photo of empty chairs in a field

TriangleSCI hiatus continues in 2021

Last spring when we had to cancel SCI 2020 because of the building COVID-19 crisis, we had high hopes that things would be returning to normal by now, and that we could proceed with planning for a return in 2021.

With sadness, we must announce that SCI will continue its hiatus in 2021, with the intention of returning in 2022. While we are optimistic about the rollout of vaccines, there are still so many unknowns, including when travel restrictions will be lifted and when people will feel safe gathering in person and interacting in groups again. To successfully run a program like TriangleSCI requires making a lot of financial and logistical commitments many months in advance, and at this time it’s difficult to have confidence that the program could proceed as planned later this year.

We explored a number of alternative formats that might allow us to run the program around pandemic constraints, but ultimately all of the other options seemed like they would result in a much-diminished experience, each in its own way, since so much of what makes SCI special is the international diversity of participants and intensive in-person and cross-pollinating interaction both in program and social settings – the cumulative building of a community over 5 days of intensive engagement within and across teams.

Finally, comments like this, from one of our advisory board members, made it clear that we should wait until better times, when we could be sure that we could offer this program more equitably:

“In addition to the practical problems involving travel, meeting with masks on, or all-day Zoom sessions, there’s simply a lack of emotional and cognitive bandwidth right now for so many people. If one of our goals continues to be fostering diverse teams and perspectives, we should keep in mind that participating in SCI 2021 may not be a priority for scholars or communities disproportionately being impacted by the pandemic right now. I worry that any event we hold in 2021 would privilege a small group of scholars relatively insulated from the effects of the pandemic, rather than benefiting the broader scholarly community.”

While we won’t be offering this program in 2021, please do keep TriangleSCI in mind as you plan for 2022. We’ll post another announcement here when planning for SCI 2022 has begun, and hope you will submit a proposal and plan to join us for a joyous restart as soon as we can!

[ Photo by Forest Simon used under Unsplash free license. ]

Virus mask and thermometer

SCI 2020 canceled due to Coronavirus

Sadly, we must announce that this year’s Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute will be canceled due to the ongoing uncertainty over the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19 and the health, travel, and economic constraints related to it.

We apologize to any teams who had already begun to work on proposals, and were looking forward to participating in October.

We plan to resume in 2021, and will announce plans for SCI 2021 as soon as we are able to make them.

As always, we appreciate your interest in this program, and the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in providing the funding that makes it possible, and look forward to resuming the program when the coronavirus crisis is over.

[ Photo by Annie Spratt used under Unsplash free license. ]

Aerial view of market in Bangkok

Submit your proposal to join SCI 2020 in October – this year’s theme is Community, Collaboration, and the Commons

Note: Sadly, we must announce that this year’s Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute will be canceled due to the ongoing uncertainty over the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19 and the health, travel, and economic constraints related to it. Please see this announcement for more information.

The Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute invites you to participate in SCI 2020, its seventh year in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region. This year’s theme will be Community, Collaboration, and the Commons, and the program will take place from October 4 to 8, in Durham, North Carolina, USA.

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.

This year’s theme is Community, Collaboration, and the Commons, described in part this way in the page about the theme:

When librarians, publishers, and academics talk about “scholarly communication,” we usually have a particular definition in mind: “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use.” But “scholarly community” is curiously left undefined.

Who is part of this community, and do we really mean to limit scholarly communications dissemination to them? What about the “public”? What about the subjects of our research? Taxpayers? Industry? Students? Most academic authors probably imagine some or all of these as being relevant or important audiences for their work. Yet in many cases the processes, infrastructure, and economics of scholarly communication do not include them, and even when they do, it’s mainly as consumers or supposed beneficiaries of the scholarly work, and not as contributors to it or interlocutors with it.

For the 2020 Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute, we invite proposals from teams that aim to broaden the definition of “community” as it pertains to scholarly communication, and to develop projects and initiatives that will help activate these communities as valued participants in scholarly communication. What can the core constituencies of scholarly communication do to ensure that more of the process is open to collaboration with broader communities, and more of the outputs become part of a globally available commons?

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. 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 2020 we’ll be moving to the center of Durham, where, in keeping with this year’s theme, TriangleSCI programming will 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 2020 participants will have lodging at The Durham Hotel, in a renovated mid-century modern bank building, a short walk from the Rickhouse on Durham’s central square. Meals will be in nearby restaurants and the soon to be opened Durham Food Hall. Plans are in process to host some parts of the program at the newly renovated Durham Public Library downtown branch and/or other venues in historic downtown Durham. More details will be posted on our Venue and Logistics page as they become available.

Durham Central Park mural

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 1, 2020.

If you have questions that aren’t already answered in the FAQ, please contact 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.

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

[ Header photo by Jaddy Liu used under Unsplash free license. Durham Central Park photo by Paolo Mangiafico used under CC-BY license. Golden hour reflection photo by Mario Purisic used under Unsplash free license. ]