An Open Social Scholarship Path for the Humanities

  • Alyssa Arbuckle orcid logo (University of Victoria)
  • Ray Siemens (University of Victoria)
  • Jon Bath (University of Saskatchewan)
  • Constance Crompton (University of Ottawa)
  • Laura Estill (St. Francis Xavier University)
  • Tanja Niemann (Université de Montréal)
  • Jon Saklofske (Acadia University)
  • Lynne Siemens (University of Victoria)


Open digital scholarship is significant for facilitating public access to and engagement with research, and as a foundation for growing digital scholarly infrastructure around the world today and in the future. But the path to adopting open, digital scholarship on a national—never mind international—scale is challenged by several real, pragmatic issues. In this article, we consider these issues as well as proactive strategies for the realization of robust, inclusive, publicly engaged, open scholarship in digital form. We draw on the INKE Partnership’s central goal of fostering open social scholarship (academic practice that enables the creation, dissemination, and engagement of open research by specialists and non-specialists in accessible and significant ways). In doing so, we look to pursue more open, and more social, scholarly activities through knowledge mobilization, community training, public engagement, and policy recommendations in order to understand and address challenges facing digital scholarly communication. We then provide tangible details, outlining how the INKE Partnership puts open social scholarship theory into practice, with an eye to a more open and engaged future.

Keywords: open social scholarship, open access, humanities, public engagement

How to Cite:

Arbuckle, A., Siemens, R., Bath, J., Crompton, C., Estill, L., Niemann, T., Saklofske, J. & Siemens, L., (2022) “An Open Social Scholarship Path for the Humanities”, The Journal of Electronic Publishing 25(2). doi:



Published on
09 Dec 2022
Peer Reviewed

For decades, academic research circulated primarily among universities and those who work or study at them. Scholarship was produced by scholars for scholars. Now, the twin development of networked technology and the Open Access movement has reoriented access to, as well as the creation and impact of, academic research. Scholarship that is both digital and open can facilitate broad, public access to and engagement with research—not just access for scholars. Such a research modality serves as a foundation for growing digital scholarly infrastructure around the world. But the path to adopting open, digital scholarship on a national (never mind international) scale is challenged by a number of very real, pragmatic issues. From an economic sustainability perspective, institutions have experienced difficulty in maintaining access to publicly funded research as journal, monograph, and digital scholarship costs rise and patterns of usage change. Appropriate, national-level infrastructure for developing research, sharing output, and networking with colleagues is lacking. Academics who wish to engage with broader research communities can be actively discouraged from doing so by institutional practices that do not acknowledge or reward such activity. Moreover, limited training and resources exist for academics and communities outside of academia who wish to collaborate or to implement progressive open access policies in ways that meet the needs of all users and stakeholders. Situated in this context, we document a pragmatic, action-oriented, community-based intervention, with an eye to the paths and possibilities that such response and action can engender. The thinking and writing that follow are informed by our roles as co-facilitators of the community-based Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership.1

Addressing the challenges noted above is a complex task, a task that academic scholars cannot tackle and resolve alone. The scholarly publishing ecosystem, as a heterogeneous confluence of forces, undergirds all open digital scholarship discussions. Considering the nationally situated context in which our group works in particular, the Canadian Scholarly Publishing Working Group notes “there is not a single solution that will bring about changes in the scholarly publishing environment in Canada to ensure sustainability and address current challenges” (Canadian Scholarly Publishing Working Group 2017, 4; emphasis added). Nevertheless, there are multiple effective ways to approach this complex situation and, in doing so, to openly and productively set the stage for future work. In what follows we will consider the current state of open, digital scholarship and activities that could counter some of the challenges outlined above, with a particular consideration of the humanities in Canada. We suggest that a fuller embrace of open scholarship could ensure that this community takes the lead on and further develops a collaborative and publicly responsive trajectory.

