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.

New to the SCN: Perspectives on Scholarly Communication

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 “Perspectives on Scholarly Communication: A Student-Created Open Textbook” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub as well as in Open Science Framework), contributed by Christopher Hollister. Christopher, who teaches a graduate MLIS course at University of Buffalo, used an open pedagogy assignment to have students author essays on scholarly communication topics of their selection. Here’s Christopher to introduce the project:

Dear SCN Readers…

As noted by the SCN Team, this project involves the experimental use of open pedagogy to teach the Scholarly Communication course in a graduate-level library and information science (LIS) program. Open pedagogy is variously defined, but generally understood as a framework that requires students to be active creators of course content rather than passive consumers of it. Proponents view this as a form of experiential learning in which students demonstrate greater understanding of content by virtue of creating it.

Students in this course learn by doing; that is, they learn about scholarly communication by participating in the process. Each student is required to develop a chapter—on a scholarly communication topic of their choosing—to be included in an open access monograph. Following the semester, the text is published under a Creative Commons license on the University at Buffalo’s institutional repository as an open educational resource (OER), allowing for reuse or repurposing in future sections of the course or in similar courses in LIS programs at other institutions. To date, students have created the following open monographs: Perspectives on Scholarly Communication, Volume 1 (2019), Perspectives on Scholarly Communication, Volume 2 (2020); and Perspectives on Scholarly Communication, Volume 3 (2021). Support for the development and production of the third volume was generously provided by the SCN Team and its 2019 IMLS grant

Immediate outcomes of the “learn by doing” aspect are clear. The experience of publishing engages students in the applied side of concepts they are introduced to by way of lectures, readings, and other class activities. This experience is invaluable for those entering academic librarianship, particularly for those who will have scholarly communication responsibilities. Immediate outcomes of the open pedagogy aspect are also quite compelling. Research shows that students ascribe a positive learning experience to the implementation of this framework, and they hold for its continued use in future sections of the course. Students are enthusiastic in their embrace of creating renewable versus disposable coursework. They express great satisfaction with contributing to the professional literature, building the discipline’s nascent OER record, and having a publication to feature in their curricular and professional dossiers. The experience also resonates with students on a philosophical level; LIS students are characteristically inclined to support activities that align with the field’s abiding “free to all” ethic.

Long-term outcomes for the Scholarly Communication course are emerging as this experiment continues to unfold. Most notably, select chapters from these volumes are used as required readings. The following student-created chapters, for example, are required readings for the upcoming 2022 fall semester:

  • Moving toward multilingualism in scholarly communication to combat the linguistic injustices caused by English as a lingua franca (Huskin, 2021)
  • Indigenous knowledge in academia (Neumaier, 2021)
  • Flipping the script: Creating equity for BIPOC academics in scholarly publishing through open access (Poenhelt, 2020)
  • Ethics and academic tenure: The struggle for female identifying scholars to achieve tenure (Roberts, 2020)

About the Author

Christopher Hollister is the Head of Scholarly Communication with the University at Buffalo Libraries. In that role, he advances initiatives related to scholarly publishing, open access, and open education. A longtime advocate and activist for transforming the current system of scholarly communication into an open one, Chris is co-founder and co-editor of the award-winning open access journal, Communications in Information Literacy. He also teaches the Scholarly Communication and International Librarianship courses for the University’s Department of Information Science. His current research interests include scholarly publishing and open educational practices. 

