The Scholarly Communication Institute invites you to participate in SCI 2018, its fifth year in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region. This year’s theme will be “Overcoming Risk” and the program will take place October 7 through 11, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Triangle SCI 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: they have described TriangleSCI as “One of the best scholarly experiences I’ve had.” and “an amazing incubator of ideas, innovation and collaboration. Grateful to be a part of this incredible experience!” Learn more about TriangleSCI from the perspective of participants via this podcast (with transcript), this summary blog post, and other links, notes, and photos from SCI 2017 and previous years.
All change involves some risk. One of the reasons why we develop and stick to patterns over time, in scholarly communication as well as almost any human endeavor, is to mitigate risk. Once you know how it’s done, and you know that everyone is doing it that way, it reduces the risk for you, makes the process more efficient, and allows you to get to the core goals with less worry about the process.
Or does it?
When examined more closely, it becomes clear that existing patterns may protect some participants from risk, but not everyone. Some people may be inhibited from participating at all because the barriers to entry are too high, or the costs and risks to them, personally or professionally, seem insurmountable. Sometimes potentially desirable changes are blocked by precedent that there’s no longer a good reason for. Sometimes vested interests are just too strong, and the costs and risks of getting past them are just too high.
What strategies can scholars, universities, funding agencies, libraries, publishers and others use to promote positive change in scholarly communications, and overcome these risks and disincentives? How do we help all participants to accurately calibrate the true level of risk, so they are not inhibited from action by undue fear? What support structures can we put in place to reduce the real risks to those whose voices are underrepresented or suppressed, or whose status may be precarious – to help them feel welcome and be safe, and promote a greater diversity of perspectives and equitable access and treatment for all who are willing to engage?
What funding models and infrastructures might help new scholarly communication techniques emerge, thrive, and be sustained over time? What strategies can be employed to protect against the risk of vendor lock-in, or corporate capture of essential infrastructure and content? How can scholarly communications practices encourage speed and openness, while avoiding the risk of ephemerality? What models or practices could be developed to incentivize and reward innovation and broader public engagement, and reduce the risk to those who are seen to be breaking from traditional modes of professional advancement?
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 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.
To participate, form a team of 4 to 6 people, and submit a proposal along the lines of what’s described in the RFP (submission deadline is April 23, 2018).
Thanks as always to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for continuing to provide funding for the Triangle SCI and making all of this possible!