The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship

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Madrid Workshop

2016-02-26 17:00:00


Defining the Scholarly Commons: Reimagining Research Communication

February 26-27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain

This workshop brings together thought leaders and new voices across disciplines and countries, in a nice environment and lively format to rethink scholarly communication from scratch. Today’s dominant modes and models of scholarly communication stem from 350 years of tradition around scholarly and scientific dissemination through printed materials. As has been often noted, current forms of electronic communications recapitulate these practices and perpetuate the reward systems built around them. Too often, scholars are unaware of the origins of current practices and accept the status quo because “that’s how it's done.”

But what if we could start over? What if 350 years ago, we had computers, an internet, search engines and social media? How would we be acting as scholars to communicate our research and put it to maximum use? What would consumers of this scholarship expect? To what extent is the promise of new modes of communication enabled by 21st century technology fostered or held back by these traditions? We hope to answer these questions during the workshop by gathering together people passionate about this topic and giving them the space to work together. Through this exercise, we will begin defining principles that should govern the production, dissemination and flow of scholarly objects within what we are calling the “Scholarly Commons”.  

Workshop Program

We are starting 2016 in a time warp where scholars around the world and across all disciplines are given a blank check to increase the impact of their work and receive appropriate credit for what they do. Their only constraint is to use the tools and technology available to us today. Consider who and what needs to consume your research and scholarship and assume that your sole motivation is to add to the world’s knowledge and solve some of the world’s problems.


Participation – Attendee List

Although the workshop is limited to 50 participants, we will share the workshop process and outcomes during and after the Madrid event to stimulate discussion, ask for input and solicit feedback on the outcomes. We hope many people will be able to join the discussion in this way, and perhaps even use the workshop format locally.

During the event, we will update this document with details of the sessions and outcomes as they happen.We encourage live-tweeting (#FutureCommons), and will facilitate live contribution through Twitter (#FCviz).

For this workshop we are bringing together 50 people from across the globe. In inviting attendees, we aimed for balance between thought leaders, early career researchers and new voices across disciplines and countries.  We believe that in order to be relevant and impactful, multiple communities and perspectives must inform the vision we’ll be presenting. The visualizations below show the distribution of current invitees across various demographic characteristics.

We acknowledge we still have a high representation of participants from North America and Western Europe. This partly reflects the size of research communities in these regions, but also the fact that this project has a US funder and a largely North American/Western European organizing committee, with the accompanying bias in our networks, and the difficulty in reaching people from some countries/regions. Many of our participant do however, have an explicit focus on, and network in, non-Western countries.


For workshop partipants: registration is available online through a private registration form. Airfare and travel related expenses will be reimbursed for all invited workshop attendees. If you need to make alternative arrangements or have any questions, please contact



The workshop will take place in the Hotel Emperador located on the world-famous Madrid Gran Vía. Built in the 1940s, Hotel Emperador is one of Madrid's great historic hotels that offers a bridge between past and present – ideally suited to the workshop theme. Accommodations will be made for all attendees by the planning committee. Coffee, light breakfast, and lunch will be served at the hotel on both days.

Hotel Emperador is located at Gran Vía, 53, 28013 Madrid, Spain.



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