A new open educational resource (OER) created at Michigan State University aims to increase understanding of how a values-based approach to scholarly communication can address the challenges of publishing publicly engaged scholarship, with particular emphasis on humanities and social sciences.
This new OER, Publishing Values-based Scholarly Communication, is a collaboration between members of the HuMetricsHSS (Humane Metrics in Humanities and Social Science) initiative, which supports the creation of values-based frameworks to guide all kinds of scholarly processes, and the Publishing and Public Humanities Working Group, whose working paper identifies challenges and model practices associated with publishing engaged work in the humanities.
Catherine Cocks, Interim Director of Michigan State University Press, and Bonnie Russell, Project Manager for MESH Research in MSU’s College of Arts & Letters, have co-authored this new OER with Kath Burton, Humanities Development Director at Routledge, Taylor & Francis.
Funded by a generous grant from The Scholarly Communication Notebook, this OER draws on Russell’s work with the HuMetricsHSS initiative and the efforts of the Publishing and the Publicly Engaged Humanities Working Group that Burton convened and Cocks participated in.
The Publishing Values-based Scholarly Communication OER is now part of The Scholarly Communication Notebook, which is a repository of community-designed and curated open resources for teaching about scholarly communication and for doing scholarly communication work in libraries.
The OER primarily focuses on the underrepresented area of publicly engaged scholarship. It addresses a wide range of Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students and Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals based at universities, especially those whose mission explicitly encompasses engaged scholarship initiatives that provide examples of scholarly communications projects with social justice values such as equity, access, fairness, inclusivity, respect, ethics, and trust deeply embedded in their design.
“Perhaps most important, as professionals focused on the broad circulation of knowledge, librarians can help scholars think through what it means to produce research in service to the public, rather than solely disciplinary aims.”Catherine Cocks, Interim Director of Michigan State University Press
“University-based librarians have important roles to play in publicly engaged research. For scholars, libraries obviously offer crucial resources for conducting research, and some may also be able to provide resources to community organizations,” said Catherine Cocks. “Perhaps most important, as professionals focused on the broad circulation of knowledge, librarians can help scholars think through what it means to produce research in service to the public, rather than solely disciplinary aims.”
Humanities and social science scholars increasingly are doing research with and alongside communities outside the academy. This values-based, publicly engaged scholarship encompasses research, teaching, preservation, and programming conducted in partnership with diverse individuals and communities outside the university. It is intended to deepen and broaden the horizons of scholarship at the same time that it serves the public good in both its processes and outcomes. In short, this kind of research deploys the resources of the humanities to address society’s most pressing challenges.
These collaborative research projects often call for publications quite different from the standard academic journal article or book. Publishing models that support academic success and also include an explicitly values-based approach to scholarly communication are increasingly required. The Publishing Values-based Scholarly Communication OER highlights several projects and incorporates the voices of scholars who are doing this work and finding creative ways to publish it.
To get readers started with values-based, collaborative scholarship, the OER offers the HuMetricsHSS Values Sorter, which was established to assist scholars and scholarly organizations in establishing a values-based approach to guide all kinds of scholarly processes through workshops and interactive tools. The Values Sorter is a self-assessment tool for everyone who wishes to engage in embedding values in their scholarly practices. Cocks, Russell, and Burton look forward to future iterations of the OER that can include examples of effective practice using the Sorter and the HuMetricsHSS values framework. Christopher P. Long, Dean of MSU’s College of Arts & Letters and the Honors College, is a co-founder and co-PI of the HuMetricsHSS initiative.
The Publishing Values-based Scholarly Communication OER takes inspiration from The Scholarly Communication Notebook’s community of practice approach to empowering active engagement across the landscape. The resource also spotlights publicly engaged projects that embed social justice values such as equity, access, fairness, inclusivity, respect, ethics, and trust deeply in their design, including the design of their publications.
More About the Authors:
Catherine Cocks is the Interim Director of the Michigan State University Press and a member of the Publishing and Public Humanities Working Group. She formerly worked with Teresa Mangum and Anne Valk on the Humanities and Public Life series at the University of Iowa Press and continues to be passionate about publicly engaged scholarship.
Bonnie Russell is the Project Manager (and resident librarian) for Humanities Commons and the Digital Specialist for HuMetricsHSS. She has worked with digital humanities scholars since 2012, helping scholars shape projects and identify technology needs. Before coming to MSU, she spent nine years as the technical project manager at the Wayne State University Press, managing the press’s online and digital offerings.
Kath Burton is co-convener of the Publishing and Public Humanities Working Group. With extensive publishing experiences, ranging from commissioning to program management, she now leads the editorial development of the Humanities, Media, and the Arts portfolio at Routledge, Taylor & Francis. Among other interests, Kath helps grow community gardens in Reading, UK.