New to the SCN: Open for Health

This is the latest post in a series announcing resources created for the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN. The SCN is 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 and a disciplinary and course community for inclusively sharing models and practices. IMLS funded the SCN in 2019, permitting us to pay creators for their labor while building a solid initial collection. These works are the result of our first CFP (fall 2020). A second CFP was issued in May ‘21 (closing in early July), and a third call will be issued toward the end of 2021.

Today we’re excited to share “Open for Health: How Open Access Can Create a More Equitable World” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub as well as IUPUI ScholarWorks ), by Caitlin Pike. Caitlin created a detailed lesson plan and slides that may be useful to anyone interested in teaching health sciences students at all levels about the intersection of scholarly communications and social justice. Here’s Caitlin to introduce her project:

Open access (OA) publishing has steadily gained traction as an alternative to traditional publishing models since its introduction in the early 2000s. Social justice, including equitable access to information and bridging the digital divide, are also concepts familiar to many librarians. As a result, these ideas create a natural intersection for advocacy as health information professionals and health faculty with an interest in teaching students about scholarly communications.

In this lesson plan, there is an optional reading list to review the literature related to OA, health equity, and social justice to provide background on the topics depending on student familiarity. A brief PowerPoint lecture is included to provide an overview, and then students will break into groups, and each group will be given a topic with questions to spark discussion on the subject. Questions such as “Historically, how has access to health information created benefits or barriers to users?” or “When thinking about medical research, what stakeholders are concerned about open access and why?” Each group will select a notetaker to keep track of the responses, and time will be given at the end of the class to report out and have a wider discussion with each other.

The concept for this lesson plan began as a workshop for health sciences librarians at the 2019 European Association of Health Information and Libraries Conference in Basel, Switzerland. It was also adapted and presented as a webinar for the Medical Library Association in 2021. My goal was always to try to find a way to influence students’ perceptions of the main topics, because I truly believe that teaching the next generation of academics to change the status quo is the best way to get ourselves out of relying on for-profit publishers. I also wanted the lessons to be personal and relatable, and my hope is that students will leave the session with a better understanding of what under-served groups in their communities would benefit most from open access initiatives, as well as being able to more confidently advocate for OA among their peers and superiors.

About the Author

Caitlin Pike is the Research Engagement and Scholarly Services Coordinator at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) University Library. She also serves as a health sciences liaison librarian, where she provides instruction and in-depth literature searching expertise to the IU School of Nursing students and faculty. Caitlin completed a second master’s degree in public health in 2019 from the Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her research interests include open access, social justice, and developing relationships with students to facilitate library outreach. She has over five years of experience working with adult learners, and she received her MLS from North Carolina Central University in 2013.

New to the SCN: Equity and Consent in Open Education

This is the latest post in a series announcing resources created for the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN. The SCN is 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 and a disciplinary and course community for inclusively sharing models and practices. IMLS funded the SCN in 2019, permitting us to pay creators for their labor while building a solid initial collection. These works are the result of our first CFP (fall 2020). A second CFP was issued in May ‘21 (closed in early July), and a third call will be issued toward the end of 2021.

Today we’re excited to share “Equity and Consent in Open Education” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub as well as in Google Drive), by Natalie Hill and Jessica Dai. Natalie and Jessica created case studies and teaching materials that ask participants to consider how our advocacy for OER and related open practices might have disparate impacts, particularly on those with less intersectional power and privilege. Here’s Natalie and Jessica to introduce their content:

“Equity and Consent in Open Education” aims to foster culturally responsive and equity-minded LIS professionals who are better equipped to engage in open education with students, scholars, and community members from historically underrepresented backgrounds and/or with marginalized identities. The lesson plan includes a slide deck, three case studies, and discussion questions to guide students toward equity-centered practices. Though originally developed for graduate Library and Information Science (LIS) students, the lesson plan can and should be adapted for different audiences and contexts.