Our work here is situated in the North American academic context and therefore in relation to specific scholarly structures, although we recognize that there are similarities across geographic areas. Of particular note in this context is the Canadian-Australian Partnership for Open Scholarship, which the INKE Partnership founded in 2018 alongside Australasian colleagues and organizations.2 We do not intend to provide the INKE Partnership as a case study, but we do want to acknowledge that this community—made up of scholars, policy makers, libraries, research computing organizations, targeted interest groups, and postsecondary institutions—has come together for nearly a decade to consult on and contribute to proactive strategies for the realization of robust, inclusive, publicly engaged, open scholarship in digital form. The INKE Partnership’s central goal is to foster open social scholarship: academic practice that enables the creation, dissemination, and engagement of open research by specialists and non-specialists in accessible and significant ways (INKE Partnership n.d.; Powell, Mauro, and Arbuckle 2017, 3). In seeking this goal, we look to pursue more open, and more social, scholarly activities through knowledge mobilization, community training, public engagement, and policy recommendations in order to understand and address challenges facing digital scholarly communication. Later in this article we will make note of our current and planned activities to illuminate how the INKE Partnership puts open social scholarship theory into practice, in service of a more open and engaged future.

Part 1. Contexts for Open Social Scholarship: A Select Literature Review

Open social scholarship is situated within fast-moving and evolving knowledge production, community engagement, and scholarly communication practices. It spans intersecting areas of new media, digital humanities, and publishing studies, as well as open access, digital publishing, and data management. Leading scholarly communication researcher Kathleen Fitzpatrick contextualizes these many threads within a framework of public engagement in her book Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy: “As we build the university of the future, we must find ways to demonstrate our service to [the] public good, to model the open dialogic community through our scholarly networks, and to show plainly why the conversations we engage in matter. For all these reasons, access to the work that we produce must be opened up as a site of conversation not just among scholars but also between scholars and the broader culture” (2011, 174). In what follows we will review some of the many contexts and facets of open scholarship, with Fitzpatrick’s exhortation as a guide. In doing so, we hope to provide a snapshot of the landscape that open social scholarship emerges from, including within the Canadian policy context.3

Although the implementation and widespread uptake of digital scholarship may seem relatively recent, the impetus is not new, with published reports surfacing as early as 25 years ago.4 In 2004, Herbert Van de Sompel and colleagues targeted academic journals and argued for an improved digital-based system; in 2007, Christine Borgman analyzed related infrastructures and the role of technology in their ongoing development. Research methods and tools continue to evolve today, and scholarly communication is well on its way to transforming from a closed, print-centric culture to an open network of researchers, organizations, and institutions.5 Nonetheless, as Juan Pablo Alperin and his co-authors (2019) point out, adequate professional support and acknowledgment for these activities are still in development.

Recent literature acknowledges that the widespread adoption of computing has led to research-based exploration and innovation in scholarly communication.6 Earlier research confirms the growing momentum for social models of scholarly research and communication that connect academics with one another and with the communities they serve.7 A touchstone example of collaborative activity in this space is crowdsourcing, which brings together diverse individuals to work on shared cultural, historical, or research initiatives. Multiple researchers have explored the conceptual framework and pragmatic elements of crowdsourcing within the scholarly context.8 Frequently, this sort of work is taken up by those in the digital humanities, a field that attracts practitioners with a theoretical understanding of knowledge creation as well as the skills to modify existing forms of (or create new tools and platforms for) digital knowledge production and sharing.

