Engaging Open Scholarship

Alyssa Arbuckle 

Dr. Alyssa Arbuckle is the Associate Director of the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) at the University of Victoria, where she is Operational Lead for the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership and a co-facilitator of its Connection cluster. She is a member of the Directorial Group and the Operational Team for the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). Alyssa also holds an Interdisciplinary PhD from the University of Victoria, focusing on open social scholarship and its implementation. She holds a BA Honours in English from the University of British Columbia and an MA in English from the University of Victoria, where her previous studies centred around digital humanities, new media, and contemporary American literature. Currently, she explores open access, digital publishing, and how we can share academic research more broadly. To this end, Alyssa’s work has appeared in Digital Studies, Digital Humanities Quarterly, KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies, and Scholarly and Research Communication, among other venues, and she has recently co-edited print and online book collections titled Social Knowledge Creation in the Humanities and Feminist War Games?: Mechanisms of War, Feminist Values, and Interventional Games.

University of Victoria

Graham Jensen 

Graham Jensen is a Mitacs Elevate / Accelerate Industrial Postdoctoral Fellow in Open, Collaborative Scholarship (Arts & Humanities)—an appointment that extends and enlarges his role as an INKE Partnership Postdoctoral Fellow in Open Social Scholarship in the ETCL. He is also Principal Investigator of the Canadian Modernist Magazines Project. Previously, he was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in English at the University of Victoria. His research interests include twentieth and twenty-first-century Canadian literatures, global modernisms, literature and religion, and digital humanities approaches to open publishing and pedagogy.

University of Victoria

Tully Barnett 

Tully Barnett is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries at Flinders University in South Australia. She is an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow for a project called ‘Digitization and the Immersive Reading Experience”. She is a Chief Investigator for the ARC funded projects “Laboratory Adelaide: The Value of Culture” and ‘Slow Digitization, community heritage and the objects of Martindale Hall’. She is a member of the executive board of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities and the advisory board of the Australasian Consortium for Humanities Researchers and Centres.

Flinders University

Ray Siemens 

Ray Siemens ( is Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Victoria, Canada, in English and Computer Science, and past Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing; in 2019, he was also Leverhulme Visiting Professor at U Loughborough and, 2019-22, Global Innovation Chair in Digital Humanities in the Centre for 21st Century Humanities at U Newcastle. He is founding editor of the electronic scholarly journal Early Modern Literary Studies, and his publications include, among others, Blackwell's Companion to Digital Humanities (2004, 2015 with Schreibman and Unsworth), Blackwell's Companion to Digital Literary Studies (2007, with Schreibman), A Social Edition of the Devonshire MS (2012, 2015; MRTS/Iter & Wikibooks, with Crompton et al.), Literary Studies in the Digital Age (2014; MLA, with Price), Doing Digital Humanities (2017; Routledge, with Crompton and Lane), and The Lyrics of the Henry VIII MS (2018; RETS). He directs the Implementing New Knowledge Environments project, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, and the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, recently serving as a member of governing council for the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, as Vice President / Director of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences (for Research Dissemination), Chair of the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions, and Chair of the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.

University of Victoria

November 09, 2021 

Over the past decade, open scholarship has become a key component of our increasingly networked world. Open scholarship encompasses open access to research, open datasets of academic and government material, and open educational resources. Proponents for open scholarship assert that in order to reach its full potential research output needs to be widely accessible to many different communities, instead of locked behind paywalls or presented in unfindable or incomprehensible formats (Eve 2014; Fitzpatrick 2011, 2019; Willinsky 2006). This idea is gaining prominence in institutional, governmental, and international contexts as public calls for accountability grow and library budgets shrink due to mounting costs of research access.