Openness is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Though many open practitioners discuss and leverage open education as a means of democratizing education and information access, we must remember that learners and scholars face harm when we adopt openness with a paternalistic mindset. Working in the open is not without its risks, and these risks manifest differently for individuals based on their identities, background, and status. Keeping this reality in mind, LIS professionals need to leverage feminist and critical pedagogical frameworks to build informed consent into our open educational practices to best serve all of our communities, especially the communities that have historically been excluded out of participation. With this contribution to the Scholarly Communication Notebook, we hope that LIS instructors center equity and consent earlier with their students, so they are better equipped to navigate these situations as practitioners.

We intentionally selected openly published pieces—and where possible—we selected pieces written by scholars of color. As a framework for thinking about social justice in open education, Lambert’s (2018) article asks us to integrate the three principles of redistributive justice, recognitive justice, and representational justice into our open educational practices. Open education is not just about saving students money (redistributive justice) and we must reckon with ways to prioritize the inclusion of experiences of marginalized groups in our educational materials (recognitive justice), especially as told by members of those marginalized groups (representational justice). Bali‘s (2020) chapter challenges readers to think beyond paternalistic and colonial mindsets that frame open education through technical concerns around licenses and permissions rather than as an endeavor to improve the human experience. Though an OER may have remixing and revising permissions, what happens when abled educators continue to claim social justice as a value without taking the appropriate steps to make their OER accessible? Belarde-Lewis (Zuni/Tlingit) and Kostelecky’s (Zuni Pueblo) 2021 chapter use tribal critical race theory (TribCrit) to challenge information practices that historically and currently exclude Native and Indigenous ways of knowing. The authors use selected tenets of TribCrit such as “Colonization is endemic to society” and “Indigenous people have a desire to obtain and forge tribal sovereignty, tribal autonomy, self-determination, and self-identification” to analyze three Zuni projects. Orozco’s (2020) book chapter offers a practical example of applying informed open pedagogy in an eight week credit-bearing library course. As students collaboratively create a zine for their final project, they encounter and reflect on their engagement with all six frames in the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. All of these pieces have shaped the development of this lesson plan, so we thank all of the authors for pushing the conversations about what it means to be educators and library practitioners working to make libraries the social justice institution we claim it to be.

In alignment with open educational principles, we encourage instructors to modify Equity and Consent in Open Education to local and instructional contexts. We ask that you engage with any changes to this lesson in the same way we are asking students to engage, i.e. with critical, ethical, and equity-informed lenses.

About the Authors

Natalie Hill is an Instructional Designer with the University of New England. She is dedicated to open education advocacy and increasing representation of historically underrepresented groups in teaching, learning, and research materials. Most recently, she served as the Open Education Librarian with the University of Texas Libraries. She holds an MLIS from Drexel University and a BA in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. Find Natalie @ChillNatalie on Twitter.

Jessica Dai (she/her) is the Equity and Open Education Librarian at West Virginia University. She has an MLIS from the University of South Carolina, an MA in Communication Studies from West Virginia University, and a BA in English from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Her professional interests include anti-oppression in LIS, open education, feminist and critical pedagogies, and the intersections in between. Find Jessica @ralphratheriled on Twitter.

New to the SCN: OA Publishing & BIPOC Faculty Qualitative Study Lesson Plan

This is the latest post in a series announcing resources created for the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN. The SCN is 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 and a disciplinary and course community for inclusively sharing models and practices. IMLS funded the SCN in 2019, permitting us to pay creators for their labor while building a solid initial collection. These works are the result of our first CFP (fall 2020). A second CFP was issued in May ‘21 (closed in early July), and a third call will be issued toward the end of 2021.

Today we’re excited to share “Open Access Publishing and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Faculty Qualitative Study Lesson Plan” (available in the SCN and eScholarship at UC Irvine), by Tatiana Bryant. We know that adopting open practices puts those with less privilege at greater potential risk than those with greater privilege, particularly where race is concerned. It’s important that we collectively acknowledge this unequal reality as we advocate for open practices, and respect the reasons why some researchers may hesitate or decide on other directions for their work. Tatiana here provides a great intro to these issues, situated in an opportunity to learn more about qualitative research methods. Here’s Tatiana with more information about this work:

Knowledge of open access stakes and initiatives is critical for understanding and promoting the fundamental role of faculty and librarians in the scholarly information cycle as academia aims to become diverse, equitable, and inclusive and make scholarship more accessible. Despite the open movement being decades old, there is still a gap in research on Black, Indigenous, and faculty of color (BIPOC) in the context of open access. This gap exists because LIS students and professionals may not be empowered or knowledgeable enough to produce research in this area. Understanding the motivations for and barriers against Open Access (OA) publishing (and the relationships between them) among BIPOC faculty helps LIS practitioners and Open advocates design incentives to increase participation and decrease lack of knowledge and stigma around OA.

