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Digital scholarship is the use of digital evidence, methods of inquiry, research, publication and preservation to achieve scholarly and research goals. Digital scholarship can encompass both scholarly communication using digital media and research on digital media. An important aspect of digital scholarship is the effort to establish digital media and social media as credible, professional and legitimate means of research and communication. Digital scholarship has a close association with digital humanities, though the relationship between these terms is unclear.
Digital scholarship may also include born-digital means of scholarly communication that are more traditional, like online journals and databases, e-mail correspondence and the digital or digitized collections of research and academic libraries. Since digital scholarship is concerned with the production and distribution of digital media, discussions about copyright, fair use and digital rights management (DRM) frequently accompany academic analysis of the topic. Combined with open access, digital scholarship is offered as a more affordable and open model for scholarly communication.
According to scholars, discovery, integration, application, and teaching are the four main aspects of scholarship. The growth of digital media means that the main areas of scholarship can each benefit from expansions in their own way thanks to the infinite sharability of digital content.
In education, the main areas of relevance are science, technology, engineering and math. It is said that students learn best in a classroom when they are actively engaged. The emergence of digital scholarship and digital media allows for another means for students to become engaged. Key areas of academia that digital media is used on are to illustrate concepts, model displays and reinforce 21st century skills.
Critics cite concerns about the legitimacy, accessibility and verifiability of digital scholarship and the erosion of authors' rights as reasons to be concerned about digital scholarship. As scholarly communication evolves, controversy over the definition and value of the term "digital scholarship" is likely to continue.
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