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The loneliness of the long distance researcher

The loneliness of the long distance researcher Purpose – Prior research has highlighted the isolation felt by some researchers engaged in academic writing. This article aims to examine whether such isolation might be partially overcome by membership of an online community of writers (CoW), hosted by higher education (HE) library services. Design/methodology/approach – A review of the literature was followed by an innovative piece of action research based around the authors' own long distance collaborative writing task in order to explore the issues at first‐hand. Case studies of existing online writing communities known to the authors but not currently hosted by libraries were also undertaken. Findings – Themes emerging include the importance of finding a medium for a CoW that is familiar and comfortable. Motivators to join a CoW include demands that academics be research active. Demotivators may include lack of trust and reluctance to share. Research limitations/implications – There are still questions to be answered and decisions to be taken about the initiation of a CoW. Further research is needed into topics such as mentoring roles and trust‐building but this work should provide a springboard. Practical implications – HE libraries might consider a CoW as a research support mechanism. Originality/value – The concept of a CoW is a novel one, as is the idea that such a collaboration might be hosted by HE libraries that might consider a CoW as an innovative addition to their existing portfolio of research support services. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Library Hi Tech Emerald Publishing

The loneliness of the long distance researcher

Library Hi Tech , Volume 29 (3): 15 – Sep 6, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0737-8831
DOI
10.1108/07378831111174422
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Prior research has highlighted the isolation felt by some researchers engaged in academic writing. This article aims to examine whether such isolation might be partially overcome by membership of an online community of writers (CoW), hosted by higher education (HE) library services. Design/methodology/approach – A review of the literature was followed by an innovative piece of action research based around the authors' own long distance collaborative writing task in order to explore the issues at first‐hand. Case studies of existing online writing communities known to the authors but not currently hosted by libraries were also undertaken. Findings – Themes emerging include the importance of finding a medium for a CoW that is familiar and comfortable. Motivators to join a CoW include demands that academics be research active. Demotivators may include lack of trust and reluctance to share. Research limitations/implications – There are still questions to be answered and decisions to be taken about the initiation of a CoW. Further research is needed into topics such as mentoring roles and trust‐building but this work should provide a springboard. Practical implications – HE libraries might consider a CoW as a research support mechanism. Originality/value – The concept of a CoW is a novel one, as is the idea that such a collaboration might be hosted by HE libraries that might consider a CoW as an innovative addition to their existing portfolio of research support services.

Journal

Library Hi TechEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 6, 2011

Keywords: Communities; Communication technologies; Libraries; Virtual organizations; Higher education; Networks

References