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Equity in Scholarly Communications

Discussions around scholarly communications, at this Institute and elsewhere in North America and Europe, tend not to account for the wide range of factors that influence whether and how different communities create and access scholarship: not all stakeholders are from well-resourced institutions or nations; not all of us speak, write, read, search, and think in the same language; not all of us enjoy robust support for scholarship, or reliable access to the Internet, or modern research tools, or easy access to libraries, or means of keeping in touch with colleagues and abreast with global developments in our disciplines. Too many platforms, standards, systems, publications, projects, and discussions move forward with only some of us in view.

For the 2019 Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute, we invite proposals from teams that aim to build a more inclusive and equitable global network of scholarship. SCI is an opportunity to spend a few days with a diverse set of people to investigate challenges, develop plans, test processes, come to agreements, and launch initiatives. SCI is an ideal place to bring together perspectives and expertise that may not normally intersect, and to build understandings and new models based on them. We encourage pragmatic, proactive optimism, and hope participants will use SCI as a platform to nurture positive change.

We especially encourage teams with participants from the “global south”, historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, independent scholars, and other institutions and backgrounds whose needs and perspectives are often overlooked in discussions about scholarly communications and the infrastructures and processes that support it.

We invite teams to consider submitting proposals that address issues such as:

  • Developing processes and incentives that encourage and support deeper engagement by international scholars in a global ecosystem of scholarly publication – not just providing more access to publications from North America and Europe, but inviting scholars and readers from outside these regions to be full participants and partners.
  • Building more connections between publications and scholarly communications networks in languages other than English, and integrating them into indexing, discovery, and access systems commonly used worldwide. How can we provide more support for translation and internationalization of essential services and content?
  • Developing programs to prevent inequities of access caused by high subscription costs simply being replaced by inequities of publication caused by high publication charges.
  • Leveraging existing strengths by promoting work that is already being generated by scholarly communities and infrastructure outside the “global north”, or increasing diversity in existing in existing groups or structures.
  • Developing programs that do more to invite and encourage participation in scholarly communication and publication networks by scholars at under-resourced institutions, independent scholars, and communities whose voices are not often heard.
  • Reflect on how standards of value rely on assumptions derived from, and privileging, a subset of the scholarly community, and develop initiatives to promote more inclusive understandings and more just reward systems.
  • Exploring how to resolve legal and policy challenges that inhibit or promote transfer of knowledge from the “global south” to scholarship of the “global north”, and how law and policy might be modified to remedy inequities in this area.

These examples are meant to spark ideas of the kinds of things that you might use in your own proposal, not necessarily issues that we expect to be addressed in all proposals. We hope you will bring your own perspective and address needs of your community or communities you work with, and that you will be creative in engaging with others who have different perspectives that could complement or enrich your own.

If you’re interested in participating, please see and reply to the SCI 2019 Request for Proposals – submission deadline is April 24, 2018. More information about the Institute and what it was like in the past can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions and links to past year programs. Ongoing updates will be posted on the web site and the @TriangleSCI Twitter feed.

[ Photo by Louis Maniquet used under Unsplash free license. ]