New to the SCN: Ethical and Policy Considerations for Digitizing Traditional Knowledge

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 one of three calls for proposals (our first CFP was issued in fall 2020; the second in late spring ‘21, and the third in late fall 2021).Today we’re excited to share “Ethical and Policy Considerations for Digitizing Traditional Knowledge” (available via Pressbooks and in the SCN OER Commons Hub). This work was created by Dr. Jenna Kammer and Dr. Kodjo Atiso. Traditional knowledge has often been appropriated and used in manners inconsistent with the community wishes, to detrimental effect. Tools like Traditional Knowledge badges and this lesson from Kammer and Atiso are responses to that colonial exploitation. It’s vital that librarians proceed with care and concern when working with these communities and their cultural heritage, and we deeply appreciate the work these colleagues have done to educate on these issues. Here are Jenna and Kodjo to introduce Ethical and Policy Considerations for Digitizing Traditional Knowledge:

 

Ethical and Policy Considerations for Digitizing Traditional Knowledge is a comprehensive instructional resource designed to introduce library professionals to the ethical and policy issues which accompany the digitization of traditional knowledge collections. This instructional resource includes a lesson plan, a slide deck, a case study with accompanying worksheet, and an annotated bibliography.  Instructors can llead students through a lesson plan which includes identification of prior knowledge, direct instruction, guided practice and independent practice. Through this “I do, we do, you do” approach, students will learn about the definition of traditional knowledge, how and why it might be preserved, ethical considerations when preserving it, and provides examples of traditional knowledge collections. The resource also includes an opportunity for students to work through an authentic case study from a library which digitized a traditional knowledge collection. Using a worksheet that includes guided criteria, students can review the case study to determine how the community was considered within each stage of the digital content lifecycle. The resource also includes background reading on digitizing and preserving traditional knowledge with brief annotations for both instructors and students.

The case study in this instructional resource was adapted from an authentic project conducted by a librarian in Ghana (who is also one of the authors of this resource). The project describes the development of a database of plants used for medicinal and educational purposes in Ghana to share with the public as a response to a need for access to general scientific knowledge. The project completed prior work which had been started by biologists in the mid 1900’s by digitizing plant materials, describing the traditional medicinal uses of the plants, and naming them in both English, Latin and the local Ghanaian language. The case study includes descriptions of how the local community was brought into the project, as well as special cultural considerations applied to describing the materials in the project.

We developed this resource after realizing that many textbooks related to organizing information did not discuss traditional knowledge collections and the cultural considerations that should be applied when collecting, describing, managing, sharing and reusing these materials. We also found that the real life example of the plant database was an excellent learning opportunity for others who would be embarking on such projects. Essentially, we wanted to create instructional materials which could explain to new and emerging professionals how to include community voices within a digitization project that may include cultural heritage, personal stories, history, traditional practices and local knowledge. We also felt like it was important to include examples of cases where digitizing local knowledge benefited the local community, but also examples where the community was exploited once the collections were made available. Both of these experiences are historically important to understand the value added by digitizing traditional knowledge, but also how traditional knowledge has been misappropriated and used for commercial purposes by people outside of the local community. We hope that this OER helps provide a framework for thinking ethically, including the communities involved with local collections, while also considering how to specify conditions for how the content in these collections can be used, shared or circulated.

About the Authors

 

Jenna Kammer is an Associate Professor at the University of Central Missouri. Her MLS is from the University of Arizona, and her doctorate degree is from the University of Missouri in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies. She also holds a Masters of Arts in Education from New Mexico State University. At UCM, she teaches the Organizing Information class, and other courses related to library science. Kammer also teaches graduate students to create open educational resources.

Kodjo Atiso is the University Librarian at Cape Coast Technical University in Cape Coast, Ghana. His masters is in library science from the University of Ghana and his doctorate degree is from the University of Missouri in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies. He has been involved in the development of several digital repositories and is the project director for the Endangered Archives Programme project at the British Library called Digitisation of pre-Independence herbarium in Ghana.

New to the SCN: Labor Equity in Open Science

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 one of three calls for proposals (our first CFP was issued in fall 2020; the second in late spring ‘21, and the third in late fall 2021).

Today we’re excited to share “Labor Equity in Open Science” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub). This work was created by CJ Garcia and Anali Maughan Perry. It presents clear, actionable guidance on a tremendously important topic . Here’s CJ and Anali to introduce Labor Equity in Open Science:

Labor Equity in Open Science is an interactive lesson plan designed to introduce MLIS students to labor equity issues in open science practices. During the lesson, students are given a researcher persona encompassing various professional and personal identities. Students are then given multiple scenarios and asked to predict how their persona would respond and why. Through group discussion and personal reflection, students consider the ways that researchers in different positions and with different levels of institutional support engage with open science. Students are also encouraged to consider how personal identity, such as race and gender, often intersects with professional identity, and how that contributes to wider, structural barriers that impact the adoption of open science practices. The lesson culminates in an opportunity for the students to brainstorm how they, as librarians, can address and alleviate these barriers. While starting the conversation is important, the lesson goes beyond this and bridges the gap between learning and action.

