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Emerging Trends in Academic Research: The Evolution of Technology, Collaboration, and Publishing



As the world continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace, advancements in academic research must keep pace at a commensurate rate in order for the research to remain relevant, informative, and groundbreaking. 


But with so many advancements in technology, ways of working, and social trends, there are a lot of different aspects of research to try to keep up with that are changing and evolving. And it may feel like as soon as you’re on board with one trend another new trend develops. 


The Coltie app helps you to stay on top of these emerging trends by staying up to date with researchers in your field. But in the meantime, this blog provides a summary overview of some of the emerging trends in academic research to consider on your research journey.


Technological advancements

By now, you are likely very familiar with AI and the various ways that it has become part of our everyday lives. And academic research is no different. In tandem with the use of AI, big data is now a significant component shaping academic research.[1]


With the rise of machine learning and AI overall, researchers are able to process larger amounts of data that couldn’t be easily processed before in order to ascertain insights that could not previously be unlocked.[1] The increased ability to consume and analyze big data has also led to the use of more, non-traditional metrics (altmetrics), such as social media engagement, which can lead to the analysis of drivers that may not have been previously considered.[2]


The benefits of AI in research span far beyond data analysis. AI can also be used for developing hypotheses, drafting papers, and accelerating peer reviews.[2] The use of AI is also incredibly beneficial for performing repetitive tasks and checks so long as human oversight is maintained.[3]


There are, however, important considerations to be aware of in the use of AI technology. Some of these factors are ethics, bias, accuracy, and transparency.[2] For example, the use of AI may introduce bias into research because it is difficult to know how the conclusions were drawn because of the lack of transparency into how AI generates its outcomes.[4] It’s important to stay up-to-date on AI advancements to be cognizant of these considerations and the impact they have on your research. 


Another hot topic in technological advancement is virtual and augmented reality. Virtual and augmented reality have led to progress in how experiments are performed, data is visualized, and collaboration takes place among researchers. 


Interdisciplinary collaborative research

With the increased ability for researchers to collaborate, interdisciplinary research is also an emerging trend with the increasing complexity of our world and the increased ability for global communication. 


An increased ability to connect throughout the academic world means boundaries are less rigid, leading to an increased focus on collaboration across fields. This interdisciplinary collaboration creates opportunities for varying perspectives and expertise which help to solve the increasingly complex problems that our world is facing.[1] For this reason, it is more important than ever that individual researchers learn to communicate with diverse stakeholders and to work together effectively in teams.


One mode of technology that is leading to increased collaboration across fields and institutions is open access publishing.[2]


Open access publishing

Open access publishing involves making data, findings, and methods available to the general public.[1] It has increased in popularity since the pandemic.[3]


The use of open access publishing helps to accelerate research outcomes through multidisciplinary collaboration while also mitigating the potential for doubling up on efforts.[1]


Not only is open access publishing useful for collaboration purposes, but it may also help provide alternative funding routes.[2] Open access publishing allows more eyes to be on each research project which helps to attract the needed areas of expertise and resources as some of the top minds and investors then get access to the various types of research being performed.  


Along with open access publishing, micropublications have also gained popularity.[2] It’s no secret that our attention spans have become shorter with a world of information at our fingertips, videos on social media that are only seconds long, and media hitting us from all directions. 


Publication of research has started to ride this trend as well to get the warranted visibility. As you can imagine, micropublications are short, micro-content, and the consumption of these types of publications has been increasing.[3]


Furthermore, making publications more accessible has gained increased focus. Accessibility can have a host of different meanings, and you can expect this same variety in accessibility trends going forward. For example, making publications available in many different formats is an emerging trend. But focusing on the diversity of authors is another priority of accessibility.[3]


Trends in research topics

While we’ve spent most of the blog focusing on changing ways of working and publishing when it comes to our research, we’ll wrap up with some emerging trends in research topics. 


Just as there have been technological advancements in how we perform our research, technological advancements have also led to new areas of research that may be performed. Some advancements that are a current focus are gene editing and nanotechnology.[1]


During the pandemic, mental health gained a significant spotlight. As such, mental health and overall well-being have become emerging areas of academic research.[1]


Another issue that has been gaining rapid steam is climate change. To help this cause, there has been an increase in academic research regarding the environment and sustainability to help develop more sustainable solutions to combat climate change.[2]


As the world continues to evolve, the world of academic research will continue to evolve at a rapid pace as well. If you want to stay on the cutting edge of research trends and topics, download the Coltie app to easily hear from and connect with other academic researchers. 


Think of it as social media for your research passion! Post your own micro content, view others’ micro content, and connect with others for your next breakthrough!





1 “The future of research: Emerging trends and new directions in scientific inquiry”, Research LEAP, https://researchleap.com/the-future-of-research-emerging-trends-and-new-directions-in-scientific-inquiry/

2 “Top 5 Academic Publishing Trends That Will Dominate in 2024”, Apex, https://apexcovantage.com/blog/5-trends-in-scholarly-academic-publishing-for-2024/

3 “Academic Publishing Trends to Expect in 2024”, nvcleus, https://nvcleus.com/academic-publishing-trends-to-expect-in-2024/

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