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Submit your proposal to join SCI 2018 in October – this year’s theme is Overcoming Risk

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.

Scrabble tiles reading "RISK" This year’s theme is Overcoming Risk, described this way in the page about the theme:

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.

Typewriter photoTo 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).

If you have questions about any of this that aren’t already answered in the FAQ, please contact scholcomm-institute@duke.edu and we’d be glad to help.

 

 

Thanks as always to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for continuing to provide funding for the Triangle SCI and making all of this possible!

[ Photo by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash used under Unsplash free license. ]

Photo by Joseph Barrientos

Everyone loves a good story

When the TriangleSCI Advisory Board met last year to plan the theme for SCI 2017, the idea of “scholarly storytelling” quickly emerged as a favorite. In academia we’ve developed practices over centuries for how scholarship should be communicated, mainly with peer scholars in mind, and full of signifiers that only knowing readers will understand. We even sometimes look disparagingly upon attempts to write for and engage with a more “popular” audience, forgetting that scholarly communication doesn’t mean only communicating with other scholars. Humans are “storytelling animals”, and narrative forms have the potential to engage broader and more diverse audiences, and to help activate scholarship in different ways.

So for this year’s Scholarly Communication Institute, we invited teams to think about the potential for using storytelling techniques in their scholarly practices, and to put together projects that attempt to answer questions like these:

  • When much of the public gets information (and misinformation) from sources that already use narrative forms, and base their understanding of the world on the stories they learn in this way, how can scholars break through to help facts and nuanced perspectives to take hold?
  • Can we expand our understanding of “scholarly communication” to include narrative methods that may be better able to reach more diverse audiences, and to engage them as stakeholders and not just recipients of information?
  • How might academics use storytelling to build bridges with constituencies that normally don’t feel connected to universities, and who may even feel antipathy to them?
  • How could new technologies be used to engage broader publics in deeper ways?
  • How can scholars use the storytelling techniques of fiction writers, journalists, filmmakers, photographers, visual artists, musicians, and game designers to effectively and accurately convey scholarly information?
  • What can be done to prevent this from being perceived as simply diluting the authoritativeness of complex research?
  • How do we know when we’ve crossed the boundary from information to persuasion? When is crossing that boundary a bad thing, and when is it a useful thing?
  • Can we diversify the ecosystem of scholarly communication without disrupting constructive symbiosis?

Many teams submitted proposals, and six were invited to attend the Institute in November, at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. You can read about their projects here, and follow along and join the conversation using the #TriangleSCI hashtag. In November the SCI 2017 cohort will be creating their own stories, and we’ll share them here as they emerge.

[Photo by Joseph Barrientos used under Unsplash free license]

Colored pencils

SCI 2017 project teams

Thanks again to everybody who submitted proposals to participate in the 2017 Scholarly Communication Institute! This year’s theme stimulated some wonderful ideas and many excellent proposals, and it was very difficult for the SCI advisory board to narrow down the pool to the small number of teams we are able invite to participate in November.

All of the invited teams have now confirmed their participation, so we’re pleased to announce who they are and the titles of their projects. Each title links to further information about the project and participants:

Congratulations to all of these teams, and we look forward to seeing you in Chapel Hill in November!

[ Edited on 6 September to reflect changed membership of several teams, and to link to project details. ]

[ Photo by PICSELI used under Unsplash free use license. ]

Photo by Joseph Barrientos

Scholarly Storytelling – submit your proposal to join SCI 2017 in November

The Scholarly Communication Institute is ready for its fourth year in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, and invites you to join us!

Participants in previous years have raved about the experience:

This year, SCI will be held November 5 to 9, 2017, at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, NC.

This year’s theme is: “Scholarly Storytelling: Compelling Research for an Engaged Public” which we describe on the theme page in this way:

Storytelling is fundamental to the human experience. Yet many of the methods academics use to communicate their research are based on patterns established within the academy, primarily to convey new information to an already engaged set of scholars. They usually don’t make use of storytelling techniques that can engage broader audiences in more fundamental ways, and that can potentially communicate more information in a comprehensive and succinct way.

When much of the public gets information (and misinformation) from sources that already use narrative forms, and base their understanding of the world on the stories they learn in this way, how can scholars break through to help facts and nuanced perspectives to take hold?

Can we expand our understanding of “scholarly communication” to include narrative methods that may be better able to reach more diverse audiences, and to engage them as stakeholders and not just recipients of information? How might academics use storytelling to build bridges with constituencies that normally don’t feel connected to universities, and who may even feel antipathy to them? How could new technologies be used to engage broader publics in deeper ways? How can scholars use the storytelling techniques of fiction writers, journalists, filmmakers, photographers, visual artists, musicians, and game designers to effectively and accurately convey scholarly information? What can be done to prevent this from being perceived as simply diluting the authoritativeness of complex research? How do we know when we’ve crossed the boundary from information to persuasion? When is crossing that boundary a bad thing, and when is it a useful thing? Can we diversify the ecosystem of scholarly communication without disrupting constructive symbiosis?

Please see the theme page for more information, including some ideas of who you might bring together to form a team – 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.

Kyle Bean illustration - Lines of CommunicationTo participate, form a team of 4 to 6 people, and submit a proposal along the lines of what’s described in our RFP (submission deadline is April 10, 2017). If your proposal is selected, the Institute will cover costs for your team to attend.