For several years now, the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership1 has considered the concept of open social scholarship: “academic practice that enables the creation, dissemination, and engagement of open research by specialists and non-specialists in accessible and significant ways” (INKE Partnership n.d.). Open social scholarship builds on the already complex and layered concept of open scholarship. This mode of engagement recognizes that scholarly communication is more than the mere reproduction and sharing of data, and pushes into spaces of social connection and engagement. Open social scholarship takes seriously the possibilities of engaging across publics and working alongside those who are not always considered to be authoritative knowledge creators. And yet, as Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein remind their readers in Data Feminism (2020), even activities like crowdsourcing can be fraught with challenges around who does and does not have the time—and thus, resources—to participate (180). Charlotte Roh, Harrison W. Inefuku, and Emily Drabinski suggest “scholarly communications is a series of material practices that could be constructed otherwise—rooted in equity and justice rather [than] colonization and dominance” (2020, 49). This transformative time for scholarly communication raises questions around what should be left behind in the transition from closed, academic-only publishing to more openly accessible and collaborative methods, while also acknowledging and drawing on the social aspects of much pre-digital scholarship (see, e.g., Benkler 2006; Bollier 2006; Borgman 2007; Burke 2000, 2012; Siemens 2002). Open social scholarship provides opportunities to reimagine what research and scholarship might be for a present and a future facing significant challenges. The current problematizing and reimagining of scholarly communication is crucial, and reflects an evolving and emerging set of values also connected to open social scholarship as an idea and mode of activity.

In December 2020, participants at a Canadian–Australian event called Engaging Open Social Scholarship considered many of the issues, concerns, and hot topics at work in open social scholarship. This combined event built on previous years’ meetings and discussions of both the INKE Partnership and the Canadian–Australian Partnership for Open Scholarship (CAPOS).2 Engaging Open Social Scholarship represented the second annual gathering of the CAPOS group and the eighth annual winter gathering of the INKE Partnership. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, Engaging Open Social Scholarship was an online event spanning three days. This format allowed for over 200 students, librarians, researchers, and administrators from around the world to discuss current and future endeavours in, and strategies for, open social scholarship, including specific deliberations on scholarly communication, open access, and community engagement. Event presenters hailed from Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, with registered attendees from all of these nations as well as Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Egypt, India, Lebanon, South Africa, and Turkey. Such a global constituency provided multiple perspectives on open scholarship considerations across geographic contexts. This special issue is representative of some of the key event proceedings and discussions from Engaging Open Social Scholarship.

The INKE Partnership is a North American-based research network with the goal of fostering open social scholarship, as noted above. For over a decade, the INKE Partnership has brought together experts and leaders with the aim of realizing open, inclusive, and publicly engaged scholarship that serves both academic interests and society at large. This group includes researchers, partners, librarians, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and research staff from across Canada as well as Australia. Coordinated by the Canadian Social Knowledge Institute (C-SKI)3 at the University of Victoria, the INKE Partnership works to address challenges with scholarly communication by providing broad access to research, community training, public engagement, and policy recommendations. This public-facing work helps to make open social scholarship in Canada both viable and usable.

CAPOS is a collaboration between Canadian and Australian researchers, policy makers, libraries, computing organizations, research groups, and postsecondary institutions to advance the understanding of, and resolve crucial issues in, the production, distribution, and engagement of scholarship that is open and digital. This partnership draws on both countries’ positive track records of participating in and influencing the international consideration of open social scholarship issues. CAPOS works towards implementing elements of open scholarship policy and practice from the international sphere in national, regional, and local contexts—work that is possible because of the complementarity of governmental and academic institutional structures and legal frameworks in Canada and Australia. In sum, CAPOS aims to make open scholarship more efficient and more impactful for the specific national contexts of Canada and Australia, while feeding back into and participating in larger, global conversations around the creation, sharing, and preservation of research outputs.

