Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography

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Randa El Khatib, Lindsey Seatter, Tracey El Hajj, and Conrad Leibel, with Alyssa Arbuckle, Ray Siemens, Caroline Winter and the ETCL and INKE Research Group
Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, University of Victoria


This annotated bibliography responds to and contextualizes the growing “Open” movements and recent institutional reorientation towards social, public-facing scholarship. The aim of this document is to present a working definition of open social scholarship through the aggregation and summation of critical resources in the field. Our work surveys foundational publications, innovative research projects, and global organizations that enact the theories and practices of open social scholarship. The bibliography builds on the knowledge creation principles outlined in previous research by broadening the focus beyond conventional academic spaces and reinvigorating central, defining themes with recently published research.

Keywords: community; open; scholarship; social; technology

Introduction: Open Social Scholarship, Theory and Practice[edit]

In his monograph A Social History of Knowledge (2000), Peter Burke defends the sociality of knowledge by conducting a systematic look at knowledge production from the early modern period until today. Burke argues that knowledge is always plural and demonstrates this multiplicity by exploring knowledge production in religious, scholarly, and governmental institutions. Similarly, in The Nature of the Book (1998), Adrian Johns uncovers the social history of print by drawing attention to the various—often unseen—labours of knowledge construction. Like Burke, Johns argues that there is no singular stream of print culture but rather such knowledge is defined by its wide-ranging influences and manifold features. Where Johns focuses on print culture, Christine Borgman examines the digital turn in Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet (2007). Despite a shift in medium, Borgman echoes Johns in her assertion that the inherent social elements of scholarship continue to endure. The persevering social qualities of knowledge—over both time and place—are highlighted by each of these seminal works. As Burke, Johns, Borgman, and others suggest, knowledge persists beyond the borders of the university and has the ability to negotiate diverse spaces, institutions, and communities.

These central tenets of sociality and openness ground open social scholarship as a concept. Open social scholarship enables the creation, dissemination, and engagement of research by specialists and non-specialists in accessible and significant ways. 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.

Over the last few years, the importance of open social scholarship within higher education institutions and aligned research groups has become clear. From 2014 to 2018 the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE; Partnership hosted gatherings for international scholars curated around ideas of open knowledge models, scholarly partnerships, and new modes of production in the university. The proceedings from the 2014, 2015, and 2016 conferences were published in the journal of Scholarly and Research Communication, and the 2017 proceedings are also forthcoming in KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies. These proceedings address topics related to open, digital scholarship: partnerships, prototypes, creativity, implementation, interfaces, audience, initiatives, and sustainability. The forward-facing, networked knowledge production discussed in these collections—by scholars including John Maxwell, Ray Siemens, Susan Brown, and Constance Crompton—is also reflected in this bibliography.

In order to encompass the broad field of open knowledge production and circulation, this bibliography extends its focus beyond academic contexts to encompass the multifarious manifestations of community-based research, including citizen science and citizen scholar projects. Projects are documented in this bibliography as examples of how academic researchers can benefit from partnering with active citizen scholars, such as the large crowdsourced initiative Transcribe Bentham and the Canadian-based Linked Modernisms, (Causer and Terras 2014; Ross, Christie and Sayers 2014). The increasingly popular citizen science and citizen scholarship movements draw attention to research partially or wholly conducted by non-experts, typically volunteers who receive training necessary for collecting and interpreting data for a specific research purpose. Many of the resources included in this bibliography address the challenges of public scholarship and use case studies to explore how to develop an ethical, collaborative, and dialogic university-community partnership (Cantor and Lavine 2006; Silka and Renault-Caragianes 2006).

This bibliography also considers the role of open knowledge and technology in community partnerships and global activism. The advent of digital technology has created unprecedented opportunities to mobilize crowds and rapidly share information with a wide, public audience. The effect of these technological advancements can be recognized in a number of notable movements, such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. The growth of cyberactivism and use of online tools, such as Twitter, in social protest has had a significant impact on promoting political activism, mobilizing certain portions of the society, and enhancing dissemination potentials for activist causes (Sandoval-Almazan and Gil-Garcia 2014). Online platforms provide an opportunity to make social justice movements more visible, and the merging of social justice initiatives with online technologies has made knowledge more dynamic. This bibliography considers how technologies facilitate knowledge management and mobilization, as well as how specialized research can play an active role in burgeoning global justice movements.

