This page describes some current projects and contains a thematically organized list of selected publications with short narratives for background information.

See my Curriculum Vitae (CV) for more details.

Current Projects

Project 1: A study of tacit knowledge and open science. My thesis is that tacit knowing, Michael Polanyi's idea that we can know more than we can tell, challenges the idea that an open science can be fully open. If true, this has ramifications for what we can learn from science done more openly and for what can be replicated based on a more open science. See What documents cannot do: Revisiting Polanyi and the tacit knowledge dilemma, which describes this thesis in more detail.

Project 2: A study on ungrading. Ungrading is the idea that we can place less emphasis on grades by placing more emphasis on other forms of feedback. I practice ungrading in different ways, which is determined whether the course is a graduate or undergraduate course, and whether the course is discussion or project based. Two colleagues of mine are investigating two of my courses, both graduate, but one discussion based and the other project based. This is an ongoing research project.

The first paper for this project was just accepted (Jan. 2024) by the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science and will be published soon. Further research is ongoing.

Project 3: A citation analysis of journal articles with specific title characteristics. More details later.

Project 4: A study on open educational resources (OER). More details later.

Plain Text Social Science

I enjoy a Plain Text Way To Do Plain Text Social Science. I used the plain text research approach to write a paper for an upcoming conference. It was fun to write, even though the paper was rejected (2022-05-24). I describe the process on The Text. See the output: Ungrade to Learn.

Research Themes

Bias in Peer Review

Charles Fox, an ecologist and entomologist at the University of Kentucky, and I met because I gave a talk at UK Libraries for Open Access week in the Fall 2013 semester. In our first meeting, when he gave me a tour of his lab, we both learned that we were interested in bias in the peer review process, and that led to a series of studies published from 2015 to 2017. As we prepared the data analysis for the bias studies, we conducted the study on article titles, listed below. Working with Dr. Fox was a great learning experience, so much so that I think of it as a kind of postdoc. But it was great to learn how someone in the life sciences thinks about problems.

Health Information Retrieval

I was among the first people, I believe, to publish an empirical study on megajournals (see next section), and in the process of conducting a follow up study, I noticed odd search result discrepancies in various bibliographic databases. The searches were all related to medical journals, and that led me to ask some people who research health information about what was happening in these systems. Our discussions led to some conference presentations and to a couple of published papers on the problems we had discussed.


I published one paper on megajournals, and I meant to conduct more studies, but the discrepancies I mentioned above led to the health information retrieval project and away from this project. Some other people have taken off with this research, which is great, but I still have some questions, and I hope to return to this someday.

The Publications article below is a think piece about some of the problems I see with the ongoing migration from print-based publishing to digital-based publishing. The article argues that journals that continue to publish articles in issues cause gatekeeping problems and make information retrieval less effective. I propose a solution to re-think and re-design journals as digital libraries.

Reference Librarianship and Qualitative Methodology

The communication overload paper below began in my qualitative methodology course, taught by education psychology professor Alejandro Morales, when I was a PhD student. I recruited Jenny Bossaller because her research expertise included reference librarianship and qualitative inquiry. Both Morales and Bossaller later served on my dissertation committee. When I started this study, I learned that Amy VanScoy was doing similar research. VanScoy later reviewed and commented on the draft we had written and before it was submitted to the Journal of Documentation. So it became natural to want to work with her on the two follow up studies that we did.

The three of us are interested in open science topics, but the open science discussion largely centers around quantitative research. Hence our goal with the secondary analysis papers was to show that open science applies to qualitative studies, too.

Fake News (really, documentation)

I'm super interested in document theory. The motivation for this study rested on the idea that how a document is presented, how it is read, and how it is sourced can influence the credibility of its content. The results reported in the First Monday paper were unexpected and, as is usual, led to more questions. For me, these questions center around whether information literacy is as big an issue as generally presented.

Tacit Knowledge and Open Science

I taught a knowledge management course at UK for a good number of years now, and that has given me a lot of time to think deeply about tacit knowledge. Because of my interests in open science, it was inevitable, I believe, that I would connect the two concepts. The paper below started with a series of lectures I gave in this course, but I have also given a couple of talks now on open science and tacit knowledge. This is also the topic of a book in progress. So far, though, I have this:

History of Automation

One of my professors, Thomas Kochtanek, in graduate school would often talk about Ralph Parker, a former director of the library at the University of Missouri (MU) and a founder of the library science school there. Parker was the first person to automate part of a library's workflow using punched cards, but little was known about him. I took advantage of the archives at MU to read through his papers and reports as director of the library there. It was a great blast to spend a lot of time in the archives, and I hope to do that again someday. Anyway, the time there resulted in this short history of Parker's contribution to library automation and to OCLC.

Electronic Resources & Systems Librarianship

This paper came out of a discussion I had with my dissertation committee. Interestingly, it is currently my most cited work, and it still gets citations. Because of the continued interest in this topic, I would like to follow up on it. There's still a lot to learn about institutional repositories at libraries and their role in the scholarly publishing ecosystem, which was a big part of my dissertation.