Mashups and Matters of Concern: Generative Approaches to Digital Collections

Author: Mitchell Whitelaw

Abstract: This article discusses two practical experiments in remaking collections. Drifter (2016) and Succession (2014) build on the affordances of machine-readable collections and APIs to harvest large datasets from diverse sources, and show how these sources can be re-deployed to address complex spatiotemporal sites. These projects demonstrate the potential of a mashup-like generative approach based on sampling and recombination. Such approaches generate an expansive range of unforeseeable outcomes, while retaining a highly authored character. Here these projects are analysed through three key constituents: the troublesome trace of data; their extraction of digital samples; and their generative recomposition of samples into emergent outcomes. These techniques remake collections in a way that addresses the intrinsically complex, entangled and heterogeneous nature of what Latour terms ‘matters of concern’.

Citation: Whitelaw, M. (2018). Mashups and Matters of Concern: Generative Approaches to Digital Collections . Open Library of Humanities, 4(1), 26. DOI:


Source: Mashups and Matters of Concern: Generative Approaches to Digital Collections

Ethnographic approaches to the practices of scholarly communication: Tackling the mess of academia

Author: Donna M Lanclos

Abstract: In my anthropological research in academic libraries, and in higher education generally, I have encountered a contrast between the ways that institutions approach the information systems they build and buy, and how people use those systems. Confronting the ‘mess’ of people’s everyday practice is a necessary first step towards more effectively connecting people to the resources they want and need. Here I discuss some of the ways to visualize and embrace the actual practices of people, in physical and digital contexts. Based on a breakout session presented at the 39th UKSG Annual Conference, Bournemouth, April 2016

Citation: Lanclos, D. M. (2016). Ethnographic approaches to the practices of scholarly communication: Tackling the mess of academia. Insights, 29(3), 239–248. DOI:


 Source: UKSG Insights

Women Working In the Open

Author: April Hathcock

Abstract: In this blog post, April Hathcock discusses diversity, inclusion, and representation in scholarly communication. The post discusses the work left to be done in terms of dismantling sexist and racist under-representation within the profession, but also proffers a collaborative list of women working “in the open.”

Citation: Hathcock, A. (2017, June 20). Women working in the open. In the Open. Retrieved from

A longitudinal study of independent scholar-published open access journals

Author: Bo-Christer Björk, Cenyu Shen, & Mikael Laakso

Abstract: Open Access (OA) is nowadays increasingly being used as a business model for the publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals, both by specialized OA publishing companies and major, predominantly subscription-based publishers. However, in the early days of the web OA journals were mainly founded by independent academics, who were dissatisfied with the predominant print and subscription paradigm and wanted to test the opportunities offered by the new medium. There is still an on-going debate about how OA journals should be operated, and the volunteer model used by many such ‘indie’ journals has been proposed as a viable alternative to the model adopted by big professional publishers where publishing activities are funded by authors paying expensive article processing charges (APCs). Our longitudinal quantitative study of 250 ‘indie’ OA journals founded prior to 2002, showed that 51% of these journals were still in operation in 2014 and that the median number of articles published per year had risen from 11 to 18 among the survivors. Of these surviving journals, only 8% had started collecting APCs. A more detailed qualitative case study of five such journals provided insights into how such journals have tried to ensure the continuity and longevity of operations.

Citation: Björk, B.-C., Shen, C., & Laakso, M. (2016). A longitudinal study of independent scholar-published open access journals. PeerJ, 4, e1990.

A manifesto for reproducible science

Author: Marcus R. Munafò, Brian A. Nosek, Dorothy V. M. Bishop, Katherine S. Button, Christopher D. Chambers, Nathalie Percie du Sert, Uri Simonsohn, Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, Jennifer J. Ware & John P. A. Ioannidis

Abstract: Improving the reliability and efficiency of scientific research will increase the credibility of the published scientific literature and accelerate discovery. Here we argue for the adoption of measures to optimize key elements of the scientific process: methods, reporting and dissemination, reproducibility, evaluation and incentives. There is some evidence from both simulations and empirical studies supporting the likely effectiveness of these measures, but their broad adoption by researchers, institutions, funders and journals will require iterative evaluation and improvement. We discuss the goals of these measures, and how they can be implemented, in the hope that this will facilitate action toward improving the transparency, reproducibility and efficiency of scientific research.

Citation: Munafò, M. R., Nosek, B. A., Bishop, D. V. M., Button, K. S., Chambers, C. D., Percie du Sert, N., Simonsohn, U., Wagenmakers, E.-J., Ware, J. J., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2017). A manifesto for reproducible science. Nature Human Behaviour 1.