Academic Commons Solution Stories

Content in academy commons are OPEN and FAIR​: Findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable by humans and machines.

Last Edited by Bruce Caron

Because academy commons are explicitly launching in the age of machine­ and human­-based networks, all scholarly objects and content is to conform to FAIR principles (Wilkinson et al., 2016). While the original FAIR principles explicitly referenced data, in academy commons, the idea of FAIR is extended to all types of ​digital outputs, including conversations, annotations, comments. "Open" here adds the aspect of publicly available sharing of research objects (except where privacy makes sense). FAIR lays out a set of criteria for ensuring that objects in the commons are findable, accessible, interoperable and re­usable by both machines and humans. FAIR provides for the ​identifiability and​stability of digital objects over time, a critical requirement for a system of scholarship.


However, academy commons need to extend the notion of accessible in several important ways. “Accessible” also means that the content needs to be accessible by non­-scholars if it is to achieve its objective. A new type of commoner is envisioned whose job it is to translate the intellectual output of the scholarly community so that it is understandable by a lay audience, either as a matter of course or on demand. One can envision that these communication specialists would be employed by Universities and other places where scholarship is created.


Accessible also needs to be understood in terms of disparities in networking and infrastructure. Networks are not all equal and even scholars at the best­-endowed university in the world may find themselves in a remote area where connectivity and compute cycles are minimal. The idea of “graceful degradation” of software supporting commons that can be used under multiple contexts and devices should be considered. Also, anyone getting to an endpoint of these commons, at this point in time, a terminal or a mobile device, should have the capacity to print a copy of a work for greater distribution.


Accessible also means for those with disabilities: ​Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled


Reference: Wilkinson, M. et al. The FAIR guiding principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Nature Scientific Data, ​


Adapted from Version .05 Force11 Commons Principles


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Idea No. 35