Intent and History of the Bibliography[edit]

The “Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography” was compiled in 2015-2016 by a collaborative team at the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL)[1]. This document was inspired by two previous annotated bibliographies authored by ETCL members in collaboration with the INKE Research Group: the initial “Social Knowledge Creation: Three Annotated Bibliographies” (Arbuckle et al. 2013) and an updated version, “An Annotated Bibliography of Social Knowledge Creation” (Arbuckle et al. 2017). The 2013 publication provided a snapshot of contemporary scholarship, initiatives, and research technologies related to social knowledge creation. The later iteration of the bibliography updated the materials with publications authored between 2013 and 2016, and expanded its scope by including resources on crowdsourcing, open access, public humanities, digital publishing, and collaborative games. The 2017 bibliography also provided a definition of social knowledge creation: “acts of collaboration in order to engage in or produce shared cultural data and/or knowledge products” (Arbuckle et al. 2017, 29). This bibliography builds further on the research collected in these two surveys by updating and adding recently published materials on common topics, including crowdsourcing, the history of knowledge production, and the “Open” movements. Additionally, this bibliography collates several entirely new sections that demonstrate the broader, more outward-facing focus of this document, including “Community Engagement” and “Action and Activism.” Given the overlap in subjects, theories, and practices between “An Annotated Bibliography of Social Knowledge Creation” and the “Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography,” replicated entries have been marked with a cross symbol (+). This bibliography aims to capture a particular moment in the open social scholarship movement. Since its compilation, the field has shifted and expanded. As such, this bibliography is necessarily not exhaustive, and future iterations would benefit from an even wider scope that includes additional, diverse open social scholarship resources. In particular, this material could be expanded to include literature on open social scholarship in minority communities, which has grown in prominence since this document’s conception.

The authors of the “Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography” enacted social knowledge creation practices in the assemblage of this bibliography by collaboratively setting the intellectual direction of the work, compiling resources, and annotating them. Research was carried out on platforms that facilitate collaborative research, including Google Drive ( and Zotero ( As scholarship in this area is being rapidly and continually produced, it is important to note that this bibliography is a snapshot of the topics covered, not an exhaustive list. Some resources belong to more than one delineated category, in which case duplicated entries have been marked with two asterisks (**) after their first appearance.

The intention of this document is to present a working definition of open social scholarship through the aggregation and summation of critical resources in the field. As the environmental scan demonstrates, open knowledge practices date back hundreds of years. The exchange of scholarly information can be observed in the publication of historical journals, the development of public libraries, and, contemporarily, through access to online resources and the various “Open” movements: Open Access, Open Source, Open Education, and Open Data. The iterative dialogue between academic, alternative-academic, and community-based audiences is central to the principles of open social scholarship. For this reason, the bibliography pays particular attention to models for university-community partnerships through crowdsourcing or other forms of collaboration. Further, this bibliography demonstrates that open social scholarship practices are not only present in institutional, formal scholarship but also manifest increasingly in grassroots, social movements. The objectives of this bibliography are to draw together various examples of knowledge output, and to highlight their points of intersection.

Table of Contents[edit]

Section I: Forms of Open Knowledge[edit]

Section II: Community-based and Collaborative Forms of Open Knowledge [edit]

Section III: Knowledge in Action[edit]

Complete Reference List[edit]


  1. The Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) is a research lab at the University of Victoria, Canada, directed by Dr. Ray Siemens. It serves as an intellectual hub for about 20 local faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars. Through a series of highly collaborative relationships, the ETCL’s international community comprises over 300 researchers. The ETCL welcomes more than 800 students per year through their organization of the annual Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) and INKE.

Reference List[edit]

  • Arbuckle, Alyssa, Nina Belojevic, Tracey El Hajj, Randa El Khatib, Lindsey Seatter, and Raymond G. Siemens, with Alex Christie, Matthew Hiebert, Jon Saklofske, Jentery Sayers, Derek Siemens, Shaun Wong, and the INKE and ETCL Research Groups. 2017. “An Annotated Bibliography of Social Knowledge Creation.” In Social Knowledge Creation in the Humanities, edited by Alyssa Arbuckle, Aaron Mauro, and Daniel Powell, 29-264. Arizona: Iter Academic Press and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
  • Arbuckle, Alyssa, Nina Belojevic, Matthew Hiebert, and Ray Siemens, with Shaun Wong, Alex Christie, Jon Saklofske, Jentery Sayers, and with the INKE and ETCL Research Groups. 2014. “Social Knowledge Creation: Three Annotated Bibliographies.” Scholarly and Research Communication 5.2.
  • 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: Polity Press.
  • Cantor, Nancy, and Steve D. Lavine. 2006. “Taking Public Scholarship Seriously.” The Chronicle Review 52 (40): B20.
  • Causer, Tim, and Melissa Terras. 2014. “Crowdsourcing Bentham: Beyond the Traditional Boundaries of Academic History.” International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 8 (1): 46–64.
  • Johns, Adrian. 1998. The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Sandoval-Almazan, Rodrigo, and J. Ramon Gil-Garcia. 2014. “Towards Cyberactivism 2.0? Understanding the Use of Social Media and Other Information Technologies for Political Activism and Social Movements.” Government Information Quarterly 31 (3): 365–78.
  • Silka, Linda, and Paulette Renault-Caragianes. 2006. “Community-University Research Partnerships: Devising a Model for Ethical Engagement.” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement 11 (2): 171–83.