Digital humanists often encourage open social scholarship by using technology to engage with members of the public who may not be traditionally aligned with, or an expected audience for, academic work (see Arbuckle and Siemens 2015). Such activity is part of a larger, multifaceted movement toward social knowledge creation, an approach we have described with colleagues as “acts of collaboration in order to engage in or produce shared cultural data and/or knowledge products” (Arbuckle et al. 2017, 30). There are many different approaches to social knowledge creation and open social scholarship in the digital humanities and digital scholarship realms. For instance, Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Digital Scholarship Susan Brown leads the Linked Infrastructure for Networked Cultural Scholarship (LINCS) project (, which is working toward a pan-Canadian networked linked data infrastructure for research (Brown and Simpson 2014; Brown and Simpson 2015). Iter Community ( is an evolving collaborative research environment that aims to facilitate social knowledge creation practices for communities that use Iter’s discovery tools and publication platforms (Bowen, Hiebert, and Crompton 2014; Hiebert, Bowen, and Siemens 2015). The Social Media Engine is a tool that extracts topics from research articles of a given corpus and matches them to ongoing social media discussions (Meneses, Arbuckle, Lopez et al. 2019). Rounding out this sample of a much larger list of innovative projects, A Social Edition of the Devonshire Manuscript is an open access, editable Wikibooks edition of a 16th-century verse miscellany (Crompton et al. 2013; Crompton, Siemens et al. 2015; Siemens et al. 2012). Christian Vandendorpe (2012) has also written on the value of academics working on Wikipedia to broaden public engagement, and many others have discussed the open social scholarship potential of academic publishing.9

The continuing success of such initiatives depends on a commitment to open access and open source philosophies that broaden opportunities for more productive, universal design and use of knowledge, as Martin Paul Eve (2014) and Danny Kingsley (2013) have espoused. The benefits of open access are wide ranging; as longtime open access advocate Peter Suber asserts, “[open access] benefits literally everyone, for the same reasons that research itself benefits literally everyone” (2012, ix). There are multiple benefits to open access, but John Maxwell (2015), Heidi McGregor and Kevin Guthrie (2015), and Alice Meadows (2015) agree: simple access to research output does not suffice—research must also be understandable and usable. Moreover, close attention must be paid to the development of infrastructure for open scholarship, and the political economy of knowledge reveals that the ways we produce knowledge have significant social and global ramifications.10 From the Canadian perspective, the Council of Canadian Academies asserts that “national prosperity, competitiveness, and wellbeing are inextricably linked to the capacity to participate in and benefit from research, development, and innovation” (2018, xv). This capacity only grows in an open system, which has an inherent influence on society and global economics, according to Jonathan Tennant and his co-authors (2019).

Finally, policy and vision documents from organizations that outline current issues have formed a substantial backdrop for digital scholarship in Canada, especially over the last decade. In 2015, the Tri-Agency released an Open Access Policy on Publications (Government of Canada) and the Canadian Association for Research Libraries published advocacy documents for author rights; in 2017, the Public Knowledge Project released the Open Access Publishing Cooperative Study (Naim, Willinsky, and Stranack 2017). Broad-view concepts include the preliminary report on the Canadian Research Knowledge Network’s Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem, which models a partnered, developmental approach to supporting a strong, national digital scholarly community (Ridley and Pagotto 2014); their 2019–2024 strategic plan builds on these earlier explorations and presents a bold commitment to transforming scholarly communication (Canadian Research Knowledge Network 2019). The Leadership Council for Digital Research Infrastructure’s “Think Piece” on a DI [Digital Infrastructure] Roadmap (2014) identifies key digital ecosystem components and governance strategies, echoed by the Tri-Council on digital research infrastructure strategy (Government of Canada, Industry Canada 2015). Compute Canada (2014) has publicly committed to the support and development of open source platforms and portals, while Research Data Canada’s (2013) response to the Tri-Council consultation on digital scholarship highlights stewardship, stakeholder coordination, and capacity development, and their draft statement of data management principles (Research Data Canada 2015) indicates priorities also articulated in the Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management (Government of Canada 2017). The challenges, priorities, and recommendations outlined in these documents build on research into the past, present, and future of scholarly communication in Canada. Collectively, these materials both acknowledge the importance of open scholarship and shape digital research infrastructure in Canada, moving forward.

