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Reckoning, Care, and Repair

The past few years have challenged us all, broken things we took for granted, and forced us to regroup and rebuild in a hurry. The pandemic and growing political and cultural tensions further exacerbated and made more visible problems and injustices that had been present for a long time. They have further exposed structural racism and economic and social inequality as more prevalent and insidious than many realized, or wanted to admit.

At the same time, we’ve become more acutely aware of the people who we rely on to make everything work — many who suddenly found themselves in the “essential workers” category, keeping infrastructure and systems going for others while struggling to ensure they and the people they cared for were safe.

Scholarly communication also relies on infrastructure — the technological kind and the organizational kind, and the human kind too. We tend to focus on the first two, often without enough attention to the last one. How can we move forward with a more deliberate focus on an ethic of care, recognizing the people who build and support and make up the infrastructure and organizations? How do we ensure that hidden labor doesn’t remain hidden, but instead is appropriately recognized and rewarded? How can we ensure more equitable access for global participants in a scholarly communications ecosystem that currently privileges wealthier countries and institutions? We’re past due for a reckoning.

SCI 2022 provides a platform where you can call attention to the fragile scholarly communication systems that need to be better understood, addressed, and maybe broken further before we’re ready to rebuild. We hope that your projects will focus on how we repair while we rebuild, and how we give attention and care to those people and organizations who are integral to this scholarly system and who were previously overlooked, or cast aside, or taken advantage of. We hope you will bring your own perspective and address the 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.

TriangleSCI returns in October 2022 after a two year hiatus, providing space and time for you to develop a project and explore these kinds of questions with a team of your choosing, and a network of diverse interlocutors. SCI will cover travel, lodging, and food expenses for you to spend a week together in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. We are in a new venue this year, and are still unsure of what pandemic safety measures will be in place in October 2022, so this year’s program will be a bit of an experiment, and we hope you will be ready to experiment and learn with us.

SCI is an opportunity to spend five days in an inclusive setting 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 and communities are often overlooked in discussions about scholarly communication and the people and infrastructures and processes that support it. These voices and perspectives are needed more than ever, and we hope SCI can provide a platform to help bring them to the center of conversations about scholarly communication.

If you’re interested in participating, please review the SCI 2022 Request for Proposals and submit your proposal following the instructions thereproposals are due by May 2, 2022.

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 Tangerine Newt used under Unsplash License]