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Launch of Experimental Book Publishing Pilot Project 'Database as Book'

Launch of Experimental Book Project by the Research Data Share Collective, African Minds, and Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography

Published onApr 26, 2024
Launch of Experimental Book Publishing Pilot Project 'Database as Book'

The Open Book Futures (OBF) Experimental Publishing Group is very pleased to announce the launch of the ‘Database as Book’ experimental book pilot project, which is one of the three pilot projects that has been selected for funding out of OBF’s Call for Proposals for experimental book pilot projects.

The aim of these pilot projects is to promote the publication of experimental books. Through these pilot projects, OBF wants to foster sustainable communities of authors, publishers, developers, editors, reviewers, and open source technology providers that have an interest in engaging in more experimental forms of book publishing. Our focus is in specific on the publishing process itself and on adapting the existing workflows and processes of academic publishers to better accommodate the multiple forms and formats academic long-form research can take. For this reason the Experimental Publishing Group will work closely with the authors, presses, and technology providers involved in the pilot projects to create communities of practice and to explore how to best enable and support experimental book publishing together, while seeking to increase the recognition given to work published in non-traditional ways.

Database as Book

Database as Book and Lively Community Archive is an experimental book project which includes as partners the Research Data Share Collective, African Minds, and Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography (PECE).

The project partners are excited to announce this new project to build a “database as book” to support an emergent collective of critical STS scholars in Kenya. The database book will provide a public knowledge resource for considering the kinds of public knowledge infrastructure that needs to be developed in Kenya and, possibly, in other developing-country contexts. Check out the full project proposal at the Research Data Share website.

This initiative, supported by the Open Book Futures (OBF) project (with funding by Arcadia and the Research England Development (RED) Fund and Coventry University), will invest in building the technical functionality for a public "record of versions" in the open source Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography (PECE) to increase its capacity to publish long-form scholarship. The project partners are excited to experiment with a new genre of "database as book" to reimagine the relationalities that constitute academic writing, research, and publishing and how to represent these relationships in non-hierarchical, less linear ways, beyond the printed codex format.

Leveraging PECE software will bring modes of analysis to the surface in ways that enable the lateral work and relations necessary for effective community-led scholarly work. The project will receive input and support from open access monograph publisher African Minds. The workflow documentation on developing integrations between a book press and the PECE platform will also allow other presses to support the creation of future experimental versioned books.

Over the two-year project timeline (April 2024–March 2026), the project will host two public in-person events in Nairobi to share project updates and discuss the importance of developing alternative knowledge infrastructures and modes of scholarly publishing towards dismantling existing epistemic hierarchies and exclusions. Sign up here to stay updated as the project develops.

This project brings together a wide range of stakeholders to collaborate on the production of this experimental book:

Author team: Aurelia Munene, Syokau Mutonga,  Leonida Mutuku, Dr. Angela Okune, Dr. Wambui Wamunyu | Quotidian Data (Nairobi, Kenya) & Eider Africa (Nairobi, Kenya)

Publisher: Dr. François van Schalkwyk | African Minds (Cape Town, South Africa)

Open Source Platform Team: Professors Kim Fortun, Mike Fortun, and Lindsay Poirier  | University of California Irvine (Irvine, CA, USA) & Smith College (Northampton, MA, USA)

OBF Experimental Publishing Group advisors: Simon Bowie, Rebekka Kiesewetter, Janneke Adema | Coventry University (Coventry, UK)

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