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Request for Proposals for participation in the 2023 Institute

The Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute, funded by the Mellon Foundation, invites proposals from groups interested in participating in a unique collaborative program, to be held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, from October 8 to 12, 2023. Due date for proposals is April 27 – see below for more details.

Triangle 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.

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 the Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute by visiting the websites for previous year programs, blog posts found on the home page, and the Frequently Asked Questions.

The theme for SCI 2023 is Trust, and this year’s program will be held from October 8 to 12, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Applicants should propose a team of 4 to 6 individuals who together bring a diverse range of perspectives to a particular project aligned with this year’s theme. Each year the SCI will invite five teams which, over the course of the Institute, 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 teams, in a mix of structured and informal settings. SCI will in effect host a set of concurrent and cross-pollinating seminars, planning workshops, or development sprints on related themes.

SCI is neither a venue for showcasing past successes, nor 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, 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, and discovery of common ground, all without fear of failure or the burden of having to produce immediate, concrete, sustainable deliverables.

Participants who are invited and funded to attend are expected to be present and engage in all five days of the program. For more information about how the program works, see this page about what happens during the institute, and other frequently asked questions. There is no formal “reporting,” but teams are expected to share publicly, during the course of the program and afterwards, notes, observations, and analysis from their experience at SCI. These communications could be through a blog, academic paper, conference presentation, social media, video, podcast, or otherwise. Teams are encouraged to be creative.

If your proposal is selected to attend, SCI will pay for travel, accommodation, and meal expenses for all team members for the duration of the program, which will be held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. This also applies for international participants – SCI encourages teams to include participants from different countries, cultures, and organizational contexts, to help provide more diversity of perspectives – and SCI can also cover the costs for international participants to attend.

The pandemic is still with us, and as of this writing in February 2023 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 partly in outside spaces. The 2022 program was held under these conditions, and was by all accounts successful, with no one getting sick during their time at the program. The program will require participants to follow pandemic safety policies that are in place at the time of your arrival in North Carolina. We will be following pandemic safety best practices required by local authorities (i.e., wearing masks in indoor spaces) and by the host institutions, UNC-CH and Duke University, (i.e., proof of COVID vaccination and/or negative COVID test may be 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 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, get sick while they’re here, or if we can’t safely gather in person, we will have options for online participation, though the program is intended to be primarily in person.


Send a document (PDF or Word) by email to by the end of the day on 27 April 2023, that includes the following:

  • Description (no more than 1000 words) of the topic your team wishes to explore, its relationship to the SCI 2023 theme, the challenges to be addressed, and the virtue of bringing together this particular team of individuals. We especially welcome diverse groups, that contain varied perspectives, backgrounds, and expertise, including people from outside the United States. Given this year’s theme, we encourage teams with participants from organizations and backgrounds that have been especially affected by structural injustices, trust that’s been broken or never built, and whose perspectives are especially important to planning for how to build more trust and and equity for those communities in the future.
  • List the names and contact information for each of the participants in your group (4–6 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 Institute.
  • Brief discussion (no more than 500 words) of how you might share the results of your participation in the Institute, and what follow-up activities or benefits might result from your participation. Please also indicate your plans to begin working with your team before arriving at the institute, if your project is invited to participate. In past years, teams that began to coordinate and plan their work over the summer (even if just remotely over e-mail and Zoom) were able to get started more quickly and make more meaningful progress once they arrived at the Institute in the fall, so we encourage all teams to plan for this.

For examples of successful proposals from past years, see the Teams and participants category in the TriangleSCI blog, which features information about each of the teams and projects from past years, usually slightly revised or verbatim from their proposals. You can also see highlights and outputs from past year teams on these pages about previous year institutes. Please also review the answers to Frequently Asked Questions before submitting your proposal.

If you would like advice about SCI from participants from past years, please email and we can put you in touch with TriangleSCI alumni who have volunteered to be available to communicate with applicants. They can tell you more about what the experience was like for them, which may help you craft a stronger proposal.

Zoom information sessions will be held at the dates/times shown below. If you’re thinking about submitting a proposal, these are an opportunity for you to learn more about the program and ask questions as you put together your team and prepare your proposal. We look forward to seeing you then!

These two sessions will have the same information/format – they’re being offered at different days/times to accommodate multiple time zones. If neither one of these can work for you, or you just missed them, email us with info about the time zone you’re in and we’ll try to schedule one that can work better where you are, or can send you a recording.

Reminder: the deadline for receipt of proposals is the end of the day on April 27. Proposal review will begin the following work day.

Selection and notification process

An advisory board 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), and other partner organizations, will review and select proposals. Proposed teams 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 aspects 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, social science, journalism, secondary education, or other backgrounds, and we hope they will. But the primary thrust of the program is humanistic.

TriangleSCI is especially keen to receive proposals from teams that are not already established and whose participation in the Institute may help to jump-start something new. We encourage you to bring together people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to work together, and to use TriangleSCI as an occasion to cross-pollinate between different cultures, disciplines, organizations, expertise, and perspectives. Teams that are made up exclusively of participants who are already working together, or who are all from the same institution or geographic region and could easily work together without attending TriangleSCI, typically are not looked on as favorably by reviewers.

Applicants will be notified by late June whether their proposal has been selected, and invited teams will need to confirm by early July their acceptance of the invitation and their intention to attend the program in October.

Please see the FAQ on for further information.

If you have any questions, please contact

[ Photo by Joanna Kosinska used under Unsplash license. ]