Part 2. Open Social Scholarship Now and in the Future

Much of the work cited above points to a collaborative approach to affecting change in scholarly communication and digital scholarship. It feeds into the notion that opening up scholarship is not only better—that is, more efficient and more productive—for scholars but is also better for the broader publics in which scholars and their institutions are embedded. Contemporary public humanities scholars Sheila A. Brennan (2016) and Wendy Hsu (2016) reiterate such an approach when they suggest that those in the digital humanities could and should reorient their work to be much more engaged with the public at large. Well into the 21st century as we are, the rise of networked technologies and major computing infrastructure over the past several decades has impacted rapid and substantial changes in knowledge creation too. Every year brings new possibilities and increased levels of innovation—as well as increased opportunities for collaborating across publics that may have been more insular or disconnected in previous eras. Academic, economic, and societal developments have changed the way knowledge is produced, shared, distributed, and developed: for instance, one can look to the increasing prominence of open access online publishing, resource access via mobile devices, social media participation, shifting information access regulations, and influx of citizen scholars via initiatives such as Wikipedia and Zooniverse. Of course, not everyone is online or has the same access to digital technologies. But the widespread production and adoption of online tools and platforms around the world present an opportunity for researchers and publics to engage in knowledge creation more collaboratively than was previously possible as well as to build more inclusive and representative public spaces.

As academic practices continue to move online, more and more possibilities arise to shape the future of digital scholarly communication. With scholars such as Fitzpatrick (2011; 2019), we argue that these possibilities should be realized through inventive, open, and accessible methods that engage broader, more diverse publics. Publishing one’s research in open fora, licensed in a way that anyone can read and share it, is one way among many for the research community to recognize their role in service to broader communities hungry for credible information and cutting-edge ideas. Moreover, putting pressure on toll-access journals and commercial presses to allow for open distribution of publications has real ramifications for the visibility, viability, and accessibility of scholarship. Committing to open scholarship principles such as the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable (FAIR) guidelines (Wilkinson et al. 2016) enables researchers to pursue ethical and practical options for scholarly communication since more people can access more information.11 Actively participating in online discursive spaces, be they social media, podcasts, news sites, radio shows, or hybrid public/academic spaces such as The Conversation, is another route to engaging in collaborative knowledge creation and open social scholarship. Advocating for the value and necessity of open scholarship activities at the institutional interface can ease the way for generations of scholars to come. In these ways, researchers can better fulfill the mandate of scholarship to create and share knowledge widely. But it is not only researchers who need to reflect on how they can become more open scholars; academic institutions and funding agencies, as well as the policies that shape them, can all be refigured in more open ways.12

In what follows, we will focus on a subset of open scholarship concerns—Connection, Policy, Training, and Community—and share how the INKE Partnership is engaging with these areas of development in digital and in-person contexts. In doing so, we attempt to think through how a commitment to open practices can be realized across the research ecosystem, from an individual student or scholar working in their own intellectual niche to the national- and international-level decision-making that molds how funding is distributed and administered. Our Connection cluster is exploring the digital research commons and how it might be leveraged to facilitate open scholarship at multiple steps of the research process. The Policy cluster zooms out to consider how national and international consortia discuss and coordinate open scholarship. The Training cluster focuses on best practices for developing open scholarship skill sets on the ground. And our Community cluster engages publics in collaborative ventures to explore and develop mutual areas of interest, regardless of institutional affiliation. Taken together, these clusters actively weave many threads into a multifaceted tapestry, intended, ultimately, to make scholarly endeavour more open, more social, more inviting, and thus more nuanced.


Researchers have long found ways to communicate their work with one another as well as build professional networks. But this collaborative behaviour can be limited to oncea-year conferences or meetings and thus is potentially hampered by location, time, cost, carbon footprint, or unprecedented global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic—a current reality at the time of writing (early 2022). Although much academic work may be available online, not all who wish to engage digital materials and the conversations around them have the same level of access or skill in finding, making, or using such materials.

