@james858499 Footnotes still allow for single-author assignment. Ditto library catalogues. But, single-author rare in some dsciplns? #mscedc

Do we over-rate single-author assignment – compared with, say, medicine and the natural sciences? Perhaps. But perhaps, as with older technologies, augmentations and collaborations already safely incorporated within single-author assignment (e.g. safely incorporated into the preface and acknowledgements!), so too, algorithms? In my own field, I don’t think I’ve ever seen either BibleWorks or Accordance make it even as far as the preface and acknowledgements. For the time being, at least, the single author seems safe.


from http://twitter.com/Digeded

4 Replies to “@james858499 Footnotes still allow for single-author assignment. Ditto library catalogues. But, single-author rare in some dsciplns? #mscedc”

  1. Good point about variances between the disciplines, Matthew. I thought you might like some graphs to go with your wikipedia link – they show single authored papers as a (declining) percentage of all papers over time; the percentage of single-authored papers within various fields (social science being highest); and a comparison of these disciplinary percentages 1981 : 2012 (all in decline).
    [Data in the graphs from Thomson Reuters Web of Science]

    I thought about this more from an angle of me as a student, and how algorithms which know my preferences (based on my browsing history and tweets I like, for example) may lead me towards particular resources – thereby gaining (material) agency within my research process. For instance, I noticed early in IDEL that everything was leading to Dave Cormier for a while, and then David White, and two weeks ago in week 7 of our mscedc, many of the blogs/papers/etc. I read ‘in the wild’ referred to Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto. Interesting that this was not in our cyberculture block.. Of course ‘I’ chose to read the blogs – but how much did the algorithms ‘help’ me to find them?


  2. Apologies: the hyperlink doesn’t show very clearly – “some graphs” leads to the graphs I was referring to.

    1. Renee, thanks for this – and for the alert to the very-well-hidden hyperlink. I wouldn’t have found it without your second comment!
      The graphs risk masking something acknowledged in the accompanying text, namely that ” the annual number of single-author, non-review papers themselves, as tracked since 1981, has remained largely consistent in the course of the three decades”. The declining percentage share reflect the increase in multi-author pieces, not so much the decline in the single-authored pieces per se. Clearly a complex picture is in view.
      Also, I’m curious that there is no category for ‘humanities’: presumably it’s incorporated within ‘social sciences’. I’d imagine, within that category, there are lots of sub-sectors, each with their own practices, circulations and markets. Different assemblages, reacting to and with digital cultures in differing ways. Great to have some data-led insight on it, and inviting of more. Many thanks!

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