INKE Partnership and CAPOS goals and objectives run through this special issue, and the 10 articles included can be grouped into the following categories: Activities & Initiatives, Community Standards & Approaches, and Proposals for Change. These categories are representative of key elements of open social scholarship. Some authors discuss ongoing projects, studies, or initiatives they are undertaking in open, digital contexts, while others comment on current or proposed methods that increase the efficiency or breadth of our shared work. Still other contributors reflect on their visions for the future of open scholarship. The first grouping, Activities & Initiatives, brings together authors who undertake open social scholarship on the ground. Chris Adamson argues for the value of public scholarship in contemporary academia and provides insight into a public scholarship workshop he coordinated with colleagues at the University of South Dakota. In their paper, Rachel Starry and Krystal Boehlert describe the history of a digital scholarship event series hosted virtually by the authors’ home institution (University of California, Riverside). The authors outline the evolution of the series as they attempted to build community remotely during a pandemic, incorporate participants’ feedback, and plan future iterations of the series. Geoffrey Rockwell, Kaylin Land, and Andrew MacDonald explore Spyral, a notebook environment that allows scholars to combine code, step-by-step instructions in unstructured text, and research outputs for others to learn from and replicate. They also discuss how this notebook model promotes collaboration in a way that challenges the idea of scholarship as a solitary endeavour. In his contribution, Mark Turin traces the history and open-access approach to monograph publication of the Open Book Publishers’ World Oral Literature series. In the process, Turin details some of the exploitative and otherwise problematic practices of certain academic presses before concluding with a call for open, equitable, and innovative forms of publication.

The second cluster, Community Standards & Approaches, presents work on how open scholarship is undertaken and where there is room for improvement. Lisa Goddard discusses Persistent Identifiers (PIDs), which are used to provide stable references to an individual's research publications. She glosses key features, well-known examples of PIDs, and some of the primary benefits and challenges associated with identifiers from a variety of research environment perspectives. In their paper, Luis Meneses, Lynne Siemens, Ray Siemens, and William R. Bowen consider best practices for large-scale digital, collaborative projects, providing concrete examples. In “Political Economy and Diplomatics of Open Social Scholarship,” Shawn Martin addresses the problem of governance in the field of scholarly communication. He brings theoretical approaches to regulation, professional communication, and diplomatics (from history, sociology, and information science, respectively) to bear on current bibliodiversity conversations and practices.

The third grouping of papers, Proposals for Change, draws together papers that examine where and how open social scholarship could evolve. Danny Kingsley argues that there are insufficient training opportunities in the realm of open scholarship. One strategic approach to this issue, Kingsley argues, would be to develop an international curriculum that standardizes open scholarship skill training, with a focus on reproducibility as well as research quality and integrity. Amanda Lawrence takes issue with the term grey literature, arguing that it is too general and too broad to be useful. Such generic categorization is a challenge to the viability of varied knowledge outputs, claims Lawrence, since “without appropriate terminology for this diverse publishing ecosystem it is overlooked and therefore not managed effectively and efficiently with appropriate standards and infrastructure.” Reflecting on her featured talk from Engaging Open Social Scholarship, Roxanne Missingham suggests that graduate theses and dissertations should become much more prominent in the current digital scholarly communication ecosystem, including through open access publication.

As the contributions included in this special issue demonstrate, there are many different facets of open social scholarship. Across CAPOS and the INKE Partnership, researchers, librarians, academic staff, students, and emerging scholars are considering what it means to do their work more openly and more socially. In Generous Thinking, Kathleen Fitzpatrick writes: “Making our work more available is the first step in creating a richer connection with readers outside our inner circles, readers who might not only care about what we do but be encouraged to support it” (2019, 137). The contributors included here take availability and access seriously and build off of such availability and access to foster those richer connections across and among varied communities. Such commitment is critical for an increase in engagement with open social scholarship, now and in the future.

Works Cited

Arbuckle, Alyssa, Alex Christie, and Lynne Siemens, with Aaron Mauro and the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Research Group, eds. 2016. Special Issue, Scholarly and Research Communication 7 (2). Proceedings of the INKE-hosted gathering “New Knowledge Models: Sustaining Partnerships to Transform Scholarly Production,” 19 January 2016, Whistler, BC, Canada.