The online research commons is a possible solution for facilitating more findable and usable academic research. A virtual space for a designated community to connect, share, and collaborate, the research commons can bring together multiple knowledge creators in a communal space. New media scholars such as Yochai Benkler (2006) and James Boyle (2008) have explored and advocated for commons-based models since the early 2000s. In 2007, Borgman advocated for the commons as a viable open scholarly communication system; a year earlier, John Willinsky (2006) suggested the commons was an ideal model for scholarly communication when research is considered as a public good for everyone’s benefit. According to Suber (2007), an open access research commons avoids the tragedy of the commons because online scholarship is non-rivalrous: it cannot diminish or deplete with access and use.13 US-based sites such as and ResearchGate are often pointed to as popular platforms for open research sharing, but various scholars have voiced grievances with these for-profit models.14 Julia Bullard (2019), an information scholar, also argues for more conscientious design of such systems. Regarding platform design and construction, she asks, “What are the acceptable trade-offs regarding the intensity of labour in designing and maintaining a system consistent with open values and Canadian scholarship?”

Within the context of these discussions, the INKE Partnership’s Connection cluster, co-facilitated by Ray Siemens and Alyssa Arbuckle, is currently developing a digital commons called the Canadian Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Commons (; Winter et al. 2020). The Canadian HSS Commons is an in-development, national-scale, bilingual (French and English) network for humanities and social sciences researchers in Canada to share, access, repurpose, and develop scholarly projects, publications, educational resources, data, and tools. This initiative builds on conversations and consultations over the last several years with INKE Partnership members—in particular, the Advanced Research Consortium, Canadian Institute for Studies in Publishing, Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory, Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur les humanités numériques, Compute Canada Federation, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Iter, and Voyant Tools—and has roots in co-developed research prototypes existing on North American research infrastructure (e.g., Humanities Commons, developed by the Modern Language Association).

At launch, the Canadian HSS Commons will include a subject repository for open access publications that assigns digital object identifiers (DOIs) upon upload and follows FAIR guidelines for research data management. It will also incorporate blogging capabilities; subject interest groups; and a project development environment that can integrate with Google Drive, Dropbox, and GitHub. Users will be able to set up individual profiles with federated login/identity authorization, including with ORCID. As a not-for-profit, open access, and Canada-specific version of a humanities and social sciences scholarly communication and interaction platform, the Canadian HSS Commons will offer an alternative to commercial repositories such as and ResearchGate. Furthermore, this unique positioning facilitates the Canadian HSS Commons’ interoperability with other large-scale open research infrastructures such as the US-based Humanities Commons and the international ORCID project. The Canadian HSS Commons is in early development with CANARIE, the Compute Canada Federation, and the University of Victoria, coordinated through the Canadian Social Knowledge Institute (C-SKI) and in discussion with Humanities Commons.


Recent years have seen an influx of institutional, national, and international open access and open data policies. These policies are often aspirational and forward looking; however, they can also be difficult to implement effectively and holistically. In part, implementation challenges stem from the nature of open scholarship, which is evolving quickly and takes different forms in different regions. Challenges also arise when open practices are measured against conventional university tenure and promotion guidelines, which do not always recognize the value of such work (Alperin et al. 2019). A growing knowledge economy means that the way knowledge is created, accessed, and shared impacts those beyond the academic world. Moreover, open scholarship policymakers must also grapple with the mass of governmental information, academic research, institutional policies, and news media generated on the topic. Despite challenges, the increasing prominence of open scholarship is also an opportunity to streamline information processing and decision-making. To take advantage of this opportunity, the scholarly community needs to work together to realize an economy of scale in finding, organizing, presenting, and understanding relevant information.

