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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Open Scholarship?

Open Scholarship pulls together various open movements designed to share research for the public good such as open access, open data, digital scholarship, open source, open education/open pedagogy, community engaged work, public scholarship, and citizen science. Colleagues at Electronic Textual Cultures Lab and Implementing New Knowledge Environments Groups describe it best: “Open social scholarship enables the creation, dissemination, and engagement of research by specialists and non-specialists. Because the production of knowledge does not occur solely in standard academic spaces, such as university classrooms or institutional libraries, knowledge dissemination must be comprehensive and public facing. By placing an emphasis on community-driven initiatives, open social scholarship highlights outreach and partnerships in an attempt to bridge the gap between the practices of the university and the goals of the community.” Because we see this new space as a place that unites support for all of these initiatives, bringing them together in conversation with community partners, we have chosen to name this space the Open Scholarship Commons.

Why an Open Scholarship Commons?

The Open Scholarship Commons builds on years of assessment data gathered from the Libraries Triennial Survey, UW digital humanities and digital scholarship needs assessments, UW data visualization and GIS reports, UW space planning reports, and Libraries event reports like “Going Public”. Through these reports, the Open Scholarship Commons Ideation Team noted the need for a central hub supporting the entire research process from the conception of an idea to sharing research for the public good to incorporating new modes of scholarly production into teaching. Currently, researchers, instructors, and students are bounced across a variety of services and supports throughout the university.

For example, a student researching social media trends might need help from a subject librarian for topical research support, the Text and Data Mining Student Specialist (supported by the Libraries and the eScience Institute) for guidance on mining social media, the eScience Institute for a course on python to refine their skills, UW-IT and/or the Research Data Services Librarian for information on storing datasets gathered, the Research Data Services Librarian or the eScience Institute for options to openly share their research dataset and code, the Libraries or the eScience Institute for options on openly publishing their research results, and they might contact the Libraries for support in determining the impact of their research.

A faculty member wishing to update a course to include options for students to share their research openly might contact the Center for Teaching and Learning for best practices in rewriting their curriculum and examples of good digital pedagogy, they might talk with Learning Technologies on university supported tools for teaching, they might talk to the Libraries about our digital publishing tools and digital scholarship infrastructure pilot, they might talk with the digital scholarship librarian about digital scholarship project management, they may talk with the digital scholarship or research data services librarian about hosting considerations for materials collected, they might talk with library staff about student’s digital safety when working openly, they might include a copyright librarian to talk about rights of materials the instructor would like to use and rights students might assign to materials they collect (photos, videos, etc.), they might contact distinctive collections to include materials from those collections in their projects, they might contact metadata librarians for help teaching students critical thinking skills as they describe the objects they are collecting. Finally, through the assessment work collected over the years, users have highlighted the Libraries as a discipline agnostic space and therefore, an ideal place to host a service hub.

How will the OSC address the tension between openness and privacy?

We recognize that there is some work that cannot be shared openly due to privacy and safety concerns of those involved. In these cases, we see the OSC as a space providing access to the technology important in the creation of sensitive research in a safe space where community partners involved in the research creation process feel welcome.

Additionally, the Libraries also hold some research collections that cannot be shared openly online. We hope that the OSC can serve as an access point for researchers interested in using these materials.