In addition to the primary lesson plan, we have provided supporting material for instructor and student use, including an instructor presentation as well as student handouts with persona and scenario details. These are designed to facilitate both in-person and online, synchronous learning. We also include an alternative assignment that invites students to develop their own personas and scenarios to add to OER Commons and help the OER grow as a living resource while also providing a practical opportunity to introduce MLIS students to the OER ecosystem.

Throughout my time in graduate school, I became more and more invested in open science and scholarly communication, and was eager to contribute to conversations in this area. At the same time, I often found myself frustrated by many of the conversations I saw happening in the field that often neglected the human labor element of open science. Librarians and researchers are partners in creating an open system of scholarly research, and so we need to be in tune with the needs of researchers. Open science is often lauded as a mechanism by which the process of research can be more just and equitable, but as it stands open science relies on a vast amount of unpaid and often under-recognized labor. For many researchers, participating in standard open science practices may be impossible to do without jeopardizing one’s career or work-life balance. I know that finding a way to advance open science in a way that suits everyone is no easy task. That is why we built the lesson plan to be a conversation-starter and challenged students to start brainstorming solutions. Finding solutions is never easy, but it always starts by recognizing the problem, learning, reflecting, and collaborating.

Being able to contribute to the SCN was a fantastic opportunity to create the type of lesson we would have liked to receive while in graduate school, share it in a trusted open repository, and ensure it reaches our target audience of scholarly communication instructors and practitioners. We hope it will help generate increased awareness of researcher perspectives and consideration of the barriers they may face when trying to participate in open science practices.

About the Authors

Primary author CJ Garcia is the Liaison and Communications Librarian at A.T. Still University. He gained his MLIS from the University of Arizona in May 2022. He specializes in scholarly communication, online learning, and user experience. He is particularly interested in how open science practices in health sciences research translates to better patient outcomes. Outside of librarianship, he likes to play video games, build legos, and buy increasingly expensive toys for his cats.

Anali Maughan Perry is the Scholarly Communication Librarian at Arizona State University’s ASU Library where she leads institutional efforts to provide outreach and education to the ASU community regarding scholarly publishing and copyright, with particular emphasis on fair use, open access to scholarly information, and open education.

New to the SCN: Trans Inclusion in OER

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 one of three calls for proposals (our first CFP was issued in fall 2020; the second in late spring ‘21, and the third in late fall 2021).

Today we’re excited to share “Trans Inclusion in OER” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub and via Pressbooks). This work was created by Kat Klement at Bemidji State and Stephen G. Krueger at Dartmouth. They have both been leaders in this area and have created an outstanding resource that can improve OER and help better-educate everyone in scholarly communication. Here’s Kat and Stephen to introduce Trans Inclusion in OER:

Information about trans and gender diverse people is constantly growing and changing, in addition to having aspects that are specific to certain regions and cultures. But gender identity is often oversimplified in educational resources, if it is acknowledged at all. Trans and gender diverse students and teachers often find their experiences absent, stereotyped, or described in language that perpetuates the gender binary. Outdated and inaccurate content leaves everyone with harmfully incorrect information about gender-related language, history, current events, health care, and legal issues.

Because of their flexible nature, open educational resources are ideally positioned to incorporate gender-inclusive language and accurate, relevant content on trans and gender diverse people. Trans Inclusion in OER is intended to raise awareness on this potential as well as to provide guidance on how to act on it within the context of scholarly communication.

Part 1 contains suggested materials on multiple topics: OER 101, Trans 101, Social Justice and OER, Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusion in OER. Readers are invited to pick and choose depending on their need. Perhaps one is well aware of trans and gender diverse issues but not OER, or vice versa. All of these sections are annotated resource lists except for the last, which is because there is little to no existing material specifically about trans and gender diverse people and OER (until now); this section outlines why the usual reasons for using and creating OER are especially relevant in the context of gender inclusion. Part 1 closes with a list of practical resources for creating and adapting trans-inclusive materials.

Part 2 is an instructor’s guide for a class session (or several) on how to make trans-inclusive OER. The lesson plan, discussion questions, activities, and assignments can be used as written, mixed and matched, or adapted and revised to suit a variety of class settings. They can also be valuable exercises for faculty and librarians to think through on their own, as they take the ideas and resources from Part 1 and demonstrate how to use them in practice.

