The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship

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FORCE11 Groups

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FORCE11 is a forum for discussion and engagement, but it is also a place to propose, begin, and complete concrete work that advances our community and the goal of improving research communication. FORCE11 Groups are a place where concrete outputs can be created through volunteer efforts and community engagement. These Groups tackle a variety of issues that impact the entire network of scholarly communications. 

FORCE11 exists at the intersection of research activity and communications, bringing together a diverse group of scholars, publishers, librarians, and technologists who are seeking to transform scholarly communications. This diversity makes FORCE11 Groups unique within scholarly communications. Any member of FORCE11 can join or set up a Group, invite others to join, and propel the future of scholarly communication.

FORCE11 Groups are most commonly organized as working groups, but they can also be special interest groups, advocacy groups, etc.  

FAQ regarding FORCE11 Groups

Why would you want to engage with a FORCE11 Group?

FORCE11 engagement is characterized by the diversity and expertise of the people that participate in FORCE11. As a global collaborative seeking to advance scientific discourse, FORCE11 has drawn together more than 3,000 people engaged in various aspects of the creation, distribution, application, and preservation of knowledge. This breadth of community members that participate in them and the scholarly communications-related challenges that they seek to address sets FORCE11 Groups apart. Their involvement in developing your ideas will make the results better, will make any outputs more applicable and relatable to a worldwide audience, and will drive greater adoption once the work is completed.

What does it take to get a FORCE11 Group going?

A FORCE11 Group needs two main things to succeed; a vision and enthusiasm. Vision can be something that is narrowly focused or it can be broad and topical, but it should be concrete and actionable. For example, “Making research open” is a vision, but a successful FORCE11 Group also would need specific ideas for practical action around which a group can take proactive steps. Enthusiasm is also critical to get people behind the idea and keep them engaged throughout the process. The enthusiasm around the idea is what will get a project up and moving and keep it going through to adoption. The enthusiasm of the leadership of the group is also important to keep a volunteer group moving forward.

What sort of outputs do FORCE11 Groups produce?

The outputs of groups are ultimately defined by the proposer’s vision and the people who engage in the group. FORCE11 has been instrumental in the creation of community principles, such as the FAIR Data Principles, the Principles of Data Citation, Software Citations, Scholarly Commons, and the Researcher Bill of Rights. Everything from training programs, whitepapers, or principles, to model structures, formats, or code are all potential FORCE11 outputs. The output is driven not by the structure of FORCE11 but the need in the community.

What does FORCE11 provide for Groups?

The core things that FORCE11 provides for Groups is energy and the engagement of the people involved in FORCE11. This is critically important if your project idea cuts across the many players in the world of scholarly communication. Few forums engage as diverse a community as FORCE11 does. FORCE11 has also developed a unique and recognizable brand among those that are seeking to advance and improve the process of communicating scientific results. 

Once organized, FORCE11 groups use a variety of open collaboration tools to support this project. These include:

  • Google Suite Toolbox of Apps, which includes email discussion lists, collaborative writing, document storage tools, surveys, calendars;
  • Slack platform, and;
  • options for GitHub repositories 

FORCE11 can also provide a forum to advance awareness of your efforts and a platform to promote your work. This is done through:

  • the FORCE11 website; 
  • the FORCE11 annual conference; 
  • FSCI (FORCE11 Scholarly Communications Institute);
  • public webinars and other FORCE11 events, and; 
  • announcements from FORCE11 Communications Committee and other outreach efforts.  

As a US-based nonprofit organization, FORCE11 can act as a fiscal agent, serving as a grant-supporting organization that can facilitate funding for your project, without the high levels of overhead support required by many institutions when running grants through them.  

I’ve got a great idea, so how do I get a FORCE11 Group started?

Getting a FORCE11 Group started is easy. You need to register as a member of the FORCE11 community, if you’re not already. Once you are, login to the FORCE11 website and fill out this form. The form asks for a scope statement, in what other ways has this topic engaged with other related initiatives, a timeframe, and the contact information for the group’s leadership, and a commitment to follow FORCE11’s Group Guidelines. Other information, such as related work or potential funding is welcome. A member of the Board of FORCE11 will be in touch about moving the project forward. 

How do I join a FORCE11 Group?

Joining a FORCE11 Group is easy.  If you’re not already a member, you’ll need to register as a member of FORCE11..  Once registered, each working group has a membership page that includes a link to join the group.  You can then engage and participate in the work of the Group.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your ideas, please reach out to the FORCE11 Board of Directors.

FORCE11 Groups Guidelines

Working groups are collections of FORCE11 members who come together to focus on a particular topic in scholarly communication. Many have found that leading and participating in working groups is a rewarding experience in numerous ways, including meeting new people and gaining an enriched understanding of the topic under consideration. We have found that the WGs with the most impact are ones that adhere to the FORCE11 expectations of transparency, inclusion, and community reporting/communication.

Working groups have a number of characteristics that help make them effective.

  1. From the community. Groups are proposed by members of FORCE11 and run by those members.
  2. Time-limited. This means that members can focus for a short period of time on the group without making indefinite commitments. It also ensures that the (small) resources of FORCE11 can be efficiently allocated.
  3. Focused on output(s). Instead of boiling the ocean, working groups focus on a set of targeted outputs. This can range from documents, to software, to an event. The key is to make these outputs doable in the limited time. If a bigger set of work is needed, then it’s best to slice it into multiple back-to-back working groups.
  4. Open and Inclusive. Groups are typically open to any member of FORCE11 and aim to be additive to the community as a whole.  
  5. Transparent. The processes and results of the group are not just accessible to the wider community but are actively communicated. In particular, groups should plan to report on their activities at the FORCE11 conference.

These characteristics are meant as guides not mandates. In the end, groups are there to facilitate the overall goals of FORCE11. Groups, with board approval, can deviate from these characteristics.