In 2020, Principle Investigator, Tatiana Bryant and her research team designed an original qualitative study (Perceptions of Open Access Publishing among Black, Indigenous, and people of color Faculty, article forthcoming College & Research Libraries News) that uncovers ways in which pre-tenure and tenured BIPOC perceive attitudes towards the legitimacy of open access publishing, especially as it relates to their own tenure and promotion processes. This study illuminates how their perceptions motivate or diminish their own interest in and adoption of open access as well as their level of advocacy for open access in their field, campus, and department, et al. To advance this research, select study instruments (focus group question set, sample excerpts from a de-identified dataset, and a codebook template) have been published in the Scholarly Communication Notebook for reuse and adaptation as part of a lesson plan (featuring a pre/post class survey, a reading list, a structured assignment, and class discussion questions) designed to teach LIS students and professionals to consider how qualitative research methods can support their praxis as well as how to use the study instruments.

This Scholarly Communication Notebook contribution allows those interested to learn how to replicate our research methods, articulate their positionality as researchers and practitioners, consider hosting their own focus group(s) with BIPOC faculty, and practice analyzing the associated qualitative data. This resource aims to fill multiple gaps by increasing the facility with robust qualitative research methods among LIS students and workers as well as advancing the conversation around equity within the open movement. It can be used in LIS classrooms or by LIS workers in academic libraries. Questions about this contribution can be directed to

About the Author

Tatiana Bryant is the Research Librarian for digital humanities, History, and African American Studies at UC Irvine. She holds an MPA from New York University and a MLIS from Pratt Institute. She is a 2017 OpenCon Berlin fellow, a 2020 OER Research Fellow with the Open Education Group, and a 2021 Pedagogy Lab Fellow at The Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies. She’s on Twitter at @BibliotecariaT.

The Book, and the Scholarly Communication Notebook (SCN)

The OER + Schol Comm team started working together in late 2016, initially around the idea of an open textbook about scholarly communication library work. As we pursued that goal, applied for and were awarded funding, talked to peers, and presented at conferences, our collaboration evolved to include a second major product, which we took to calling the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN, an overt nod to the Open Pedagogy Notebook by Robin DeRosa and Rajiv Jhangiani. The book and the SCN are two distinct but related aspects of our work. We’ve realized there’s some confusion and conflation of these two related projects, so we thought it might be helpful to provide clarification. If you want deep background on both, read on. If you’d rather get the tl;dr version, scroll down to the third header, “Relationship between Book and SCN”.

The Book

The idea for an open textbook of scholarly communication librarianship, which we sometimes called the OER of scholcomm, took initial shape over the course of 2017, when we also applied for IMLS funding to conduct some research and outreach to inform its development. Then and now, the primary audience we’re creating for is students in MLIS graduate programs (and their professors), as well as practitioners who want to learn and may benefit from a book level intro to get them started. By mid-2018, based on many conversations with colleagues and other stakeholders, the book had more or less taken the conceptual form it has now: a broad introduction to scholarly communication work in academic libraries, the forces that shape it (Part 1), the major advocacy movements within it (Part 2), and practical contributions from peers about the nature of the work (Part 3). In late 2018 we learned that ACRL would be our publisher, embracing the openness that is core to the work, and our approach, as messy as it is. Recognizing that we shouldn’t be the only voices in such a work (for a variety of good reasons), in mid-2019 we brought on section editors to help us present the open movements that are so core to scholcomm work; experts in those areas, shaping their section as they thought most appropriate, with authors they wanted to feature. These sections and their editors are Open Data  edited by Brianna Marshall, Open Education edited by Lillian Hogendoorn, Open Access edited by Amy Buckland, and Open Science and Infrastructure edited by Micah Vandegrift. Then in late 2019 we issued a CFP for contributions to Part 3, which we conceived as Voices from the Field: Perspectives, Intersections, and Case Studies. We were able to accept about 25 short pieces that further expand the number of folks, ideas, practices, and so on involved. In late 2020 we announced our intention to provide parts of the book for open review, and that process continues. All told, there are over 80 people who are directly contributing content to the book, and THEY are what make the book rich! We are deeply, DEEPLY, indebted and grateful to every single person that has contributed editorial work, content, feedback, and ideas all along the way. It’s very humbling, and we feel an immense burden to get it as right as we can on our end, with the knowledge that we will inevitably fall short in some ways. The pandemic has slowed our progress a bit, but we’re still moving forward and hope to deliver a complete manuscript to ACRL in the next few months.

