Plenary Session: What is Publishing Makerspace, What Was Our Process, and What Are Our Questions?

M-Space (Publishing Makerspace)

The problem: Increasingly scholars are working on multimedia and multimodal forms of research and publication. However, there are few places to coordinate these forms of research and publication and also to allow for more interaction between non-traditional and traditional publishing. Scholars need a space to plan this kind of work, to draw from existing tools, and to get guidance on shaping and sharing materials.

Provisional definition: Makerspace is a space (both physical and metaphorical) that is established for the scholar to explore and engage in a collaborative process with other stakeholders and specialists, including librarians, editors, content managers and tool developers, and community partners. Within this space the Makerspace ‘team’ envisions and begins to build a multi-modal  framework for research,   publishing, curation and digital preservation.

Objectives:  The Makerspace community building begins with a makerspace workshop that brings all parties together and explores the soup to nuts publishing of a scholarly work that is necessarily multi-modal. In the workshop, the collaborative group comes together to share ideas and questions from each disciplinary realm. Peer reviewers, developers, editors, and librarians work collectively to provide feedback, suggest tools and platforms for the research, opening up the research to multi-modal possibilities and making it easier to produce multimodal outputs by prioritizing interoperable tools.

Modeling Collaboration:  

Our design charrette process started with brainstorming and three questions:

Q 1. What do you think scholarly publishing should look like in 2030? What will it be able to do that we can’t do know? How will it change? What do you envision it becoming?

Q 2. How might a collaborative digital publishing makerspace, as described in our proposal, be part of our vision for this future?  As part of this makerspace, how will scholarly publishing be more “open” to public input, and how might the definition of a makerspace be expanded?

Q3. What are the limitations and potentials of existing publishing tools and platforms in light of the vision that we have drawn for the future?  What ideas do you have for overcoming these limitations?

Process: We framed our process of envisioning Publishing Makerspace as a model for Publishing Makerspace–our process brought forward different interests working towards a collaborative mode.  We identified where our interests and skills were laid and what is new.  Initial stage was frustrating but it cracked open ideas and imagination.  We experienced a generative frustration.  We went home, slept, and came back with ideas.  

END RESULT OF BRAINSTORMING:  The big picture–what are all the things we imagine we could be doing that we’re not doing now.  Starting point for focusing on how we would like to re-envision the interrelationship of scholarship, curation, multi-modal presentation and publishing.

Next, we went on to backcasting and visioning:



Visioning: A funneling exercise, focusing us on what we can explore. Collective intelligence. Creation of shared knowledge that is unattributable.

 Makerspace Stages:

  1. Early phase workshop (including peer review, prototyping and input regarding audiences)

Scholarship workflow (entry routes for conceptualizing multi-modal project components, for incorporating visualizations, multi-media, big data)

  1. Late phase workshop (including peer review and refinement of concepts)

End products

Collaborative discussions and seminal formation of scholarly project in Makerspace

Collaborative discussions (reshaping project) and engagement within Makerspace

Scholarship production

Questions and Future Goals:

Replicability (Creating Makerspace instance–modeled after ThatCamp Instances with mothership website that is articulated, forked, revised, and customized for each hosted workshop)


THAT Camp Call for Proposals (Publishing Makerspace Workshop)


Digital preservation and access (Huge issue we haven’t addressed, but scholarly publishers have committed to it. Publishers and libraries both appreciate what it takes. )

Questions for the floor:  What are your questions about our process and outcomes?


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