The project focuses on the transformation that “being digital” entails for research practices and scholarship in general. Digital technologies have not only expanded the possibilities of dissemination, allowing for a greater impact of research on society and decision-making. They have revolutionized academic work, making “new things” possible and offering the possibility of doing “old things” in new ways. In turn, the digital traces of academic work represent a tremendous source of data that can be analyzed with methods that are “born digital” – i.e. based on digital technologies.
The research project associated to this blog have two main aims. On the one side, the project aims at understanding how digital technologies are changing the academic profession. In order to do so, we will investigate both the actual transformation of research practices and the researchers’ perceptions associated with the use of digital media in their work. On the other side, the project aims at exploring the contributions of digital methods in the analysis of scale and trajectory of such changes. The potential of digital methods will be explored both in methodological and heuristic terms – i.e., in relation to the potential that these methods have in suggesting new perspectives for the study of academic practices.
The research entails the combination of four different qualitative methodologies involving a group of scholars. The strategy adopted for involving the subjects of the research is organizing a high-profile training activity, conducted by an expert trainer and scholar in the field of digital scholarship. This training activity will therefore enhance participant’s skills and, at the same time, will create the practical conditions for this set of research activities. These set of activities are complemented by a parallel research activity concerning digital methods, consisting in a series of research workshops that will strengthen the skills of the member of the research team with respect to digital methods, thanks to the support of a leading scholar of the field.