To address this need, the INKE Partnership’s Policy cluster, co-facilitated by Tanja Niemann and Lynne Siemens, is collaborating on the Open Scholarship Policy Observatory ( The Open Scholarship Policy Observatory collects research, tracks findings and national and international policy changes, and facilitates understanding of open social scholarship across Canada and internationally. Building from these activities, the Open Scholarship Policy Observatory serves as an aid to influence and implement policy around knowledge mobilization. In both French and English, the Open Scholarship Policy Observatory reflects findings back to other partners and stakeholders, along with local institutions, associations, consortia, and government bodies, in order to assist these groups with developing timely and responsive policies. The Open Scholarship Policy Observatory also seeks to track pertinent policies and their impact across the research community and provides updates on new trends and current research. Overall, the Open Scholarship Policy Observatory offers a broad and deep foundation for the development of policy recommendations on important issues, including identity management, open access, data management, citizen science, and other related areas.


Every day, millions of people worldwide create and consume socially generated information on the internet. But most have not received any training in social knowledge creation, digital literacy, online research, or open scholarship more broadly. Training in this realm is necessary on two fronts: (1) training for academic specialists (including emerging scholars) to learn how to share their research online in effective and accessible ways and (2) training for engaged members of the public to increase their digital literacy skills and learn how to access and engage open scholarship. Dedicated open scholarship training could help those who engage in socially created knowledge to do so in productive and beneficial ways.

The INKE Partnership’s Training cluster, co-facilitated by Laura Estill and Constance Crompton, coordinates the Open Social Scholarship Training Program. In doing so, the Training cluster consults on and hosts major open scholarship training initiatives in Canada, including through the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), which has the largest dedicated digital humanities curriculum in the world and an open social scholarship stream. The open social scholarship course stream at DHSI is purposefully focused on public engagement, social issues, and creative approaches to scholarly communication. This course stream trains participants from all over the world in how to engage critically with open, digital scholarship materials, tools, and initiatives. In turn, this builds capacity for these sorts of activities in various locales, as participants return to their home institutions and integrate their learnings into their own projects and curricula. This cluster also researches and collaborates with those running aligned workshops at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ annual Congress and with the Atlantic-Canada–based training initiative DHSI-East. From an international perspective, the Training cluster collaborates with the Australian-based annual training offering, DH Downunder, to incorporate open social scholarship approaches into their curricula.


The INKE Partnership’s Community cluster, co-facilitated by Jon Bath and Jon Saklofske, researches and develops public digital scholarship prototypes and initiatives in order to explore open publishing, scholarly communication, and citizen scholarship. In doing so, this cluster pursues the key research question: Which models for collaborative, open scholarly practices can effectively meet the interests and needs of an engaged public for humanities and social sciences research in particular, and why? The Community cluster is developing scholarly communication research foundations across a number of public digital scholarship projects that aim to facilitate closer collaboration between humanities and social sciences researchers and broader publics. In doing so, the Community cluster works toward increasing impact by bringing publics into humanities and social sciences work and humanities and social sciences work to publics. Proposed projects in this suite include researching, prototyping, and publishing on models for disseminating French and English knowledge output effectively; collaborating with communities to build interactive archival and storytelling experiences relating to lesser-known cultural heritage periods and people; increasing access and reuse of cultural material, especially in a Linked Open Data framework; modelling new ways for processing, structuring, and disseminating digitized material; creating sustainable digital research management plans for open social scholarship; and broadening impact of academic events for multiple stakeholders, including community members and emerging scholars.


Over the past several years, calls for increasing publicly oriented work in the humanities have been mounted. Governments in various locales are asking the postsecondary sector to justify its value and worthiness of public support (which is also reflected in education funding policy). The potential for communication and collaboration between academics and wider publics is high and in demand, but this is not necessarily reflected across the university system. As cited above, many hiring, tenure, and promotion guidelines still discourage the embrace of open scholarship practices. Moreover, although fields such as public health and social sciences–based community-engaged research are exploring such activity in robust and creative ways, there is little understanding in humanities disciplines of best practices for implementing this type of engagement efficiently and successfully. Through the INKE Partnership, we are collaborating on robust open scholarship initiatives with the aim of influencing both practice and policy across the research system and the broader communities it is integrated in.

