Bibliodiversity and OER: A Student Perspective

We’re excited to be developing the  Scholarly Communication Notebook (SCN), a hub of open teaching and learning content on scholcomm topics that is both a complement to an open book-level introduction to scholarly communication librarianship (coming along) and a disciplinary and course community for inclusively sharing models and practices. We’re currently working with ISKME to establish the SCN as an OER Commons Hub, coming soon. With generous support from IMLS, we’re pleased to be able to financially support the development of model resources for the SCN. Last fall we issued a CFP (the first of three) for projects to support the initial population of the SCN, and we’re starting to see those projects come to fruition. Here, we’re excited to share the first of a series of posts about those projects. This one, by MLIS student Allison Kittinger, is about a great bibliodiversity project that she and Jennifer Solomon created. It’s fantastic to see a collaborative project like this between a student with an interest in SC and an instructor/practitioner like Jennifer; it’s a great example of the sort of thing we’re hoping to see more of in the future! Kudos to both of them! Look for additional posts over the coming months, along with the second of three calls for proposals soon. Here’s Allison introducing their project:

Although I worked in academic publishing for two years, I first learned about the concept of bibliodiversity in Jennifer Solomon’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Open Access class as a library science master’s student at UNC-Chapel Hill. One of our assigned readings was Shearer et al.’s “Fostering Bibliodiversity in Scholarly Communications: A Call for Action!” (2020), which describes bibliodiversity as “Diversity in services and platforms, funding mechanisms, and evaluation measures” allowing “the  scholarly communication system to accommodate the  different workflows, languages, publication outputs, and research topics that support the needs and epistemic pluralism of different research communities.” The course opened my eyes to the importance of critical perspectives on open access, and I started seeing the concept of bibliodiversity crop up more and more, both explicitly and implicitly, in conversations around open access and scholarly communications. I decided I wanted to be a part of that conversation, to lend a student voice and advance bibliodiversity in my own work.

I began this work at North Carolina State University’s Copyright and Digital Scholarship Center, where I have worked as a graduate student assistant. I co-researched and -wrote a sort of white paper entitled “A Response to the Call for Bibliodiversity: Language, Translation, and Communicated Scholarship” (2020) with my supervisor, Micah Vandegrift. After finishing the paper, I knew I wanted to continue down this path. I feel as though not enough library science students – even students interested in scholarly communications – know the foundations of this important concept. As an early-career scholarly communications professional myself, I want to effect positive change towards more inclusive scholarly publishing systems, and I think bibliodiversity is a crucial part of that work.

I was looking for the next opportunity when I came across the Scholarly Communication Notebook call for proposals for open educational resources. Creating an open educational resource about bibliodiversity for library students like me and early-career librarians appealed to me because I feel strongly that bibliodiversity should be a topic in all scholarly communications classes, and I want to facilitate that. In addition, I had some experience creating an OER already, so I felt prepared to take on this level of work and commitment.

Of course, I immediately thought of Jennifer as a potential collaborator when I read the Scholarly Communication Notebook application. She agreed to work with me, and we drafted the application and the resource together. Having her perspective and experience to inform the resource was invaluable.

Going through this OER development process taught me quite a bit. In incorporating material into the OER, I learned about various bibliodiversity strategies that I hadn’t before considered. I also thought a lot about OER development and the types of conversations I wanted the OER to spark, as well as the perspective of people learning about this concept for the first time. I thought about my own learning journey and wove that perspective into the OER alongside Jennifer’s pedagogical and professional expertise.

Overall, Jennifer and I had a blast creating this OER. Working together on something we are both passionate about was enjoyable and even felt hopeful. My own hope is that this resource can provide an accessible entry point into conversations around bibliodiversity and multilingualism in scholarly communications for students and early-career scholarly communications professionals like me.

About the Author

Allison Kittinger is a Master of Science in Library Science student at UNC-Chapel Hill. She co-developed the OER Introduction to Bibliodiversity in Scholarly Communications with Jennifer Solomon for the Scholarly Communication Notebook.