INKE at Congress 2018: Collaboration and Community in Open, Social Scholarship

Posted on Jul 18, 2018

At the end of May, more than 5000 scholars and members of the academic community gathered at the University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, for the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the largest annual gathering of scholars in Canada. At Congress, INKE hosted an event called Collaboration and Community in Open Social Scholarship that included short talks, demonstrations, and discussions about academic collaboration and community in the context of open social scholarship. The presentations depicted how INKE Partnership member organizations are furthering open social scholarship in Canada, discussed ideas related to infrastructure necessary for open social scholarship, and presented ideas and resources related to the practice of open social scholarship.

In the context of open social scholarship, many of the presentations explicitly focused on dedicated organizations and initiatives, both in Canada and international. Ray Siemens began the event with his talk, “The INKE Partnership and Engaging Social Knowledge,” where he introduced the INKE Partnership and one of its key initiatives, the Canadian Social Knowledge Institute (C-SKI;, located in the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL; at the University of Victoria. Its mandate is to represent, coordinate, and support the work of the INKE Partnership through awareness raising, knowledge mobilization, training, public engagement, scholarly communication, and pertinent research and development on local, national, and international levels. Clare Appavoo of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN; shared information about CRKN’s partnerships in her talk, “CRKN’s Collaborative Approach to Advancing Open Social Scholarship.” CRKN advances open social scholarship through collaborations through a number of partnered initiatives, including Coalition and ORCID-CA. Appavoo also provided an update on CRKN’s recent merger with Canadiana. Kevin Stranack discussed work conducted by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP; in his presentation, “The Public Knowledge Project: Reflections and Directions After Two Decades.” In 2017, the PKP received a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to conduct a community consultation to help learn about how the Project is perceived by the broader scholarly publishing community. Stranack discussed the results of this consultation and how these results are influencing the PKP’s plans for the future. In her talk “Open Social Scholarship Initiatives,” Alyssa Arbuckle from the University of Victoria described two initiatives of the INKE Partnership, their current status, and their future directions: the Canadian HSS Commons and the Open Scholarship Policy Observatory. Using HUBzero as a developmental base, and working with Compute Canada and CANARIE, the Canadian HSS Commons borrows and adapts aspects of the Modern Language Association’s Humanities Commons to foster an environment for Canadian humanities and social science researchers to share, access, repurpose, and develop scholarly data, tools, and resources. The Open Scholarship Policy Observatory helps partners and stakeholders, along with local institutions, associations, consortia, and government bodies to develop timely and responsive policies. It does this by collecting research, tracking findings and national and international policy changes, and facilitating understanding of open social scholarship across Canada and internationally.

Further presentations centred on open social scholarship infrastructure issues. Tanja Niemann of Érudit ( discussed the need for an open, non-commercial, academy-controlled infrastructure for scholarly publishing in her lightning talk, “ Open, Social Scholarship Needs Open Scholarly Infrastructure.” She provided an overview of the Coalition project and an update on its progress. John Simpson summarized the resources and support available for Canadian researchers and research projects through Compute Canada in his paper, “Research Computing Beyond Your Desktop.” These resources include cloud solutions, high performance computing, and storage options.

The remaining presentations focused on the practice of open social scholarship. Constance Crompton of the University of Ottawa and the Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada project presented a paper called “Calling All Specialists: Contributing to Wikipedia, Contributing to the Web,” in which she argued for the importance of students, librarians and instructors to contribute to Wikipedia and presented best practices for open social scholarship on that site. The advantages of mobilizing knowledge in this way, Crompton argued, extends beyond human readers to algorithms that shape our experience of knowledge domains online. Finally, in their paper “The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC),” Kim Martin and Susan Brown from the University of Guelph’s CWRC ( discussed how the CWRC supports the production and dissemination of open scholarship and scholarly collaboration through the use of linked open data.

Taken together, the presentations at this Congress event engaged the underpinnings of open scholarship and presented numerous examples of initiatives serving our community. Audience discussion focused on core issues in open social scholarship like implementation, community standards, and best practices for public engagement. These conversations will continue at the upcoming annual INKE Partnership gathering in January 2019 in Victoria, “Understanding & Enacting Open Scholarship.”

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