A multilingual discussion forum and resource-sharing platform for people interested in a global outlook on scholarly communication.

Notes from “Global is Local” workshop (2017)

FSCI: Global is Local

(Notes by Lorraine Chuen)

Day 1: Monday, July 31, 2017

Resources & Reminders

History & Concepts of the Global South(s)

Day 2: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Case Studies: Ricardo Hartley

Case Studies: Khady Sall

Day 3: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Case Studies: Paola Ricaurte – Open Knowledge, Knowledge as Commons

Lorraine Chuen:  OpenCon Satellite Events

Gimena del rio Riande:  Building a Digital Humanities Community in Argentina

Day 4: August 3, 2017

Dan O’Donnell Case Study: Future Commons


Day 1: Monday, July 31, 2017

Resources & Reminders


History & Concepts of the Global South(s)

Presentation by Gimena

  • Term global south is problematic – there is a linguistic problem and a problem of universality
    • Term coined by the Global “North” to describe other countries.
    • There are many “Global South”s — it doesn’t make sense to treat all these countries as one group.
  • “There are no “innocent” geographical labels” — and no neutral ones.  But not having neutral terms does not equal having no terms at all (we have to use terms to communicate at the end of the day) — Manuela Boatca
  • Different ways people have talked about/classified geographical divisions:
    • Western/Non-Western
    • First-Second-Third World
    • North/South
    • Global North/ Global South
  • The Myth of Continents” — the problem in thinking of “the West vs. the Rest”
  • Who coined the term “The Third World”?
  • Another problematic way of thinking – the central and the periphery (very subjective – whose centre? whose periphery?)  
    • So subjective, and inaccurate
  • The “Global South” term first recorded in 1996.
  • Software “Big Data Machine” (for business) but Gimena has used it to mine the web and find how in a specific time period (~last month) — mined Twitter, Instagram, the Web — who was using the word “Global South” vs. “Sur Global”
    • “Global South” appears far more frequently than “Sur Global” — it’s English-speakers who are using this term.
  • “The Global South Journal” can only be accessed through JSTOR – many users in “Global South” countries can’t even read the articles!


Day 2: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Case Studies: Ricardo Hartley


    • It’s interesting to learn about FigShare, Hypothes.is, etc… But when he presented to academics in Chile, people just left — it wasn’t relevant to their/Chilean government interests
    • A bit of history of Chile
      • Who’s going to buy an Elsevier subscription in Chile? Nobody can afford as single institution or single person, referring to by example hospitals.
    • Chile participated in the March for Science, because of funding and science value for society
    • Private vs public universities in Chile:
      • Private universities: mission is education, development
      • Public universities: big aspect of mission is knowledge (but not how to free the knowledge)
        • Not a lot of conversation around data management, storage, pre-prints, etc…
      • Universities in Chile are involved in an accreditation system from the Education ministry
      • “Open” Labs in Chile is “open doors” not what Western institutions think of as “Open”
    • South American context is totally different. We need to take that into account.
    • CONICYT – national commission of scientific research & technology
    • CINCEL – university association – how we grant access to articles from academic publishers like Elsevier – what they do (instead of promoting Open culture) – they created a free access platform called “BEIC” – Biblioteca Eletronica de Informacio Cientficia” – free access through internet – but it’s not really free. THey are spending 13 million dollars on this in 2016 (and more each year)
      • Acting as a consortium – managed by people who have been there for a decade, they are not researchers, they work in politics, nobody can talk to them, or there is no feedback, all is fine
    • Promoting Open – to politicians, not to researchers in the university.


  • There’s “Free” access in Chile — but no (or little) Open culture.  Nobody in Chile knows about Diego Gomez or Aaron Swartz outside ingeniers or some academics guys who work in the field
  • Mandate on Open Access to Publications


    • In Chile, over 80% of research is funded by the government


  • A light at the end of the tunnel?


