Digital Scholarship in Emerging Knowledge Domains

In what has become widely known as the network society, the digitally-mediated environment is changing the nature of scholarship. This is happening from conceptualisation to data collection and analysis, to publishing findings and data, through to teaching and engagement, with both scholarly processes and content at every stage potentially changing form.  For scholars in the global south, the possibilities of the digital provide opportunities to resources, connections and networks which were previously difficult to access and to contribute to.

This project will investigate how digital scholarship is manifesting in one emerging knowledge domain, that of Climate Change. Emerging knowledge areas are of interest given that they are coming into existence at a time when society and higher education are increasingly digitally mediated. As new domains they have the potential to have gained more traction and be more visible online than traditional entrenched disciplines.  In addition, Climate Change is of specific concern to scholars in the global south, and is an area where they are more likely to be active. Their participation may make a tangible difference to both development imperatives and scholarly concerns.

This study will focus on the work of academics in South Africa and the extent to which their scholarship is visible online throughout  the research cycle. The study will focus on key individuals, identified as expert scholars in this domain. It will analyze the extent to which they are digital scholars i.e. scholars who employ digital, networked and open approaches to demonstrate specialism in a scholarly field. The methodology will utilize online tools, to track digital engagement and presence through each of the scholarly stages.

This project is associated with and is contributing to a larger project investigating in three emerging knowledge areas: Gender Studies, Climate Change and HIV/AIDS, in South Africa, India, Brazil and Australia.