Reliability and credibility in digital scholarship

So this week I was pondering on Digital Scholarship. As usual, I do like to ponder on Twitter. I often go back after a few days and then think on it again. If I am really perplexed I add in one of my favorite hashtags # and put it out my networks to see if they are interested too. Weller’s blog prompted me to start thinking about my own practices but I came a little unstuck with Julie’s response to my tweet.

Who determines whether or not you are a digital scholar? 

In my daily life, I do practice the things that Julie has listed but I am stuck on the word ‘scholar’.  I have come to realise that I have pre-conceived ideas about this word. I have a cultural bias that I inadvertently placed on this word and I am wrestling with this. I perceived that a scholar is a very learned person who is like a University lecturer or Professor and they have the qualifications and the experience to be considered reliable and credible as a scholar. I have studied and learned for many years and I use my digital PLN to publish my thoughts and connect with others but is what I have to say reliable, credible and considered knowledge that is useful and worthy of the word ‘scholar’?

My cultural bias tells me that someone is reliable and credible if they produce an article in a journal and it is peer reviewed and accepted but I guess I hadn’t equated what I have been doing online for years as scholarly in any way. I was just reading, learning and having conversations with others who were education junkies like me. I guess I have been a digital scholar without knowing it.


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I am feeling a little uncomfortable as I sit and wrestle with this and I need to dig a little deeper to discover why. The problem lies in the fact that I am going to work on a case study about something that I have a  fair knowledge and experience about in the industry I work in but is what I have to share worthy of the use of the word scholar? I am coming to think this is a very antiquated meaning of this word and I need to change my perspective to create a new space in my mind where digital scholarship can be perceived through a collaborative appreciation of the sharing of knowledge that has value and is reliable and credible.

Whilst I don’t consider myself a digital native I can see that I do possess some traits of digital scholarship and this can take on different forms and I can see that knowledge sharing furthers the discussion and depth on understanding which is of itself very scholarly.

” They do not and presumably cannot exist in analog fashion. They may be multimodal, multi-authored, and user-directed. They may change between and among readings, either through updates or algorithmic reconstitutions. ” (Thomas, 2015)

More pondering needed……


Thomas, W. (2015, February 28). What is digital scholarship? A typology [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Weller, M. (2017, December 20). The digital scholar revisited [Blog post]. Retrieved from


One thought on “Reliability and credibility in digital scholarship

  1. Kathryn, excellent ponderings. This is something we must ask Martin Weller next week when he is guest at our class colloquium. I do believe the ‘scholar’ part comes in when your peers and extended network help your shape ideas and output – similar to a peer-reviewed paper in some ways. Your networking ability helps to build knowledge – and this is scholarly practice on so many levels – and it is open. Great blog post!

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