To learn more about what it was like in past years, see the Storify threads from SCI 2014, SCI 2015, and SCI 2016, which contain tweets and photos from participants, and the web pages for previous years at SCI, which have links to information about the teams that participated in those years, their projects, and other notes.

There’s also a lot more information in our FAQ. If you have any questions, contact us at scholcomm-institute@duke.edu

We hope you’ll consider putting together a team and submitting a proposal – hope to hear from you by April 10.

Thanks as always to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for continuing to provide funding for the Triangle SCI and making all of this possible!

[ Feature photo by Joseph Barrientos, used under CC 0 license. Embedded photo by Kyle Bean used under CC BY-NC-ND license. ]

The 2016 Scholarly Communication Institute is underway

Poster for SCI 2016

The 2016 Scholarly Communication Institute starts today, October 9.

We’ll be busy for the next five days so won’t have time to blog progress here, but you can follow along (and join in) online via the #TriangleSCI hashtag on Twitter.

I’ll also be curating a representative sample of tweets, links, and photos about SCI 2016 in this Storify thread, and you can also follow this list of all tweets by people in the SCI 2016 cohort.

We’ll be back on this site with some notes after SCI 2016 concludes, and being planning for next year. Stay tuned…

SCI 2016 project teams

Illustration by Kyle BeanAll of the invited SCI 2016 teams have confirmed that they are indeed able to attend this year’s institute on Incentives, Economics, and Values: Changing the Political Economy of Scholarly Publishing, so we’re now ready to announce who they are and the titles of their projects:

  • Building a Sustainable Digital Edition Ecosystem
    Tenisha Hart Armstrong, Hugh Cayless, Julia Flanders, Ondine Le Blanc, R. Darrell Meadows, Daniel Powell, Joshua Sternfeld, Rebecca Welzenbach
  • Does One Size Fit All?: Small Societies, Humanities Journals, and the Risk and Promise of Open Access Conversion
    Patrick Alexander, Eric Bain-Selbo, Cheryl Ball, Meredith Goldsmith, John McLeod, Kristen Ratan
  • HuMetrics: Building Humane Metrics for the Humanities
    Nicky Agate, Rebecca Kennison, Stacy Konkiel, Christopher Long, Jason Rhody, Simone Sacchi
  • Global Voices in Developing a Sustainable, Equitable Open Access Future
    Kamal Bawa, Ada Emmett, Town Peterson, Rosario Rogel-Salazar, David Shulenburger, Tetiana Yaroshenko
  • Social Integration for the Distributed Commons
    Janneke Adema, Sherri Barnes, Eileen Joy, Donna Lanclos, Stuart Lawson, Sam Moore

Congratulations to all of these teams, and we look forward to seeing you in Chapel Hill in October!

Over the next few weeks we’ll be adding blog posts where each team will describe their project and introduce the team members, so stay tuned for more information soon…

[ Image by Kyle Bean, used under a CC license. ]

Discussion at SCI wrap-up

SCI 2016: submit your proposal to join the Institute in October, and help shape the political economy of scholarly publishing

After a successful second year of the Scholarly Communication Institute in the Research Triangle, we’re happy to announce the theme and dates for SCI 2016, and invite you to submit a proposal to participate!

The dates for SCI 2016 are October 9 to 13, and as in the last two years, it will be held at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, NC.

This year’s theme is “Incentives, Economics, and Values: Changing the Political Economy of Scholarly Publishing”, which we describe on the theme page in this way:

“The scholarly publishing ecosystem is undergoing transformation, with new technologies creating both opportunities and challenges to traditional publication models. Underlying these models are economic and behavioral patterns developed over time in response to sets of incentives. What can scholars, universities, and funders do to help re-align the incentives and economics of scholarly publishing with the values of academia? How can we set conditions to enable the greatest benefit to be achieved at the lowest cost? How can we ensure that the system is not biased in favor of those who already have status, and does not inhibit a diversity of perspectives from being heard? What models could we put in place to help high quality publications to be financially sustainable, build stronger communities of stakeholders, surface the true costs, and fairly reward those who are doing the work?”

“This year’s Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute invites teams to explore these and other questions related to the political economy of scholarly publishing, to develop plans, to test processes, to come to agreements, and to 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 stakeholders in the scholarly publishing ecosystem will use SCI as a platform to nurture positive change.”

kyle-bean-digitaleducation-3Please see the theme page for ideas of who you might bring together to form a team – 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 3 to 8 people, and submit a proposal along the lines of what’s described in our RFP (submission deadline is March 14, 2016). If your proposal is selected, the Institute will cover costs for your team to attend.

To learn more about what it was like in past years, see the Storify threads from SCI 2014 and SCI 2015, which contain tweets and photos from participants, and the web pages for 2014 and 2015, which have links to information about the teams that participated in those years, their projects, and other notes.

There’s also a lot more information in our FAQ. If you have any questions, contact us at scholcomm-institute@duke.edu

 

[ Featured photo of SCI 2015 discussion by Eric Dye used under CC license: https://www.flickr.com/photos/137077175@N05/sets/72157659949691661/ ]

[ Light bulb image by Kyle Bean, used under CC license. ]