Arizona State University’s (ASU) Center for Science and the Imagination is bringing together a team of science fiction authors, scholars, digital publishers, journalists, and technologists to write a book on the fly in 72 hours at the 2016 Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Annual Meeting. Using a suite of collaborative technologies, participants will quickly write, edit, assemble and publish a multimedia anthology exploring publishing topics through a series of “sprints” that take place in real time at the meeting.
Attendees will have a firsthand view of the performance as the book materializes and can even get involved by reacting to content or contributing their own thoughts and ideas. Six individual “sprints” will be offered as concurrent sessions alongside traditional educational sessions such as panels, roundtables and lightning talks. Each session will confront participants with a different provocation about the future of scholarly publishing. Topics include making research matter, the age of human-machine collaboration, exposing hidden knowledge, the future of the scholarly book, expanding access, and shaping the public square.
Interested attendees are encouraged to participate in one or more sprints (45-90 minutes) which consist of brainstorming/discussion, writing, reviewing and critiquing the resulting content. Those with less time to participate can stop by during or between sprints and contribute to book through commenting and editing. All attendees can track the progress of the book and review the final product at sprintbeyondthebook.com.
Previous book sprints have been held at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Arizona State University, and Stanford University’s Center for the Study of the Novel. SSP member Amy Brand, Director at MIT Press, who has been working with the team at ASU on other projects, suggested to SSP leadership that the Annual Meeting might be a good fit for the Center’s next project.
“When Amy suggested this idea we were immediately intrigued,” said Melanie Dolechek, SSP Executive Director. “The book sprint provides a unique opportunity for attendees to participate in a truly interactive way. This project perfectly complements the traditional learning opportunities the meeting provides. Incorporating creative projects like this keeps the meeting experience fresh—it’s a whole new level of engagement for attendees.”
Unique to this project is the integration of a variety of tools and resources that are used within scholarly communications by publishers and authors. Project sponsors include Overleaf, Research Square, Cenveo Publisher Services, and JSTOR. These sponsors are lending their tools and services to help enrich the project and enhance the authoring and production experience.
The project will be managed on-site by Ruth Wylie, Assistant Director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and an Assistant Research Professor at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, with the support of Nina Miller, Design Strategist at the Center. Featured authors include Annalee Newitz, Tech Culture Editor at Ars Technica and author of Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction; Michael Simeone, Director of ASU’s Nexus Lab for Digital Humanities and Transdisciplinary Informatics; Ido Roll, Senior Manager for Research and Evaluation at the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology at the University of British Columbia; Madeline Ashby, science fiction writer, futurist, and columnist for the Ottawa Citizen; and Roopika Risam, Assistant Professor of English at Salem State University and a co-creator of the digital projects Postcolonial Digital Humanities and The Harlem Shadows Project.
“A book is always an artifact of intense collaboration—and no small amount of improvisation. Book sprints are an opportunity to bring all of that invisible work and energy into view,” said Ruth Wylie. “We’re particularly excited to be working with our sponsors to explore how new publishing and composition technologies are changing the way information, analysis, and insights can be assembled, packaged, and shared.”
For more information and to register for the SSP 38th Annual Meeting visit: https://www.sspnet.org/events/annual-meeting-2016/event-home/. The meeting hashtag is #SSP2016. Those interested can track the progress of the book and review the final product at sprintbeyondthebook.com.
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