Request for Proposals for participation in the 2016 Institute

The Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, invites proposals from groups interested in participating in a series of seminars, discussions, presentations, and workshops, to be held over four days in Chapel Hill, NC, in October 2016.

The SCI aims to bring together groups of scholars, information scientists, librarians, publishers, technologists, and others from both inside and outside academia (i.e., journalists, industry, non-profit organizations, museums, independent researchers, artists) to articulate and begin to address needs and opportunities in the domain of scholarly communications.

The SCI is not a traditional conference, but rather a forum for teams of individuals from diverse backgrounds to devote concentrated time to defining shared challenges, exploring creative strategies, and forging new collaborations, in a spirit of bold and open experimentation, and focused on one or more of a set of annually changing themes.

You can learn more about previous years of the Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute by visiting the websites for SCI 2014 and SCI 2015, and in particular the Storify threads that highlight photos and tweets: Storify SCI 2014 and Storify SCI 2015.

The theme for SCI 2016 is Incentives, Economics, and Values: Changing the Political Economy of Scholarly Publishing, and the 2016 Institute will be held from October 9 to 13, at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

kyle-bean-digitaleducation-2Applicants will propose a Working Group of 3 to 8 individuals who together bring a diverse range of perspectives to a particular theme. Each year the SCI will invite 4 to 6 Working Groups which, over the course of four days, will help shape the agenda, creating space for both discussing and doing, in large groups and small, and for fruitful dialogue both within and across Working Groups, in a mix of structured and informal settings. The SCI will in effect host a set of concurrent and cross-pollinating seminars or development sprints on related themes.

The SCI is neither a venue for showcasing past successes, or implementing projects that are already on the drawing board; nor is it an occasion for invitees to speak to an agenda predetermined by a conference organizer. Rather, the SCI will offer the time, freedom, and diversity of participants to foster intellectual risk taking, collaborative and creative speculation, bridging of institutional divides, germination of actionable ideas, cultivation of new networks, discovery of common ground, all without fear of failure or the burden of having to produce immediate, concrete, sustainable deliverables.

Participants are expected to attend and engage in all four days of the workshop. There is no formal “reporting,” but Working Groups are expected to share publicly, during the course of the workshop and/or afterwards, notes, observations, and analysis from the workshop. These communications could be through a blog, academic paper, conference presentation, social media, video, or otherwise. Working Groups are encouraged to be creative.

The SCI will pay for travel, accommodation, and meal expenses for the duration of the program, which will be held in Chapel Hill, NC.


Send a document to by the end of the day on 14 March 2016 that includes the following:

  • Description (no more than 1000 words) of the topic your Working Group wishes to explore, its relationship to the theme, the challenges to be addressed, and the virtue of bringing together this particular team of individuals.
  • List the names and contact information for each of the participants in your group (3–8 people), including a brief description of their current role, background, expertise, interests, and what they can contribute both to your particular topic and to broader discussions at the workshop.
  • Brief discussion (no more than 500 words) of how you might share the results of your participation in the workshop, and what follow-up activities or benefits might result from your participation.

Reminder: the deadline for receipt of proposals is the end of the day on 14 March 2016.

Selection and notification process

An advisory panel made up of faculty, librarians, university press editors, and others from Duke University, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University, the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN), the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Humanities Center will review and select proposals. Proposed Working Groups that address a clearly defined set of questions and challenges, and that include a diverse range of perspectives and expertise are especially encouraged.

Proposals are expected to cross disciplinary and/or structural boundaries, engage multiple themes or challenges related to the transformation of the scholarly communications ecosystem, and include a diverse roster of participants. In broad terms, working groups are expected to have a humanistic orientation. They absolutely may feature participants from scientific, technological, or other backgrounds, and we hope they will. But the primary thrust of the program is humanistic.

The SCI is especially keen to receive proposals from Working Groups that are not already established and whose participation in the Institute may help to jump-start something new.

Organizers of successful proposals will be notified by 25 April 2016 and will need to commit to attending by 15 May.

Please see the FAQ on for further information.

If you have any questions, please contact

[ Image by Kyle Bean, copyright Kyle Bean. ]