholarly communication in chemistry
Author: Fyson, Richard William
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 9659
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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As an open, inexpensive, collaborative platform, the Web is ideal for facilitating communication among scholars, enabling near free access to knowledge. The Web’s potential goes further still however, allowing researchers to utilise the digital, networked medium to publish more of their research data in comparison to paper-based journal articles, and to publish them in context sensitive formats enabling wider access and visibility, increased discoverability and potential for further use including through e-science techniques. Yet this potential has not been fully realised. Whilst much research is made freely available via open access, this remains a contentious subject, along with other facets of scholarly communication such as peer review and journal impact factors. The range of functions fulfilled by the processes of academic publishing ultimately inhibits the Web’s ability to instigate change. This thesis presents an all-encompassing study examining the roles of the major stakeholders in the process of capturing research and making it publicly available, to understand why the full potential of the application of the Web in scholarly discourse has not yet been fully realised. Through doing so a new approach to scholarly discourse, termed disintermediation, is formulated whereby the researcher is placed in a central role, using the Web to communicate research findings directly with their peers. An evaluation of disintermediation via a socio-economic analysis of researchers’ behaviour finds that publisher-enabled mechanisms of reward and recognition are crucial in driving scholarly dissemination. Therefore a more pragmatic approach to instigating change in academic publishing is then investigated. This leads to the development of a prototype Web service to facilitate a process termed disaggregation, the breaking down of conventional publications so that their constituent elements may be disseminated and used more freely. An evaluation of disaggregation via expert interviews, seeds a final proposal that builds on the disaggregation approach. Whilst not immediately implementable, this proposal recognises the need for a significant cultural shift and engagement from all the stakeholders of scholarly discourse, if it is to truly benefit from the affordances of the Web.
Supervisor: Coles, S. J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available