The production of knowledge has implications politically, socially, and economically. By creating knowledge in open and social ways, humanities researchers can address broader social issues in a relevant and timely way. This mode of public engagement can contribute to an academic world that responds more directly to—and sees itself in—the public it serves. Open social scholarship reflects emerging open methods and technologies through which specialists and non-specialists can interact with cultural data and provide creative solutions for humanities public engagement. Taken together, these activities will generate a more diverse, networked knowledge environment for scholarship, in turn diminishing perceived gaps between the public and the institutional research community. In doing so, comprehensive access to research materials and public engagement can increase. Such an approach brings together communities of academics, experts, stakeholders, and other individuals around the research and information they need—and the policies that govern this research. All of this gestures toward a brighter future, and the heavy lifting toward these positive ends is, at this point, largely pragmatic: an intervention shared across a community broader than academic researchers alone.

Author bios

Alyssa Arbuckle ( is the Associate Director of the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab at the University of Victoria, where she is Operational Lead for the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Partnership and a co-facilitator of its Connection cluster. With her colleagues Randa El Khatib and Ray Siemens, she is a Co-Director of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. Arbuckle holds an interdisciplinary PhD from the University of Victoria; her dissertation focused on open social scholarship and its implementation.

Ray Siemens ( is Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Victoria, in English and Computer Science, and past Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing (2004–2015). He directs the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Partnership, and the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. In 2019–2020, Siemens was also Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Loughborough University, and he is the current Global Innovation Chair in Digital Humanities at the University of Newcastle (2019–2022).

Jon Bath ( is an Associate Professor of Art & Art History at the University of Saskatchewan. He specializes in the intersection between the digital humanities and the design of textual objects. Bath is the Principal Investigator for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)-funded Post-Digital Book Arts project and a co-facilitator of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Partnership’s Community cluster. He also serves as a theme lead and is on the Executive Board for the CFI-funded Linked Infrastructure for Networked Cultural Scholarship (LINCS) project.

Constance Crompton ( is a Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities, Assistant Professor of Communication, and the Director of the Humanities Data Lab at the University of Ottawa. She is also the Co-Director, with Michelle Schwartz, of the Lesbian and Gay Liberation in Canada project, an Associate Director of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, and a co-facilitator of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Partnership’s Training cluster. Crompton’s research interests include linked data, data modelling, code as a representational medium, queer history, and Victorian popular culture.

Laura Estill ( is a Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities and Associate Professor of English at St. Francis Xavier University. Her research explores the reception history of drama by Shakespeare and his contemporaries from their initial circulation in print and manuscript to its online transmission today. Estill is past editor of the World Shakespeare Bibliography Online and Early Modern Digital Review. She is Associate Director-at-Large for the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, and a co-facilitator of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Partnership’s Training cluster.

Tanja Niemann ( is Executive Director of the Canadian Consortium Érudit, a position she has held since 2013. Niemann also co-leads Coalition Publica, a pan-Canadian project developing a non-commercial, open source national infrastructure for digital scholarly publishing, dissemination, and research in the humanities and social sciences. She is a co-facilitator of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Partnership’s Policy cluster.

Jon Saklofske ( is a Professor in the Department of English and Theatre at Acadia University. He is also a co-facilitator of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Partnership’s Community cluster. Saklofske specializes in the writing of the British Romantic period and the ways that William Blake’s composite art illuminating the relationship between words and images on the printed page has inspired current research into alternative platforms for networked open social scholarship as well as larger correlations between media forms and cultural perceptions.

Lynne Siemens ( is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria. Her research is varied and crosses disciplinary lines with a focus on knowledge transfer and mobilization at individual, organizational, and community levels. She is a co-facilitator of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Partnership’s Policy cluster.


