Researchers
May 27, 2020

The Evolution of Digital Scholarship in the Time of COVID-19

The idea of digital scholarship is a globally debated topic in which the new definition of “scholar” is evolving. Since the advent of digital technology has taken over how academics and research are approached, applied, and disseminated, the old definition has become obsolete. With the need for credible researchers and data, particularly in times like the COVID-19 pandemic, the evolution of digital scholarship has gone through massive leaps.
Source: Pixabay

Scholarship is a term that was once consistently defined but has evolved significantly over the past decades. With the advent of the digital era, how research and data are perceived is completely different than it was twenty years ago. Historical, respected institutions are turning away from the typical paper publications and moving into digital forms of media.

So much focus has turned to digital publications for research now that the entire idea of “scholarship” has had to evolve quickly to keep up with the times. Now that the COVID-19 global pandemic has entered the scene, that evolution has undergone even further adaptations.

Immediate Adaptation Required

With no time to prepare, scholars had to quickly adapt to the evergrowing, immediate need of reputable sources to determine the accuracy of information regarding COVID-19. The fact that technology now makes it easier than ever to disseminate information quickly and widely became as much of a disadvantage as a benefit. 

As misinformation spread like wildfire, researchers, colleges, and universities were under immense pressure to weed out the incorrect data and muddied articles for the average reader. To do this, a scholar’s reputation had to be analyzed in never-before-seen levels of importance and depth. 

A framework to recognize legitimate digital scholarship on an urgent platform was needed.

Determining Digital Scholarship

The concepts necessary to determine the definition of digital scholarship are unique to today’s technologically innovative era. They must be stable, yet malleable enough to be adjusted as more digital revolutions occur.

In general, digital scholarship has evolved to include a framework that consists of characteristics such as: 

●      New knowledge accrued that is based on information discovered in a specific field, area, or discipline

●      Integrated subject area content that produces new knowledge or ideas of sharing knowledge throughout multiple subjects or disciplines

●      Impactive engagement and application of the research beyond the scholar’s academic community, making a difference in society or the world because of the information revealed by the scholar’s publication 

●      Application of the scholar’s publication to inform and drive new areas of teaching methods or using the data to develop ways to impart the information through teaching

The knowledge that digital scholarship is here to stay has prompted the American Historical Association to establish a committee dedicated to keeping a constantly evolving framework in place. The definition of a digital scholar requires a mix of quantitative and qualitative reviews through a holistic picture.

Integrating Digital Scholarship into Academia and the World

When a national or global emergency such as COVID-19 occurs, it’s crucial to have an avenue of information that is reliable. These situations should always be approached through legitimate sources. 

If COVID-19 taught scholars anything, it’s that traditional methods of research and publications are no longer valid. Knowledge has changed, subjects once thought exhausted are now new again as interdisciplinary research is challenging outdated theories, and digital scholarship is a moving target. 

Academia is moving from the traditional scholar to engaged communities sharing information and collaborating together. Through these new waters, more thorough academic information can be revealed. The work, integrated together amongst scholars in the community, combines results to get the maximum impact on student learners and society to make a difference in the world. 

For all of this to happen and academia and the world to integrate seamlessly, scholars must accept communication via digital technology. Mediums of print have evolved from stone tablets to computers, and the scholars must evolve alongside them.

Innovative technology has once been a gradual, but constant, process, but recently, these innovations have been dynamic and almost immediate, requiring scholars trained one way to adjust almost instantly to another. But the benefits of being able to apply, generate, and inform knowledge on such a large scale are endless and must be tempered with the limitations set by digital scholars, creating a dire need for legitimate, credible labels of digital scholarship.

Evolving Platforms Like Impactio Can Help

As research capabilities have improved, so have the platforms dedicated to publishing them. Impactio is an all-in-one publication source for scholars that allows you to insert your academic information, create ready-to-use PDF documents and web pages, and access a wide community of scholars to share knowledge.

With Impactio, everything you need to make an academic impact is at your fingertips, except the one thing only you can provide: Your knowledge. Use Impactio to spread your findings to the world in a legitimate, credible, and professional format designed specifically for academic experts like you.

Tags Scholarship COVID-19 Academia
Jason Collins
Writer
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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