A summer institute for teaching and learning about Scholarly Communication: Getting ready for FSCI 2.0

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The program committee for the Force 11 Scholarly Communications Institute (FSCI) is in the process of putting together the schedule of courses for FSCI 2018—Or perhaps we might want to call it FSCI 2.0.

Force11 (The Future of Research Communication and e-Scholarship) is a community of scholars, librarians, publishers, funders, and research administrators that facilitates change in modern networked Scholarly Communications through the promotion of best practice and by encouraging like-minded individuals to pursue blue-sky ideas. It was founded in 2011 (hence the 11 in Force11) at a Dagstuhl workshop by some of the leading voices in scholarly communication. Since then it has grown into a movement of people interested in furthering Open and FAIR Scholarly Communication.

We proposed FSCI 2017 as an experiment in mobilising this community’s expertise. Through its collaborations, partnerships, working groups, and conferences, Force11 has established itself as a leading source of innovation in Scholarly Communication. The question we attempted to address was whether Force11 could also help move this innovation out from the lab and manifesto and into the daily practice of the researchers, librarians, publishers, and users that represent the ultimate community of all Scholarly Communication.

This was not supposed to be a one-way lecture, the expert to the novice. Basing our work instead on the almost 20-year history of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), we envisioned FSCI as a community event: a place where you could teach what you knew and learn what you did not. Our instructors were volunteers. They proposed their own courses. They were also students in courses by their colleagues.

This provided a great experience—for both the expert and the novice in scholarly communication. When you attended a FSCI class, or simply came in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the campus dining hall, you never knew who was going to be sitting beside you: a rookie Scholarly Comm librarian, perhaps; the representative of a major publisher; or perhaps a thought-leader whose blog you follow for the latest news on data citation or peer review. Everybody was learning from everybody else. There was nobody for whom FSCI was just an extension of the “same crowd” they always see at conferences or other events in their “home” disciplines.

FSCI 2018 will sharpen and develop the FSCI 2017 spirit. We’ve learned more about what kinds of topics, formats, and types of instruction work best for this kind of community mobilization and we’ve received excellent–—and very constructive—feedback from last year’s participants. With new plans in the works for institutional partnerships and affiliations—companies, institutions, and societies, for example, will be able to sponsor FSCI and receive a discount for their members in return—we are expecting this second iteration to establish the Institute as the place to learn the latest developments in Scholarly Communication from the people who are making those developments happen.

FSCI 2018 will be held at UCSD in La Jolla, California, July 30 - August 3, 2018. The full program, along with options to register, will be available soon. Join the FORCE11 community or follow us on Twitter (@force11rescomm).


About Daniel O'Donnell

I am a Professor of English at the University of Lethbridge, where I teach Old English, History of the Book, Medieval Literature, Language, and... More

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