    • Congress of Librarians at Chile — but not a lot of researchers in attendance (and none really invited!)
  • Last year, hosted OpenCon 2016 Santiago – 34 attendees – none were librarians!! (open call out for participation)
  • The Chilean ecosystem — not just uploading information — also need to talk about citizen labs, fab labs, academic career valorization (giving value to)
  • What do we need to do?
    • Give value to science communication
    • Offer to give more meetings/seminars in Latin America when you (Northerner) are visiting
    • Language of platforms  (e.g. Hypothes.is is a great tool …. but it’s an English!)


Case Studies: Khady Sall

    • I’m a molecular biologist – science by training.


  • C’est quoi la science? (What is a scientist? Who is a scientist?)


    • If you don’t have scientific knowledge – you will be left behind.
      • Can’t just talk about, we have to do it.
      • If not, the gap will only increase and the consequences are dire.
      • Diversity in STEM is essential.


  • In order to reflect on STEM education, we have to question are assumptions.


      • What is science?
        • A way to understand the world and your environment
        • Asking questions
        • Observations
        • Making things
        • Methodological toolkit – falsification
        • Potential reproducibility
        • Communication


  • C’est quoi un scientifique? Who is a science?


        • The person who asks the questions.
          • Persistence
        • A mindset wherein you don’t consider the question answered, until you are convinced.
        • Unbiased
          • Applying methods is important, rather than be guided by what feels right/familiar.
          • We think it’s unbiased (the ideal), but firmly rooted in our experiences.
        • Also brings up questions of who gets discounted.
          • If you’re not communicating science through dominant models.
        • We treat science as something special (devoid of the what someone brings to the table culturally, geographically, etc.).
          • But this is definitely not true.  Science is socially constructed.
        • Khady: anyone can be a scientist. A kid can be a scientist!


  • What is research, though?


