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The limitations of traditional academic knowledge exchange systems such as conferences and peer-reviewed journals result in discipline-based scholarship that is feudal in nature and can only dissipate as cross-disciplinary research expands. The next evolutionary step is democratic online knowledge exchange, run by the academic many rather than the publishing-oligarchic few. Using sociotechnical tools it is possible to implement an academic publishing business model that maximizes the power of “extelligence”, or knowledge realized through the collective gifting of information. Such a model would change the roles of journal editors and peer reviewers from knowledge gatekeepers to knowledge guides, and change the competitive yet conforming behaviors of academic researchers seeking publication to behaviors that reward collaborative activity that engages research communities in the act of knowledge exchange. We argue that socio-technical systems, social systems sitting on a technical base such as the Internet, can provide effective ways to motivate people to increase knowledge that research communities can share. By employing a hybrid of wiki, e-journal, electronic repository, micro-commenting and reputation systems for readers and writers, along with other socio-technical functions common to social computing such as social book-marking and reader recommendation, we can move from our traditional print publishing model in which prestige is established through publication in slowly produced, expensive and virtually unread journals to a vibrant, online knowledge exchange community built upon the foundations of legitimacy, transparency and freedom.

Published Citation

Friedman, Robert, Brian Whitworth, and Michael Brownstein. "Realizing the power of extelligence: a new business model for academic publishing." International Journal of Technology, Knowledge & Society 6.2 (2010): 105-17.