Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography/Section II: Community-based and Collaborative Forms of Open Knowledge

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Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography
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Section Overview[edit]

This section addresses collaborative forms of knowledge production in contemporary society and the ubiquity and accessibility of digital tools that facilitate knowledge production. Instead of focusing on collaborations within field-specific or academic contexts, publications in this section focus on interdisciplinary collaborations, on university-community collaborations, and on knowledge production by non-university citizens not affiliated with universities, including crowdsourcing, citizen science, and citizen scholarship. These modes of research have drastically expanded the scope of questions that can be asked. Although the steepest increase in citizen science is seen in the social sciences, it contributes to other disciplines as well. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO), for example, focuses on environmental studies projects and has been practicing citizen science for over twenty years. The CLO has thousands of participants gathering tens of millions of observations each year, demonstrating the power of crowdsourcing and the impact of nonacademic participants on research projects. In their article "Citizen Science: A Developing Tool for Expanding Science Knowledge and Scientific Literacy," CLO researchers provide a model for setting up a successful citizen science project (Bonney et al. 2009). While the article evinces that open social knowledge was being practiced long before the advent of the digital age, its focus is on how open knowledge is currently practiced and systematized. For example, many funding agencies require research organizations and individuals to have a public-facing element to their projects. This can be enacted in multiple ways, such as having community members involved in the project (through citizen science or crowdsourcing) or by openly publishing the data and results.

The 126 entries in this section are divided into 5 distinct categories that range from 10 to 54 annotations each. Categories include:

  1. Community Engagement
  2. Citizen Science
  3. Crowdsourcing
  4. Collaborative Scholarship
  5. Groups/Initiatives/Organizations Discussing Open Social Scholarship

The “Community Engagement” category focuses on university representatives who are invested in creating and maintaining partnerships with community members, often in the form of goal-oriented projects that benefit the broader society. Resources in this section detail the benefits of these partnerships—both for the university and the community—as well as challenges that may arise during this collaboration and how to overcome them. In order to ensure that working with outside groups is professionally rewarding, authors argue for the need for university administrations to formally recognize university-community partnerships. A number of resources also discuss the role of technology in community engagement and collaboration. The "Citizen Science" category includes research initiatives that are partially or wholly conducted by nonscientists, in most cases by volunteers who receive the necessary training to collect and interpret data for a targeted research investigation. The authors generally argue that the rise of citizen science is due to advances in technology that allow the collection of data by non-professionals. Another factor is that funding agencies are increasingly seeking the public’s approval of scientific research endeavours, since taxpayer dollars often fund these initiatives. Moreover, authors unanimously agree that, if done properly, citizen science can go a long way in educating the public, supporting scientific research, and improving the ecological environment through targeted nature-based research. The third category, “Crowdsourcing,” refers to projects built on information gathered by large groups of unrelated individuals through digital means. Crowdsourced data is quickly becoming a common element of many academic projects. The resources collected in this category define crowdsourcing and offer a rich depiction of existing crowdsourcing practices, as well as suggestions for optimal implementation. The “Collaborative Scholarship” category addresses the rise of disciplinary and interdisciplinary research partnerships. An extended study of collaboration throughout the life cycle of the seven-year INKE project is communicated through a series of articles that explore how this collective evolved over time and offer advice about how to develop and maintain productive team relationships, how to effectively integrate new team members into a project, and how to deal with unexpected challenges that may arise in collaborative environments (Siemens 2012, 2012b, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). Overall, this category serves as a solid starting point for those preparing to launch collaborative projects. Finally, the “Groups/Initiatives/Organizations Discussing Open Social Scholarship” category catalogues those who are currently active and engaging with open social scholarship. Advocacy for open access to information is the most dominant trend among the groups listed.


  • Bonney, Rick, Caren B. Cooper, Janis Dickinson, Steve Kelling, Tina Phillips, Kenneth V. Rosenberg, and Jennifer Shirk. 2009. “Citizen Science: A Developing Tool for Expanding Science Knowledge and Scientific Literacy.” BioScience 59 (11): 977–84.
  • Siemens, Lynne. 2015. “‘INKE-cubating’ Research Networks, Projects, and Partnerships: Reflections on INKE’s Fifth Year.” Scholarly and Research Communication 6.4.
Open Social Scholarship Annotated Bibliography
 ← Open Data Section II: Community-based and Collaborative Forms of Open Knowledge Community Engagement →