      • Dialectic is crucial
      • Scientific papers as cultural artefacts
        • E.g. papers in cell biology
      • Research in knowledge production
      • The definition of research is embedded within a community.
      • Science is a Western construction, as is the scientific method.
        • Poala and her collaborators are trying to contest this model.
          • For example indigenous community knowledge producers.
          • Scientists are not the only ones that produce knowledge.
  • In Senegal, we don’t have the same academic/higher education networks — language is a huge barrier. We don’t speak English.
    • In Senegal, our exams are very selective — it’s an exam to screen out people. You could be stuck in high school forever and nobody cares.  
      • We (in Senegal) publish more (relative to our population size) in comparison to Nigeria. The scientists here are aging, too.
    • Nepotism in America
    • Finance is a big barrier as well — if you organize meetings, and do all the outreach you want, there’s still a huge barrier: money for the visa, money for registration, money to attend, money to travel
  • There are more African engineers working in the USA, than in Africa – they come to the US, and they stay in the US.
  • The education system we have in Senegal is shaped by colonization – based on the French system.  While the French system is evolving, we are stuck and not evolving at all. As a kid going to school, it was super frustrating.  When you speak your own language, you got reprimanded.
  • We live in a corporate world where people are trying to make money.  At the end of the day, people don’t care about investing in education.
  • A lot of big companies, e.g. mining companies, they come and take resources, and then they leave.
  • Many of the first scientific innovations happened in Africa.
    • Empire du Mali
    • The first universities
  • Disruption later on …
  • Fractal geometry — this has been done for centuries and centuries – it’s everywhere in African societies – in music, in art, in the cloth – Kente cloth – but only “discovered” decades ago by Western “scientists”
  • Astronomie Dogon – astronomes that knew that Saturn had a ring— these are not things that people published, but it is knowledge, it is science.
  • What are some solutions, based on our history, and our definitions of what science is?
    • People started talking a lot about the fact that we already have science in our culture. Every culture has science in it. In order to get people interested in science, it’s super important to emphasize cultural relevance.
    • There is a need to re-invent how we educate people.  We need to make it relevant to them. There needs to be a cultural identity that we affirm, that we build off of.
  • That’s what Open is about – it’s about inclusivity, it’s about having everyone contributing to information creation, to make a better world.
  • How can Open have a positive impact on what we do?
    • When we were reflecting on how science was done in Western society versus other societies, the thing we identified most was the Open movement / the makerspace movement because they felt like the networks were less closed (we can’t just be a member of the American Society of XYZ – but they can be a part of the makerspace movement – less barriers to entry/participation)
  • We use cultures to emphasize people’s connection to science – for people to know how connected they are to science, they need to know what science is.  I disagree with the Western definition of science – science is bigger than that. Everyone can have a space in science.
  • Project in Dakar, Senegal.
  • Educating young people in Senegal and Africa has so much potential
    • Youngest population in the world.
    • Only 8% of young people in Senegal go to college
      • Only 17% are in STEM
    • Under colonialism people were trained to be civil servants.
      • This legacy continues
      • “There are so many business schools in Senegal, people being trained to run things that don’t exist.”
  • What’s the point of attending a University?
    • Turned into a business
    • In order to gain skills you don’t need to be in a university setting.  For Khady, this is one reason why the open movement is so exciting.
      • Open resources, open methods, open spaces (and collaborative ones) can change our understanding of what education is and does.
  • Also need to contextualize the North American / US experience – really not the norm, it’s the exception compared to most parts of the world.
  • We need an alternative system, and open system
    • What if there’s another, community driven place to gain skills and knowledge?
  • Khady’s project: SeeSD:
    • Delivered workshops to over 200 kids last year
    • Now looking to develop something longer term for a smaller cohort (e.g. 40 youth)
    • Starting a makerspace – to run workshops and also to help the community gain more skills
    • We’re also working on a platform — for learning materials in your native language.
      • It’s way easier to learn in your native language. There is no example whatsoever of a country that became ‘developed’ using another person’s language.
    • Also working on a conference – audience includes students, professors, sponsors.  Will invite science & technology professionals.
  • Funding the project:
    • Donations from NGOs
    • (ideally, government funding)
    • Crowdfunding
  • Difference between community-based projects (OUR community saying this is what we need) versus someone external swooping in and saying “This is what you need”. Solutions imposed on communities are not good.


Day 3: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Case Studies: Paola Ricaurte – Open Knowledge, Knowledge as Commons


    • Knowledge Society
      • Economic infrastructures are supported by: (adapted from Morozov, 2013):
        • Knowledge production infrastructures
        • Communication infrastructures
        • Technological infrastructures
      • There are 2 competing paradigms of the knowledge society:
        • (1) Knowledge as commodity: something we can sell and profit off of
        • (2) Knowledge as commons: something that cannot be privatized, resource to be shared as communities.
    • Knowledge production system:
      • Systems of thought
      • Materialities and infrastructures
      • Places/Geographies
      • Actors/organizations/institutions/communities
    • Dominant knowledge production system:
      • Production:
        • Prominent actors: industry/academic experts
        • Type of knowledge: papers/patents
      • Circulation:
        • Specialized spaces/journals
        • Academic publishing industry
      • Consumption:
        • Specialized publics/academics
        • Specialized spaces/conferences
    • Knowledge as Commons:
      • Citizen-driven innovation
      • Education innovation
        • New educational model – “challenges model” – a series of challenges that the student has to solve – the role of the teacher is guiding this process
      • Open Humanities
      • Advocacy
        • Technological sovereignty
        • Internet freedom
        • Digital rights
      • Open collaboration, production, circulation, consumption / local, regional global networks.
      • What can we learn from communities way before the digital age?
    • OpenLabs is a citizen lab for the promotion of social innovation through open collaboration, community engagement, and experimentation
    • Our research initiatives are citizen-driven innovation, education innovation, open knowledge and critical digital culture (open software, free hardware – technology not only as hardware or software – but also the technology of our ancestors) , which are deeply interwoven
      • Labs are a good way to promote shared world, democratic culture, they are working with experimentation and creativity.
    • Current Activities of OpenLabs:
      • Prototyping labs:
        • international calls for citizen initiatives
        • Gathering worldwide participants from different academic and non-academic fields for the development of prototypes
        • Documenting the experimentation/development of the prototype for knowledge transfer
      • Researching collaborative processes to foster innovation, learning, digital culture and methodologies for social change
      • Creating Open knowledge resources
      • Seminars and workshops as well