New to the SCN: EDI in Scholarly Communications Outreach

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 “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications Outreach” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub as well as in Google Drive), contributed by Camille Thomas, who is also a contributor to our related open book project. Camille builds on a qualitative study (Perceptions of Open Access Publishing among Black, Indigenous, and people of color Faculty, forthcoming in College & Research Libraries News), offering instructional materials to help elucidate conclusions of that research. Here’s Camille to introduce the project:

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications Outreach contribution to the SCN is intended to fill a gap in the way we talk about scholarly communication work, particularly outreach. I am a co-PI on the in-progress study, Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color Faculty Perceptions of Open Access, with Tatiana Bryant at University of California Irvine. Though there are existing studies examining faculty perceptions of open access and BIPOC faculty experiences, there is not much on the intersection of the two. It is important not to treat researchers, faculty or otherwise, as a monolith when it comes to the experiences, communities, and values behind their publishing decisions. Our 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. It seemed like a natural contribution to the SCN.

Tatiana and I decided to provide separate contributions based on our own ideas. We discussed what might be most impactful for students based on preliminary analysis from the study and our own experiences as library school students, then professionals. We did a kind of internal review of each other’s work before submitting to the SCN team. Tatiana’s related contribution to the SCN is discussed in this News post. My contribution features readings, discussion questions, sample scenarios, and assignments that prompt reflection and learning on BIPOC perceptions of OA.

The most time consuming part of creating this contribution was getting clear on the scope and  approaching this subject matter in a practical, impactful and considerate way. I thought a lot about the audience for which the resource is primarily intended. I wanted to be careful to have students exercise empathy and procedures for scholars’ diverse values when it comes to supporting new models for scholarly work. This work is intended to create deeper engagement and understanding of one’s position in true partnership — as neither savior nor servile. I wanted library professionals and scholars alike to empower themselves and others to become aware of where their agency lies in interdependence (i.e., “power with”, “power to” and “power within”) — with neither awe nor inadequacy. After that, drafting was smooth sailing.

My work with EDI in scholarly communication builds on work by Charlotte Roh, April Hathcock, Leslie Chan, Harrison Inefuku, Jessica Dai and many others. Their work often speaks to the impact of systematic marginalization of certain scholars and scholarship in traditional and open publishing. I tend to examine how we might integrate considerations for equity, diversity and inclusion in our workflows as open advocates and scholarly communication librarians. The  expectations and labor in this area are complex, unwieldy and in many ways different from other types of librarianship. In my opinion, the message, the medium and the messenger matters.

Of course, we are all learning and unlearning the ways we perpetuate exclusion and inequity in our culture and by extension in research and higher education (and even further extension in our materials). There is no one lesson plan or assignment that will solve systemic inequities or capture what for most is deep, personal, and lifelong work. The purpose of my contribution is simply to get students and new professionals (and maybe some seasoned professionals) thinking about building equitable open infrastructure and an inclusive culture when discussing open access at institutions. It is also to get them thinking about what will have the most impact in advancing open and addressing barriers in the context of their organization. I want them to think strategically rather than replicate common practice alone.

Most of the provided sample scenarios are real experiences I have encountered in my career as a scholarly communication librarian. I actually edited the contribution quite a bit when thinking from a student perspective. I am a bit of an exception, in that I knew very early on in library school that I wanted to be a scholarly communication librarian. I planned my courses accordingly, cobbling and connecting relevant courses (Information Policy, Digital Libraries, etc.) together. There was definitely no open textbook on scholarly communication at that time and few if any Intro to Scholarly Communications courses.

One of the courses that prepared me the most and still impacts my approach today is Strategic Marketing. So, I based the Needs Assessment and Engagement Plan on templates I used in that class, which I continue to use. A lot of scholarly communication work and outreach benefits from strategic planning. It can help manage expectations and boundaries around the labor required as well as carve out diversity and inclusion work as a priority. It can also be a space to examine our power, privilege and consciousness when it comes to talking to diverse audiences.

About the Author

Camille Thomas is the Scholarly Communication Librarian at Florida State University Libraries and a former SPARC Open Education Fellow. Her professional interests include labor, leadership and equity in open access, open education and digital scholarship. She has an MLIS from Florida State University and a BA in English from the University of Central Florida. She’s on Twitter as @afrofuturistlib.

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: 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 Tatiana.Bryant@uci.edu.

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.