Scrabble tiles reading "Trust"


Trust – something we often take for granted – is critical to the scholarly communication ecosystem. Trust is radically social, requiring an immense amount of individual and community courage to build. To trust is to open toward an outside, an other. Thinking about scholarly communication as an ecosystem highlights the interdependence of many different parts, and the importance of trust in making it all work.

SCI 2023 provides a platform where teams can develop projects that seek to understand the factors that lead to or detract from trust in scholarly communications, and to build mechanisms for improving trust. We invite proposals on the broad theme of “Trust,” which might include addressing concerns like these:

  • Integrity of processes
    • How do we know that peer review processes are working as intended, and that published research can be trusted to be sound? How do we know that a particular publication’s processes are what they say they are, and that the people listed as editors really have a meaningful role in vetting the research being published? What processes can be put in place to guard against misinformation, fraud, plagiarism, or other research misconduct? What incentives and structures could be put in place to foster trust?
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion, and access
    • How do or can scholarly communication strategies contribute to goals associated with diversity, equity, inclusion, and access? How does the language of a scholarly publication (e.g., written in English) influence trust? How do we ensure that work is equitably shared and credited in collaborative scholarly projects? What practices reliably build trust in scholarly research teams and foster future collaboration? What could be done to make peer-review processes more trustworthy, transparent, and equitable?
  • Data privacy and surveillance
    • How can we trust that information about author and reader interactions on publishing sites is being used appropriately? How does monetizing such user data influence trust in the scholarly communication infrastructure? How can we support open scholarship without also supporting the use of researchers’ and readers’ data in the surveillance economy?
  • Communicating value to different audiences
    • How much should readers rely on the brand of a journal or publisher or its impact factor to determine the trustworthiness of the published research? How can we build trust among the public and policymakers that published research can be relied on for important decisions? What other factors beyond download and citation metrics could be used to help convey the reliability of research?
  • Other related topics
    • The above are suggestions; we invite projects to consider these as potential areas of focus and also welcome topics that address other critical aspects and questions of trust in scholarly communication.

TriangleSCI 2023 will be held from October 8-12, 2023, at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, and provides space and time for you to develop a project and explore these kinds of questions with a team of your choosing and with a network of diverse interlocutors. SCI will cover travel, lodging, and food expenses for you to spend five days together in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.

SCI is an opportunity to spend time in an inclusive setting with a diverse set of people to investigate challenges, develop plans, test processes, come to agreements, and launch initiatives.  We encourage pragmatic, proactive optimism, and hope participants will use SCI as a platform to nurture positive change.

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. It is not just for people working in libraries or publishing or other sectors that are central to scholarly communication – we encourage you to have team members from professions and backgrounds that may not typically factor into scholarly communication discussions but whose expertise and perspectives can contribute to your project and the overall theme. For example, in the year when “storytelling in scholarly communication” was the theme, teams included journalists, artists, musicians, secondary school teachers, children’s book authors, and more. Teams in past years have included students as well as deans and provosts. Use your imagination and invite people who aren’t necessarily scholcomm “usual suspects” to be part of your team.

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.

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 2023 request for proposals and submit your proposal following the instructions there. The due date for proposals is April 27 and teams whose proposals are selected to participate will be notified by the end of June.

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.

If you have any questions at all, or would like to be put in touch with previous year participants who could tell you how their SCI experience went, please contact

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.


[ Photo by Ronda Dorsey used under Unsplash free license. ]