  • Cities that Learn


    • In contrast to the idea of “smart city” — want to acknowledge knowledge that is already in the community/city
    • It took place in Biblioteca de Mexico – one of the largest public libraries in Mexico City, from Nov-Dec 2016
    • 103 participants from 12 countries worked in 10 prototypes
    • project recovering oral histories of women
    • Viz of open source software developed as part of the learning cities initiative:  http://www.openlabs.mx/blog/desarrollo-software-libre-openlabs-mx-ciudades-aprenden/
  • One project was developing a database for Indigenous people who were prosecuted by the government
  • Many projects considering women + gender violence in Latin America
  • Next year – working with barrio communities to engage with this collaborative model.
  • Questions/opportunities Paola and her collaborators are considering:
    • impact of this new kind of learning.
  • Promoting more Spanish-language Wikipedia articles
  • Peeragogy Handbook — handbook about peer learning – published in Github with CC0 license (public domain): http://peeragogy.github.io/
  • Citizen innovation, not social innovation – when community members define and drive innovations to address community/society goals and issues.



  • Challenges:


    • How to engage different publics?  


Lorraine Chuen:  OpenCon Satellite Events


Every year there is a meeting, but it’s a very competitive application process and only a small number of people can come.

  • Developed a network of satellite events to include and convene people and talk about issues that are specific to a local community.
  • Local events a great way to grow community
  • Lorraine’s job is to support the community of satellite event organizers.
    • Try to provide support in as many ways as possible (though not direct funding as yet).
  • Huge goal is to support engagement with local issues.
  • Initially, the idea was to watch live streaming of global meeting
    • But now there’s more of an emphasis on action oriented events.
      • Local speakers
      • Workshops
      • Hackathons
      • Unconference


  1. Different geographical and cultural contexts have diff challenges in putting together events.
    1. Initially, the satellite program was designed to be drag and drop.
      1. But in reality it doesn’t work that way
        1. Different starting points
          1. Event planning
          2. Engagement with openness
        2. Access to resources
  2. Most of our organizational knowledge is Western-focused, including existing training resources
    1. How can we avoid a colonialist approach wherein we assume the solution is found via or in Western perspective.


  1. How can we actually support global community members rather than tokenizing them to call ourselves global?
  2. How can our team embrace a co-design approach, with rather than for.
    1. Providing resources that people can adapt for use in their own context.
  3. What is the most efficient way to compile a searchable database of locally-relevant resources on OA, Open Data, and Open Education.

Already in the works.

  • Microgrants (not announced, please do not tweet).
  • Satellite sub-committee on OpenCon Organizing Committee
  • More frequent Skype check-ins with hosts

OpenCon LatAm (Ricardo)

  • One of the biggest challenges is funding, and providing the opportunity to bring people to the same space to connect.
    • Many of the orgs they have reached out to have no experience with communities in South America and no experience supporting events outside of the North.
    • Cape Town example (Lorraine):  three simultaneous events on three different campuses, connecting virtually in real time.

