The workflow names what is done in the conduct of research reflecting its individual, institutional, social, and technological conditions. It displays the conventions that produce knowledge across the disciplines, and the innovations that enhance and challenge scholarly and scientific routines. The workflow registers the impact on academic work of libraries and publishing, and their increasingly digital operations. Attention to the workflow shows how the elements of research can be understood and improved, productivity strengthened, and satisfaction in scholarly and scientific careers sustained.
As this Briefing explains, the workflow features planning and structure, and a recognizable sequence of activities. But so too is there room for imagination, improvisation, and serendipity. Science and scholarship are human activities and the workflow in all disciplines reflects both convention and innovation as scholars discover the extent and meanings of their professional interactions with technology. In the digital age the workflow is in a new stage of representing what scholars do to advance knowledge and their careers, at the same time it displays the durability of traditional research practices.
Steven Weiland is Professor of Higher Education at Michigan State University.