July 23, 2019
“...it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” (Red Queen to Alice, "Through the Looking Glass")
A few weeks ago, we at Educopia published the first project deliverable for the “Mapping Scholarly Communication Infrastructure” project, which we’re working on with Middlebury College and TrueBearing Consulting. The deliverable is a report and a set of data visualizations based on our deep dive into the organizational and technical infrastructures of “Scholarly Communication Resources,” (SCRs) or the tools, platforms, and services that undergird and support today’s digital knowledge infrastructures.
The report details our project team’s findings from the Census of Scholarly Communication Infrastructure Providers—a survey we ran this spring (and have recently reopened with IOI) to which 45 programs and organizations willingly gave hours of their time and scads of information about their technical development and design, their fiscal models, their revenue streams and expenditures, their documentation, and their governance and community engagement work.
(THANK YOU TO THOSE GENEROUS FOLKS!!!)
As the report’s lead author, I chose to focus the report squarely on the data we collected. I did not let myself editorialize—or, to be more honest, I tried to cut and edit out all of the loose strands of editorializing that I found myself doing, despite my best intentions.
This blog post is my first attempt to share some of my observations, post-report, that are not based explicitly on the data. They are messier, more speculative, and less about what SCRs are-and-are-not-doing, and more about my thoughts on why so many SCRs are barely surviving year-to-year – especially the SCRs that are operating in close coordination with and oversight by the scholarly community.