Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Digital Transformations

Research Handbook on Digital Transformations

Research Handbooks in Business and Management series

Edited by F. Xavier Olleros and Majlinda Zhegu

The digital transition of our economies is now entering a phase of broad and deep societal impact. While there is one overall transition, there are many different sectoral transformations, from health and legal services to tax reports and taxi rides, as well as a rising number of transversal trends and policy issues, from widespread precarious employment and privacy concerns to market monopoly and cybercrime. They all are fertile ground for researchers, as established laws and regulations, organizational structures, business models, value networks and workflow routines are contested and displaced by newer alternatives. This Research Handbook offers a rich and interdisciplinary synthesis of some of the current thinking on the digital transformations underway.

Chapter 6: Collaboration, participation and transparency: the promise of digitizing academic research

Sascha Friesike and Benedikt Fecher

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, innovation and technology, innovation policy, knowledge management, technology and ict


Digital technologies hold great promise for scientific progress. The resulting changes in the academic research landscape have often been dubbed a ‘scientific revolution’. In theory, online tools and the ability to create instant networks around the world could speed up scientific progress immensely. In practice, however, many scientists are hesitant to grasp these possibilities. In this chapter we present three opportunities for research in a digital age. These practices are: collaboration, participation and transparency. We argue that these three build on one another, and that research communities therefore have to go through a step-by-step adoption process. We highlight our argument with examples where this is already the case and show that the adoption of the three practices allows researchers to solve increasingly complex research questions. In the second half of the chapter we explain the challenges of the adoption process and we highlight the possible downsides of a further digitized academic research landscape. We conclude by presenting ways of counteracting these problems, which will enable academia to make the most of the digital possibilities. We also identify the stakeholders who can move the academic system forward and explain how they can help academia to seize the opportunities of digitized research.

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