The Scholarly Communication Notebook (SCN)

The SCN grew from our realization that no matter how expansive we try to be, no matter how many folks we provide a platform for, a book, even an open one that we hope will have some living/breathing instantiation, is inherently limited, linear, hierarchical, and static. That became troubling because scholcomm itself, and the work it entails, is highly dynamic, and we at least aspire to it being maximally inclusive, even as we recognize that hasn’t been reality in the field. We realized (and heard from others) that modularity would be useful. We wanted to expand on the existing open learning content, make it more discoverable to our stakeholders, let anyone contribute, and leverage open educational practices to increase knowledge and create useful and renewable content for scholcomm topics. So we went back to IMLS with the idea of the Scholarly Communication Notebook, based on the Open Pedagogy Notebook, a platform to collect and host open scholcomm content that is intentionally pedagogic. And, wonder of wonders, in 2019 they gave us almost $250K to use over three years, a lot of which we are giving to contributors (we do not get any direct financial benefit from the grant, other than some travel funding that we built in, but haven’t been able to use because pandemic). With this funding, we’re able to hire our excellent colleague, Jenna, and to pay selected contributors through a competitive CFP process for their time and labor, and some other miscellaneous things. The pandemic imposed some new conditions that we have been adjusting for, with IMLS support. We recently contracted ISKME OER Commons to host the SCN as an OER Commons Hub (in production now), and a professionally designed logo is coming soon. We’ve got some other plans in the works for remaining funding.

Relationship between Book and SCN

The book is just that: a book, to be published by ACRL next year, with a CC-BY-NC license. Print copies will be available for purchase, alongside a free download. It’s a general introduction, highlighting the work of others as much as possible, with some minimal pedagogic apparatus (discussion questions, suggested further reading) to get those that want to dive deeper pointed in the right direction. The SCN is a platform, both a complement to the book, as well as a standalone collection of open content addressing scholarly communication topics. After reviewing a number of options, we chose to work with ISKME OER Commons because it best meets our needs as we presently understand them. The SCN should grow over time, with contributions from many quarters.

Either the book or the SCN can be used independently, or in conjunction with another. For example, one might read the Copyright and Legal Issues chapter in the book (in Part 1), and then dive into Carli Spina’s SCN materials about Copyright, Disability, and Accessibility in the SCN if they want or need to learn more about that topic. They might also discover Talea Anderson’s Accessibility Case Studies for Scholarly Communication Librarians in the SCN, and the wealth of perspective and further reading available there. An MLIS instructor might use the book, or a chapter of the book, perhaps with an assignment prompt from the SCN that results in student-created content that can become part of the SCN. A librarian skilling up on scholcomm topics might play Stewart Baker’s ScholCom 202X interactive fiction game as a way of learning about the daily issues that we encounter, and further reading to learn more about the issues. They might read the open education section (in Part 2) of the book as a gateway to that rich landscape. Our goal with these projects is to connect people with each other through content and collaboration, to break down silos, to welcome our future peers to our profession, whether they are in dedicated scholcomm roles, or work in another area, to increase knowledge and skills that advance scholcomm work, and we believe the book and the SCN can help make these things happen.

New to the SCN: ScholCom 202X (an interactive fiction game)

This is the 5th post in a series announcing resources created for the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN (see Recent Posts for other, well, recent posts). The SCN is 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 and a disciplinary and course community for inclusively sharing models and practices. IMLS funded the SCN in 2019, permitting us to pay creators for their labor while building a solid initial collection. These works are the result of our first CFP last fall (round 2 CFP open right now, to June 21). 