Gimena del rio Riande:  Building a Digital Humanities Community in Argentina

  • Digital Humanities =/= Humanistas Digitales
  • We don’t have a physical centre, but there are many groups working on digital humanities, using this technology, etc… across the globe – but we are not listed on the map – because we don’t have infrastructure
  • There are many differences: the digital humanities as a discipline is organized in centres and labs, and has a university curriculum, has infrastructure, has journals, organizations that put together conferences — we have a landscape that is very clear, very organized – find a way taking courses in digital humanities
  • Communities of Practice — people enter that community voluntarily
  • Moving from What (Result) → to How (Process)
  • Association of Digital Humanities in Spain
  • Wanted to work on DH – organized THATCamp at Buenos Aires
  • When we were deciding whether we wanted to be an organization or not?
    • We have a problem here: our work is not visible to others, we are working on practices — but the conditions under which we are working are not sustainable
    • So we started working, wrote a manifesto — the global is only good as long as it works in the local.  
    • Organized 2 events without money – looked for a public venue, used support from universities, people in the association don’t pay a membership, only pay a very low rate for going to the conference – only people presenting a paper pay – it is not expensive, that money is used for coffee and cookies 🙂
  • In the 2 conferences I organized, some words appeared that were very important – the social variable was really important, but “knowledge” was also something that appeared in many of the presentations of the conference. And ACCESS.
  • Used Translation Toolkit / Also used Twitter to promote the conference – also had access to the main twitter → 50/50 collaboration.
  • As a researcher, working on having digital humanities institutionalized – as being recognized as an activity of the researchers (we were talking about the issue of lack of visibility and “hidden practices”) — no formal institutional evaluation, so people don’t take to their research practices
  • Gimena organized a survey sent out to institution – asking about practices and digital methods in teaching and research.
  • Had really interesting answers from the survey. What we found — people weren’t taking DH into research in Argentina because they were mostly working from projects abroad that had the technology, big groups,e tc.. but somehow in those projects, they were invisible!!
    • Argentina wasn’t on a DH map despite lots of people working on DH—because geographic/institutional aspect of projects was what was operationalized, Argentinian contributions were invisibilized
  • How could I work on this as a researcher?
    • Fernando Ortiz – Cuban sociologist: (1963 quote) –
  • How to build a real community of researchers in DH?
    • Started working on translations of taxonomies – needed names in this new world? Formalized names for naming objects.
    • Translation is really important for doing research.
  • Also transculturated events – the Dia de las Humanidades Digitales (Day of DH) – the people who are participating in it are from Latin America – working on a kind of website where you write about DH, propose some activities with DH, interact with others, etc…
  • Also worked with other colleagues – best practices to start working on projects in digital humanities
  • The idea is for Digital humanities to appear as a tag – you can in that way make visible your work. Up until now, you upload your publishing, but they don’t let tag DH as a primary tag.
  • Really interested in working on these kinds of communities – have been collaborating with different digital humanities associations – e..g with Cuban DH association – founded 1.5 months ago!

Day 4: August 3, 2017

Dan O’Donnell Case Study: Future Commons

  • A broad and sustainable global partnership focused on the discovery and mobilization of best practice and innovation in scholarly communication
  • Focus on bringing underrepresented groups into building future commons
  • Received the grant in April
  • Methods:
    • Rather than doing stuff ourselves, identify people who are useful and bring them in to help out
    • We want to offer micro-grants — what we asked for were a couple $5000 grants that we can give to people who are researchers who are in the Global South who have an interesting idea for research in scholcomm – they make a proposal, we would give them the money, as long as it meets SSHRC criteria, they can do whatever they want.
    • We also have $4000 fellowships for students – what we are thinking of doing with this, the dean of Dan’s graduate school was really interested in this project; developed a new course; an applied studies course for graduate students (e.g. working at an internship somewhere) — will offer small stipends to students / the proposal would involve developing a project you would want to do, and deciding a supervisor that you want to work with. and they could receive graduate credit for that work you are going to do over the course over the year.
    • The last thing we want to do is try to build workshops and institutes — social platform — getting people together
  • Would like to use this workshop to get input (developing a partnership to apply for a new grant for 2019) – but we’ve got the money now and are trying to think through how we can offer these studentships and researchships
    • If anyone is interested, get in touch with Dan or Gimena or Robin!


