Forking is the future

January 28, 2012

Almost sounds like a Zen koan, but it’s actually the rather Zen process of building knowledge by iterating on the knowledge of others. I happen to think it’s the future of scholarship, too, and our way out of the morass of peer-review of all kinds.

Here’s my favorite recent piece on it, a post by Rachael Hodder, a master’s student at Michigan State, working with their awesome CHI initiative (Cultural Heritage Informatics): link. Pull-quotation:

Greenberg’s metaphor describes a scholarly culture that embraces collaboration, innovation, and remix. This is an upheaval of the current paradigm of academic work where single-authored scholarship is most valuable, “definitive” works rule, and ideas are personal property. By changing the scholarly workflow as Greenberg proposes, academia can become an even more fertile ground for cutting edge, revolutionary work.



  1. Hi Roger and Anke,
    I’m very happy to see you found my post – thank you for the hat tip! I would love for your mention of my work to be attributed to me in search results, but my name is missing a letter in the post – it should be Rachael. I’m very excited to see that others are inspired by the idea of forking scholarship. It most definitely seems like a viable new way to work, but I worry that there are no clear answers for implementation or action – have you seen anything talking about it from that perspective? I’m very curious.

    • I’m so sorry, Rachael! I’ve corrected. I think the idea is nascent, which makes it all the more exciting, of course. I’m going to be paying very close attention, and will post here if I see anything!

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