Helmsley Charitable Trust Funds FORCE11 to Develop ‘Scholarly Commons’ of the Future

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San Diego, Calif., October 1, 2015— FORCE11 (The Future of Research Communications and E-Scholarship) has received a $424,000 grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to fund two workshops and supporting materials that explore the theme, “Are We Ready to Define the Scholarly Commons?” The workshops will help identify guiding principles and common goals for communicating scientific scholarship in an increasingly networked world.

FORCE11, a U.S.-based non-profit, is a global coalition of more than 1,300 scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers, technologists and research funders that is founded on the idea that scholarship includes not only written text but also software code, workflows, data and databases. Established in Dagstuhl, Germany in 2011 and currently based in San Diego, the membership-driven coalition is working to transition scholarship from paper and books to a digital networked technology.

The workshops, which will be held in early 2016, will invite stakeholders from across the FORCE11 membership to consider the idea of the “Scholarly Commons” of the future by re-imagining scholarly communication “after a clean start” and then determining how close the scholarly community is to realizing that vision. The idea, says current FORCE11 President Maryann Martone, is to delineate which technologies, tools and best practices are sufficient for the modern age and which require “chaotic innovation.” The workshops’ final outcome will be a charter that outlines the guiding principles for a Scholarly Commons as well as a concrete set of recommendations to ensure that collective efforts align with a set of common goals and provide “a toolset for 21st century scholarship.”

“There is so much good work that has gone on and is going on around the globe to adapt our current practices of scholarly communication to a networked world,” says Martone. “Our goal with this support is to not only re-envision the future, but to pull together the principles, best practices and standards developed by these different efforts into a single place so that they can be implemented globally. It’s time to put together the best of what we know.”

Ultimately, the goal of FORCE11 is to fully modernize the system of communications for scholarship in general – and science in particular – to accelerate the process of discovery and improve human lives. Notable past efforts by FORCE11 include the FORCE11 Manifesto, which provided a high-level treatise on the gaps in scholarly communication and recommendations on how to address them. The recent “Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles,” a consensus of principles that guide any system for data citation, has been endorsed by more than 200 individuals and more than 90 organizations worldwide. In addition, FORCE11’s Resource Identification Initiative working group launched a project to overhaul the citation system for research resources (e.g., antibodies) that are uniquely identifiable and machine-processable. Recently featured in a Nature news article, Research Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) have appeared in more than 350 papers and more than 50 journals to date.

“Although numerous digital tools have been created to more effectively communicate published research, they often don’t gain significant adoption across the diverse research community,” said Betsy Fader, Director of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Biomedical Research Infrastructure Program. “Understanding the critical need for community consensus, FORCE11 brings together top researchers, publishers, funders and policymakers to build a shared understanding of how to use technology to enhance research communication and dissemination.” Brooke Rosenzweig, Program Officer for the Trust’s Biomedical Research Infrastructure Program, added: “We are excited for FORCE11 to host these workshops and catalyze a conversation that aims to make real progress toward more efficient research.”

ABOUT FORCE11

FORCE11 is a community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers and research funders that has arisen organically to help facilitate the change toward improved knowledge creation and sharing. Individually and collectively, we aim to bring about a change in modern scholarly communications through the effective use of information technology.

ABOUT THE HELMSLEY CHARITABLE TRUST

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional nonprofits and other mission-aligned organizations in health, selected place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1.4 billion. The Trust’s Biomedical Research Infrastructure Program seeks to lower the barriers for biomedical discovery through the development of research tools, training and collaborative platforms that improve the quality and reproducibility of pre-clinical research.  For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org. 

FORCE11 Contact:  Stephanie Hagstrom

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