Gatecrashing the Research Paradigm: Effective Integration of Online Technologies in Maximising Research Impact and Engagement in Legal Education
(2013) 6(1/2) Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association 83.
14 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2014 Last revised: 14 Jan 2014
Date Written: December 27, 2013
Legal academics are not only teachers but also creators of knowledge. The role of an academic includes a responsibility to share this knowledge through engagement not just of their students,but also of the wider community. In addition, there is increasing emphasis on legal academics having to account for the so-called ‘impact’ of research. In selecting both the topic of their research and the mode of publication of their knowledge, legal academics act as gatekeepers. There is an increasing critique of the existing paradigm of research publication and its emphasis on the metrics of impact. This critique recognises the limitations of the commercial publication paradigm in the present context of open access and the vast array of citizen-mediated platforms for dissemination of legal knowledge and innovation. Susskind (Tomorrow’s Lawyers 2013) for example identifies expert crowd-sourced legal information as breaking down barriers to access to justice. Tracking their experience with publication of a paper on social media in legal education from the ALTA conference in 2012, the authors share an auto-ethnographic account of their insights into the potential for both impact and engagement of a diverse audience in their research. This highlights the ways in which various media can be used strategically to redefine the role of the gatekeeper.
Keywords: legal education, social media, research, impact, engagement, metrics, altmetrics
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