The Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute invites you to participate in SCI 2022, its seventh year in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region. This year’s theme will be Reckoning, Care, and Repair, and the program will take place from October 9 to 13, in Durham, North Carolina, USA. Sadly, we had to cancel SCI 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic, but we are hoping to be able to resume this October – see below and our pandemic FAQ page for information about COVID safety protocols and contingency planning.
TriangleSCI is not your typical academic conference – it’s four days of concentrated but relaxed time with a diverse cohort of individuals who have come to start new projects they have proposed, in teams they have built and with advice and contributions from participants on other teams and a set of interlocutors and experts who work across teams.
You set the agenda, and you define the deliverables – TriangleSCI provides the scaffolding for your team to develop its project. If your team’s proposal is selected, SCI will cover all the costs for team members to participate, including travel, meals, and accommodations, including for international participants. For more information about how TriangleSCI works, see the FAQ and links from previous years of SCI.
Probably the best way to get a sense of what it’s like is through the words of participants from past years, for example: “One of the best scholarly experiences I’ve had.”; “an amazing incubator of ideas, innovation and collaboration. Grateful to be a part of this incredible experience!”; “participating in #TriangleSCI was a highlight of my 2019“; “I can’t recommend this opportunity strongly enough. Run, don’t walk!“; “It was a privilege to participate to this fantastic gathering last year… It’s a unique opportunity for international teams to get together & work on a project.“; “My 2016 @TriangleSCI experience gave me the space and time to collaborate deeply with new colleagues & incubate a project … that has become foundational to all my work. What a gift.“. Learn more about TriangleSCI from the perspective of participants, for example from this podcast (with transcript) and other highlights from SCI 2019 and previous years.
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.
Please see the theme page for more information, including some ideas of who you might bring together to form a team, and questions you might address – we’re looking for a broad and diverse set of perspectives, and teams that will address both specific and general problems and opportunities. This is a great opportunity to launch a new project, have some concentrated time to further develop an existing project with a broader set of collaborators, or just to begin to explore and experiment with ideas that are difficult to pursue in your usual work context. Remember that if your proposal is selected, your expenses to participate will be covered by SCI, so this is a great opportunity for potential participants who might normally find traveling to such a program cost-prohibitive.
Between 2014 and 2019 TriangleSCI was held at the Rizzo Center, a conference center affiliated with UNC-Chapel Hill, that featured a retreat-like atmosphere. For 2022 we’ll be moving to the center of Durham, where, in keeping with this year’s theme, we expect TriangleSCI programming to be more integrated into the community. The main venue will be The Rickhouse, a historic tobacco building in Durham’s Central Park neighborhood that was recently renovated to an event space, with a large deck overlooking the historic Durham Athletic Park (setting for the film Bull Durham). SCI 2022 participants will have lodging at The Durham Hotel, in a renovated mid-century modern bank building on Durham’s central square, a short walk from the Rickhouse. Meals will be in nearby restaurants such as the Durham Food Hall or catered in to the meeting venue. More details will be posted on our Venue and Logistics page as they become available.
To participate, form a team of 4 to 6 people, and submit a proposal along the lines of what’s described in the Request for Proposals (RFP). Proposals are due by the end of the day on May 2, 2022.
The pandemic is still with us, and as of this writing in January 2022 it’s difficult to predict what conditions will be like in October. Our aim is to plan for being able to gather in person as we have in past institutes, even if it must be done with masks and mostly in outside spaces. The program will require participants to follow pandemic safety policies that are in place at the time of your arrival in Durham. We will be following pandemic safety best practices required by local authorities (i.e., wearing masks in all indoor spaces) and by the host institution, Duke University (i.e., proof of COVID vaccination and/or negative COVID test required to participate in in-person activities) and may put in place other practices or requirements in order to keep all participants safe. We will continue to monitor conditions, and make a decision around the time teams are being invited (in June/July) about whether and how the program will proceed in October, and what pandemic safety practices will be required at that time. If invited participants are unable to travel to Durham, or if we can’t safely gather in person, we will plan for online participation, or perhaps postpone until conditions allow an in-person program.
If you have questions that aren’t already answered in the FAQ, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be glad to help. You might also find some people you know in TriangleSCI cohorts from past years, and you can ask them about their experience and get tips from them about what made their proposal and project successful.
[ Matchstick illustration by Tangerine Newt used under Unsplash license / Eggshell illustration by Stoica Ionela used under Unsplash license. / Durham Central Park photo by Paolo Mangiafico used under CC-BY license. ]