GO::DH (Global Outlook::Digital Humanities) —

  • a special interest group (SIG)


Barbara Gastel – AuthorAID


Niki Agate – Humanities Commons


  • Network and repository
    • Goal is to make available and disseminate all kinds of scholarship.
    • Associated with a bunch of different groups, you can connect resources (deposited works) to a group identify.
    • Potential tool for sharing and getting credit for work that is often less or invisible.
    • Comment Press


Project Discussion


Just recording some keywords that are emerging –


  • Global outlook for scholarly communication
  • Action oriented
  • Call for papers on all of these ideas / issue of a journal.
  • How can we use the OpenCon report, but it is broad – so how can we dive into areas that the OpenCon report doesn’t address.
  • Toolkit for decolonizing scholarly communication
  • Is there a resource that connects different resources for working on inclusion in scholarly communication?
  • Thinking about the panel from Monday night, how could we reconceptualize that through the conversations we’ve had this week.
  • In some ways we did in the last four days, what we hoped that panel might do.
  • In addition to thinking about this reframing thinking about creating the global souths version of the OA women list.
  • Let’s insist on something that can be useful to other people
  • Another related resource / inspiring model:  http://www.womenandcolor.com/
  • Something that denormalizes exclusivity
  • Plan out what could we use resources for?
  • How can we facilitate discovery of stuff that already exists.
  • Humanidades Digitales:  http://www.humanidadesdigitales.net
    • Could we use this as a platform for communicating / sharing projects that have been shared here or ideas that have emerged?
  • Everybody in this room has projects to share
  • Maybe we can find a way to work together as a group
  • Whisper campaign as low barrier model for building a more inclusive space.
  • We have many different ways of facilitating conversations
    • Doesn’t have to be a physical space
  • What if we did something for Friday that said it wasn’t that hard as part I, with part two is addressing the more difficult questions.
  • If we were to build a toolkit to decolonize scholarly communication what would you need to think about?
    • Questioning fundamental assumptions.
    • Historical context
  • It would be helpful to have a small plan?
  • We’re getting lost here?  What is the tangible product?
  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • Idea from Ricardo / Niki – analysis showing of showing network gaps and clusters (shows what and how is not connected and who is not being engaged.).
  • We are seeing the problem differently – that’s okay
  • People approaching the problem differently
  • Global Scholarly Communication
  • Blog post/s about the projects presented at the course
  • Sharing our presentations in a common open space/repository
  • Defining our core values/expectations for inclusion
  • Defining Global Scholarly Communication: what are we looking/fighting for


Day 5:  



  • Some place where we collect materials from course; create a node that documents our work; important to have a place that shows threads to course and collaborations.
  • It’s difficult to find information on this kind of work


  • Keeping in touch in a way that makes it really easy to promote each other.  Can be as simple that we are going to keep i


  • Crowd-funding campaign for makers SeeSD makerspace.  Another +1 for keeping in touch.


  • Draft a rubric for assessing diversity, equity, and inclusion at a conference or forum, so can help with doing better moving forward.


  • Would like to work on global outlook materials; would love some help with Author Aid (especially in regards to expanding to humanities)


  • Applying nudge theory to equity, diversity, and inclusion and thinking about it from a behavioral perspective.  Also wondering if there is an opportunity to create a special interest group on EDI in Force 11


  • OpenCon LatAm; collect small blog posts on the work people are doing in the room;


  • Translations


  • Think about and make actionable links between projects
  • Collected writings/products on the intersection between colonialism and scholarly communication.
    • Easy start might be (as suggested by Lorraine) making the reading list an open resource.
      • Open Google Doc or open Zotero list for example.  


  • Making OpenCon global speaker list more usable


  • Thinking about


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