Wired Campus: Bringing Tenure Into the Digital Age
New tools for analyzing information are arriving every day, but that doesn’t mean scholars who use them well are being rewarded, says Christine L. Borgman, a professor of information studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. She contends that the new “scholarly information infrastructure” must be shaped with collaborative, interdisciplinary research.
Q. In your recent book, “Scholarship in the Digital Age,” you contend that the tenure system needs to reward people for contributions to collaborative digital projects instead of recognizing only those who publish books and articles. Why?
A. Data is becoming a first-class object. In the days of completely paper publication, the article or book was the end of the line. And once the book was in libraries, the data were often thrown away or allowed to deteriorate.
Now we’re in a massive shift. Data become resources. They are no longer just a byproduct of research. And that changes the nature of publishing, how we think about what we do, and how we educate our graduate students. The accumulation of that data should be considered a scholarly act as well as the publication that comes out of it.