Arbuckle, Alyssa, Constance Crompton, and Aaron Mauro, eds. 2014. Special Issue, Scholarly and Research Communication 5 (4). Proceedings of the INKE-hosted gathering “Building Partnerships to Transform Scholarly Production,” 5–6 February 2014, Whistler, BC, Canada.

Arbuckle, Alyssa, Rachel Hendery, Luis Meneses, and Ray Siemens, eds. 2020. Special Issue, Pop! Public. Open. Participatory 2. Combined proceedings of the INKE-hosted gathering “Open Scholarship for the 2020s,” 14–15 January 2020, Victoria, BC, Canada, and the CAPOS-hosted gathering “Knowledge Creation in the 21st Century,” 6–7 December 2019, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.

Arbuckle, Alyssa, Aaron Mauro, and Lynne Siemens, eds. 2015. Special Issue, Scholarly and Research Communication 6 (2), 6 (3), 6 (4). Proceedings of the INKE-hosted gatherings “Research Foundations for Understanding Books and Reading in the Digital Age: Emerging Reading, Writing, and Research Practices,” 8 December 2014, Sydney, NSW, Australia, and “Sustaining Partnerships to Transform Scholarly Production,” 27 January 2015, Whistler, BC, Canada.

Arbuckle, Alyssa, Luis Meneses, and Ray Siemens, eds. 2019. Special Issue, Pop! Public. Open. Participatory 1 (1). Proceedings of the INKE-hosted gathering “Understanding and Enacting Open Scholarship,” 16–17 January 2019, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Benkler, Yochai. 2006. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Bollier, David. 2006. “The Growth of the Commons Paradigm.” In Understanding Knowledge As a Commons: From Theory to Practice, edited by Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, 27–40. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Borgman, Christine. 2007. Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Burke, Peter. 2000. A Social History of Knowledge: From Gutenberg to Diderot. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

———. 2012. A Social History of Knowledge II: From the Encyclopédie to Wikipedia. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

D'Ignazio, Catherine, and Lauren F. Klein. 2020. Data Feminism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Eve, Martin Paul. 2014. Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies, and the Future. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. 2019. Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

———. 2011. Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy. New York: New York University Press.

Huculak, J. Matthew. 2019. “The Methodologies of Open Social Scholarship.” KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 3 (1): 1. DOI: []{.ul}

INKE Partnership. n.d. “About INKE.” []{.ul}.

Meneses, Luis, Alyssa Arbuckle, and Ray Siemens, eds. 2019. Special Issue, KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 3(1). Proceedings of the INKE-hosted gathering “Beyond Open: Implementing Social Scholarship,” 10–11 January 2018, Victoria, BC, Canada.

Roh, Charlotte, Harrison W. Inefuku, and Emily Drabinski. 2020. “Scholarly Communications and Social Justice.” In Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access, by Martin Paul Eve and Jonathan Gray, 41–52. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Siemens, Raymond G. 2002. “Scholarly Publishing at its Source, and at Present.” In The Credibility of Electronic Publishing: A Report to the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada, compiled by Raymond G. Siemens, Michael Best, Elizabeth Grove-White, Alan Burk, James Kerr, Andy Pope, Jean-Claude Guédon, Geoffrey Rockwell, and Lynne Siemens. TEXT Technology 11 (1): 1–128.

Willinsky, John. 2006. The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  1. For more information on the INKE Partnership see For
    the proceedings from previous gatherings see Arbuckle, Hendery, Meneses, and Siemens 2020; Arbuckle, Meneses, and Siemens 2019; Meneses, Arbuckle, and Siemens 2019; Huculak 2019; Arbuckle, Christie, Siemens, et al. 2016; Arbuckle, Mauro, and Siemens 2015; Arbuckle, Crompton, and Mauro 2014. 

  2. See for more information on CAPOS. 

  3. See