Consensus guidelines for digital scholarship in academic promotion
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INTRODUCTION: As scholarship moves into the digital sphere, applicant and promotion and tenure (P&T) committee members lack formal guidance on evaluating the impact of digital scholarly work. The P&T process requires the appraisal of individual scholarly impact in comparison to scholars across institutions and disciplines. As dissemination methods evolve in the digital era, we must adapt traditional P&T processes to include emerging forms of digital scholarship. METHODS: We conducted a blended, expert consensus procedure using a nominal group process to create a consensus document at the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors Academic Assembly on April 1, 2019. RESULTS: We discussed consensus guidelines for evaluation and promotion of digital scholarship with the intent to develop specific, evidence-supported recommendations to P&T committees and applicants. These recommendations included the following: demonstrate scholarship criteria; provide external evidence of impact; and include digital peer-review roles. As traditional scholarship continues to evolve within the digital realm, academic medicine should adapt how that scholarship is evaluated. P&T committees in academic medicine are at the epicenter for supporting this changing paradigm in scholarship. CONCLUSION: P&T committees can critically appraise the quality and impact of digital scholarship using specific, validated tools. Applicants for appointment and promotion should highlight and prepare their digital scholarship to specifically address quality, impact, breadth, and relevance. It is our goal to provide specific, timely guidance for both stakeholders to recognize the value of digital scholarship in advancing our field.
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