  1. For more information on the INKE Partnership, please see
  2. See for more information.
  3. For further resources, please consult INKE Partnership annotated bibliographies on social knowledge creation (Arbuckle et al. 2017) and open social scholarship (El Khatib et al. 2019) as well as forthcoming annotated bibliographies from the Open Scholarship Press.
  4. In 1997, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and Canadian Association for Research Libraries presented a report looking beyond the paper-based system, and Nancy Fjällbrant detailed the history of the scientific journal and ruminated on the possibilities of electronic publishing. Five years later, the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences commissioned a report led by Raymond G. Siemens on electronic scholarly publication in Canada (Siemens et al. 2002), and Kathleen Shearer and Bill Birdsall (2002) outlined a conceptual framework for scholarly communication processes.
  5. See Siemens 2015; Veletsianos 2015; Veletsianos and Kimmons 2012.
  6. See Jones 2014; Lane 2014; Maxwell 2014; Sinatra and Vitali-Rosati 2014.
  7. See Kondratova and Goldfarb 2004; Ruecker et al. 2007.
  8. See, among others, Carletti et al. 2013; Causer and Terras 2014; Causer, Tonra, and Wallace 2012; Franklin et al. 2011; Gosh, Kale, and McAfee 2011; Hendery and Gibson 2019; Holley 2010; Manzo et al. 2015; McKinley 2012; Ridge 2013; Rockwell 2012; Ross, Christie, and Sayers 2014; Walsh et al. 2014.
  9. For more on the connection between academic publishing and social engagement, see Bordini and Maxwell 2019; Maxwell 2015; Powell and Siemens 2014; Saklofske, Bruce, with the INKE Research Group 2013.
  10. On open scholarship infrastructure, see Bilder, Lin, and Neylon 2015; Grumbach and Mandell 2014; Neylon 2017; on the political economy of knowledge, see Fasenfest 2010; Leonelli 2013.
  11. In promoting the FAIR guidelines, it is important to also acknowledge the importance of the CARE Principles (for Indigenous data in particular), as articulated by the Research Data Alliance International Indigenous Data Sovereignty Interest Group (2019). As Stephanie R. Carroll et al. (2021) write, “the ‘CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance’ address concerns related to the people and purpose of data; Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics, and their respective sub-principles.”
  12. See Montgomery et al. (2021) for a thorough engagement with the concept of open knowledge institutions.
  13. Here, the tragedy of the commons refers to the practice of people taking more than their share of a common resource and not contributing back.
  14. See Adema and Hall 2015; Duffy and Pooley 2017; Fitzpatrick 2020; Pooley 2018; Tennant 2017.


Adema, Janneke, and Gary Hall. 2015. Really, We’re Helping To Build This … Business: The Academia. edu Files.

Alperin, Juan Pablo, Carol Muñoz Nieves, Lesley A. Schimanski, Gustavo E. Fischman, Meredith T. Niles, and Erin C. McKiernan 2019. “How Significant Are the Public Dimensions of Faculty Work in Review, Promotion and Tenure Documents?” eLife.

Arbuckle, Alyssa, Nina Belojevic, Tracy El Hajj, Randa El Khatib, Lindsey Seatter, and Raymond G. Siemens, with Alex Christie 2017. “An Annotated Bibliography of Social Knowledge Creation.” In Social Knowledge Creation in the Humanities: Volume I, edited by Alyssa Arbuckle, Aaron Mauro, and Daniel Powell, 29–264. NMTRS 7. Toronto/Tempe, AZ: ITER and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Arbuckle, Alyssa, and Ray G. Siemens 2015. “Open Social Scholarship in Canada.” Blog post, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Ottawa, ON, February 15.

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada–Canadian Association of Research Libraries Task Force on Academic Libraries and Scholarly Communication. 1997. “The Changing World of Scholarly Communication.” Canadian Journal of Communication 22(3).

Benkler, Yochai. 2006. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Bilder, Geoffrey, Jennifer Lin, and Cameron Neylon. 2015. “Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructure-v1.”

Bordini, Alessandra, and John Maxwell. 2019. “Breaking SFU Aldines Out of the Vaults: Aldus Manutius and Open Social Scholarship in the Sixteenth Century.” Pop! Public. Open. Participatory., no. 1.

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