It is our hope that this resource is the first of many on how OER can meet the enormous need for gender-inclusive educational materials.

About the Authors

Stephen G. Krueger (he/him/his) is the Scholarly Publishing Librarian at Dartmouth College, where he supports the use and creation of open educational resources. He is the author of Supporting Trans People in Libraries (2019, Libraries Unlimited), co-editor of Trans and Gender Diverse Voices in Libraries (forthcoming, Library Juice Press), and co-author of The Trans Advice Column. Stephen holds a B.A. in English from Warren Wilson College and an M.S.L.S. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he is working on an M.A. in Arctic and Northern Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Learn more at www.stephengkrueger.com.

Kat R. Klement (they/them/theirs) is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bemidji State University, teaching courses primarily related to sexuality and gender. They received their Ph.D. in Psychology from Northern Illinois University and their M.A. in Psychology and B.A. in Psychology and Political Science from Concordia University Chicago. Their major lines of research examine attributions of sexual assault blame, how transphobia relates to other systems of oppression, and transgender patients’ healthcare experiences. They are co-founder and co-director of the Northwoods Queer Outreach, which provides training and resources for organizational staff, educators, and healthcare providers to better serve 2SLGBTQ+ people. Learn more at www.kathryn-klement.com.

New to the SCN: Power, Profit, and Privilege: Problematizing Scholarly Publishing

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 one of three calls for proposals (our first CFP was issued in fall 2020; the second in late spring ‘21, and the third in late fall 2021).

Today we’re excited to share “Power, Profit, and Privilege: Problematizing Scholarly Publishing” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub and via Pressbooks). This work was created by Amanda Makula from the University of San Diego. Folks in scholcomm land may be familiar with Amanda’s great work as the principle planner of the Digital Initiatives Symposium. We’re thrilled with what she’s created here, as scholarly publishing can definitely use some problematizing. Here’s Amanda to introduce Power, Profit, and Privilege:

The scholarly communications system – and open access in particular – has always been interesting and exciting to me. There are so many intricacies and possibilities for innovation that the conversation is endless, and always evolving. But though I find it fascinating, I’ve noticed that non-library faculty and students are generally less enthusiastic. Rather, understanding and navigating it seems to be just one more hurdle for them to get around to reach their goal of publication in a top-tier journal.

After years spent having these conversations, and feeling frustrated that open access wasn’t necessarily intrinsically interesting or valuable to the academic community, I realized that the only way to truly engage my audience was to contextualize the scholarly publishing system within their culture of academia. Open access and scholarly publishing reform didn’t necessarily matter to them if it was isolated from their lived reality of trying to secure an academic position or achieve tenure and promotion.

Scholarly publishing and academia are bound together, and tightly. One does not exist separate from the other, and one cannot change without redefining the other. If we as librarians want to transform scholarly communications, as we say that we do, we must work internally, from within academia, to make it happen. This means doing things like agitating for the reform of rank and tenure, problematizing journal rankings, desanctifying peer review, and working not only to pass OA policies on our campuses but also to connect them to other existing academic policies and practices.

This is a tall order, and academia is notoriously slow to change. Those of us who have lived in it for a while can have difficulty seeing that it is a construct, not a natural order. Those who are new to it, who are students themselves or who are contemplating pursuing an advanced degree, are more likely to question why it operates as it does – and whether there might be better ways to build, consume, and share knowledge in the future.

I designed Power, Profit, and Privilege: Problematizing Scholarly Publishing with this audience in mind. To revolutionize scholarly communications, we need to start with the next generation of academics. Scholarly communications should have a place in the curriculum; it should be taught so that students who are interested in publishing their scholarship, who are interested in matriculating to graduate school, will have a foundational understanding of the system and what it means to participate in it. I think too often it’s assumed that students will pick up this information on their own or from faculty advisors as they go through a program. But even if that’s the case, it’s unlikely that they will question the system or recognize its complicated challenges. And we absolutely need them as allies to make inroads on reform.

My curriculum is organized into two main parts, each with several chapters. The Fundamentals aims to acquaint students with the basic framework of contemporary scholarly publishing. (Some) Problems raises issues that complicate scholarly publishing, specifically how it intersects with power, money, prestige, and privilege. Chapters include hands-on exercises, readings, and additional resources. The course culminates in two final written assignments that instructors can use as part of the curriculum, or that independent learners can work through on their own.

I hope that you and/or your students will find something provocative, perplexing, and pragmatic within the pages of Power, Profit, and Privilege. Like scholarly publishing itself, this work is evolving and benefits from your feedback. Get in touch with me at amakula[at]sandiego[dot]edu if you have questions, comments, or ideas. In the meantime: happy reading!