Today we’re excited to share ScholCom 202X (ready to play html, also available in GitHub as well as Google Docs, both everything to host html as well as text-based to use offline), by Stewart Baker. Stewart gamified scholcomm work with a series of openly licensed situations we encounter regularly in our work, wherein players have to choose how to respond and try to maintain some work/life balance (if you win that one please let us know). These cases and this model hold a lot of potential for interesting instruction. Here’s Stewart introducing the game:

Interactive Fiction (IF) is essentially a text-based video game, a cross between a short story and website where the user clicks links or types in commands to move a character through the game’s plot. Although it’s an obscure medium even in the video game world, I think IF has the potential to offer librarians and educators a low-tech way to create effective, engaging learning games. I decided to put this theory to the test by creating ScholCom 202X, my contribution to the Scholarly Communication Notebook. (Okay, I’ll admit I also suggested it because I thought it would be fun!)

Learning games have a long history in education, with some classic games like Oregon Trail being so successful they are still considered iconic in popular culture today. As computer technology has improved, however, so have the technical skills required to create learning games that look and feel like what people expect from a contemporary video game. This makes it hard for small teams of OER creators and those without advanced programming skills to create effective computer-based learning games. Additionally, contemporary video games have large asset libraries, making them large files that some users may be unable or unwilling to download and making them difficult or impossible to play directly in a web browser.

IF potentially resolves both these issues. Free IF authoring tools such as Inklewriter (the program used for ScholCom 202X) are designed to lower the technical skills needed to create an effective text-based game. Additionally, almost all programs used to create IF today can output a game that is embeddable on a website using JavaScript or a related technology. Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s easy to write IF or effective text-based learning games. All the same, these benefits make IF a potentially attractive format for those interested in writing their own learning game to share as an OER.

In ScholCom 202X, the player takes on the role of a new scholarly communication librarian at a small public university in a ‘distant future’ that shares elements with our own time (Zoom jokes included). The game is structured as ten distinct scenarios covering four general areas of scholarly communication (rights, publishing, institutional repositories and dissemination, and open access). In each scenario, the player is introduced to a library patron with a scholarly communication problem or question for them to respond to.

After reading the scenario text, the player can check their ‘augment’ (a science-fictional smartphone equivalent) to see a short annotated bibliography of relevant sources and check how busy their schedule is before deciding whether they decline to help the patron, help them a little bit, or provide extensive, comprehensive assistance. Players must balance how well and thoroughly they respond to each scenario with how much time they have available.

After proceeding through a set number of scenarios selected by the player at the beginning of play, the game ends and the player is presented with a brief text ‘score’ describing how well they helped people and how overwhelmed with work they are. The idea is that players learn about not only the various aspects of scholarly communication librarianship but also project management and how to say ‘no’ to things—concepts that will benefit new and early-career librarians in particular. Presenting the OER’s educational information in a game setting also enabled me to introduce a diverse cast of characters similar to those librarians are likely to encounter in a real-life public university setting.

To make the game more accessible and adaptable, I created text-only PDF file equivalents of each scenario and a PDF file that contained just the annotated bibliography. Although these lack the interactivity of the IF version, they allow teachers to run role play sessions in a classroom environment and may also provide a more familiar, comfortable context for individual learners to think about scholarly communication and librarianship.

Whether you buy into the idea of IF and learning games as useful educational tools or would rather just use the equivalent text scenarios for roleplay, I hope you’ll find ScholCom 202X an engaging way to learn or teach about the challenges scholarly communication librarians face on the job. If you’re intrigued and would like to learn more about the process of creating an interactive OER, you can view my presentation from this year’s Online Northwest conference. I have also written about my process and the Ink programming language in particular in the Code4Lib journal (Choosing Your Own Educational Resource: Developing an Interactive OER Using the Ink Scripting Language).

About the Author

Stewart Baker is the Systems/Institutional Repository Librarian at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR. Stewart’s research interests include open access, learning games, and web accessibility. When he’s not working or parenting, you can usually find him writing, reading, and playing science fiction and fantasy short stories, poems, and games. You can find him at or on Twitter at @stewartcbaker.