The information cycle – creation, dissemination, validation, sharing, re-creation – has been altered. It is more open, more participatory, and less under the control of distributors (such as journals, newspapers, and mainstream media). Higher education has been slow to understand this shift. We are, after all, the experts. Others will turn to us when they need answer. Or not. The big lesson of wikipedia is that people desire access to reasonable quality of information (even when it is likely to contain errors and has not been vetted by experts) as much as they desire expert-vetted information. Ken Coates recognizes this shift (though I disagree with his call for controlling scholarly input – my view: publish it all. Instead of assigning intelligence in advance of publishing, assign intelligence at the point of search and discovery. The solution will be found in better tools.):
We have collectively created the equivalent of an academic monsoon over the past three decades, with no change in the forecast for the coming years. Without a major reconsideration of how we share and use information, how we keep up with the field, and how we recognize academic accomplishment, we will continue to add to the floodwaters, all the while spending less attention on whether or not anyone reads our work, listens to our presentations, or appreciates our professional contributions.
And, somewhat related, a presentation on promoting your academic research online through blogging. Had to chuckle at this comment: “I started up a blog and all I got was five invites to give keynotes, ten new collaborators, introduction to new funding bodies, an interview in Nature, an invite to scifoo, three papers…and a couple of t-shirts.”