About the Author

Amanda Y. Makula worked as a Research & Instruction Librarian for 12 years before moving into her current role as Digital Initiatives Librarian at the University of San Diego, where she manages the institutional repository, engages the campus community on scholarly communication topics, serves as liaison to the Ethnic Studies department, and oversees the annual Digital Initiatives Symposium. Her most recent research project appeared in the March 2022 issue of College & Research Libraries. In her spare time you’ll find her listening to podcasts in Spanish or riding her e-bike.

New to the SCN: Understanding Community-University Knowledge Exchange

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 one of three calls for proposals (our first CFP was issued in fall 2020; the second in late spring ‘21, and the third in late fall 2021).

Today we’re excited to share “Understanding Community-University Knowledge Exchange: A Case Study of the Making Research Accessible Initiative (MRAi)” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub and in Google Docs). This project was created by Heather O’Brien, Luanne Sinnamon, Mandy Choie, and Nick Ubels. They note that community/university partnerships haven’t always been mutually beneficial, and that info professionals have a role to play in supporting greater equity in these interactions. Here are the creators to introduce their resources:

The Downtown Eastside (DTES) Research Access Portal (RAP) is a knowledge exchange platform designed through a collaboration between the University of British Columbia (UBC) Library and Learning Exchange, with input from DTES neighborhood members in Vancouver, Canada. It was DTES community members who identified such a platform as an important priority for the University to address. The DTES experiences deep, systemic inequities [1] and draws considerable attention from researchers. This has led to over-research: repetitive studies on a narrow scope of issues, limited reciprocity in sharing research priorities and findings, and limited evidence of research impact [2]. In 2015, the UBC Learning Exchange partnered with the UBC Library to establish the Making Research Accessible Initiative (MRAi) and began to build the RAP based upon principles of university-community knowledge exchange.

The RAP is devoted to increasing access to and dialogue around research, and is a valuable learning environment for library and information science (LIS) students to grapple with complex issues of access, system design and representation in legacy classification systems.  Drawing on the RAP as a case study, we developed an Open Education Resource (OER) for LIS courses and professional development. Courses in LIS programs focus on publishing practices, open access, copyright and evaluation and consider the roles of librarians, publishers, scholars, policy makers, and funding agencies. It is increasingly important to consider community members whose lives are directly impacted by research in order to holistically assess research impact. Information professionals have a critical role to play in the shift to broader, more inclusive and impactful approaches to scholarly communication [3].

The OER, consisting of an Instructor’s Guide and accompanying presentation Slide Deck with speaking notes, emphasizes three primary themes:

  1. Principles and practices of community engagement for knowledge exchange;
  2. Meaningful access to research for non-academic audiences;
  3. Research ethics in historically marginalized and underrepresented communities.

We have organized the OER to consist of a “core” module, “Community-based knowledge exchange and mitigating information privilege” and three pathways: 1) “Information access and alternative formats,” 2) “Supporting community led research,” and 3) “Community engagement and services.”  Instructors can “mix and match” content from the pathways depending on available class time, course structure, and student interests.  The core and pathway modules include learning objectives, a wide selection of open access academic and professional articles, books, blogs, websites, videos and multimedia, and active learning activities for in-person or online delivery.

While the DTES RAP is used as a case study for the OER, we encourage instructors to apply examples from their local contexts. The OER is a useful tool for infusing community perspectives in discussions of scholarly communication; promoting ethical, democratic research practices, and supporting (emerging) librarians working with diverse communities. We welcome feedback on the module as well as interest in connecting about the Making Research Accessible initiative. Please contact us by e-mail at mrai.info@ubc.ca.

Works Cited:

  1. DTES Literacy Roundtable. (2017).  Strengthening literacy in the Downtown Eastside: Vision, goals and action plan of the DTES Literacy Roundtable. http://decoda.ca/wp-content/uploads/Vancouver_Downtown-Eastside_SD39_2015.pdf
  2. Boilevin, L., Chapman,…& Pham, S. (2019). Research 101: A manifesto for ethical research in the Downtown Eastside. https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0377565
  3. De Forest, H., Freund, L., McCauley, A., O’Brien, H. L., & Smythe, S. (2019). Building infrastructures for university-community knowledge exchange: The role of information professionals and literacy educators. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS / Actes Du congrès Annuel De l’ACSI. DOI: https://doi.org/10.29173/cais1073

About the Authors

Heather O’Brien is Associate Professor at the UBC School of Information.

Luanne Sinnamon  is Associate Professor at the UBC School of Information.

Mandy Choie is a recent graduate of UBC’s Master of Library and Information Studies program.

Nick Ubels is a community engagement librarian at the UBC Learning Exchange and UBC Library’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.