Common Ground Research Networks Signs Publishers Compact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • 2021-10-21

Champaign, Illinois – Common Ground Research Networks (Not-for-Profit) is proud to be a signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Publishers Compact. Launched in collaboration with the International Publishers Association, the compact “features 10 action points that publishers, publishing associations and others can commit to undertaking in order to accelerate progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Signatories aspire to develop sustainable practices and act as champions of the SDGs, publishing books and journals that will help inform, develop and inspire action in that direction.”

Hugo Setzer, President, International Publishers Association: “Publishers can play such an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through the books we publish but we must also look at our business practices and contribute in our own right. This compact gives publishers the opportunity to mark their commitment with clear targets for them to aim for.”

Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, United Nations: “With the Decade of Action now under way, we are looking to build a coalition of partners to help us identify and accelerate sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. That’s why we at the United Nations are excited to know that the publishing industry is becoming part of this global movement. This Compact is a welcome initiative and one we hope will showcase innovative ideas from a sector that has a critical role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”

Phillip Kalantzis Cope, Chief Social Scientist, Common Ground Research Networks: “We believe that scholarly communication is a critical infrastructure on which society depends. We are committed to aligning our agenda to the Sustainable Development Goals, to frame our approach to designing digital and in-person architectures of communication, social interaction, and formal knowledge making that are resilient, democratic, equitable and sustainable. For this, we believe there is no time to wait.”

About Common Ground Research Networks // Common Ground Media Lab

For over 30 years, Common Ground Research Networks has been invested in developing technologies and collaboratively curating Research Networks that seek to break down barriers of access in scholarly communication. In each phase, we’ve built media platforms to support spaces for interdisciplinary dialogue, before such approaches were in vogue. We have connected international voices, when disciplines were too often isolated in national silos. And we have supported an agenda of access and equality, by offering pathways and opportunities for diverse voices.

We are now in a phase of re-development of our CGScholar platform, led by the Common Ground Media Lab, the research and technology arm of Common Ground Research Networks.

Our premise has been that media platforms — pre-digital and now also digital — have often not been designed to structure and facilitate a rigorous, democratic, and a sustainable knowledge economy.

CGScholar is a platform that seeks to become a trusted marketplace for knowledge work, one that rigorously democratizes the process of knowledge-making, rewards participants, and offers a secure basis for the sustainable creation and distribution of digital knowledge artifacts.

The CGScholar platform is today being used by knowledge workers as diverse as: faculty in universities to deliver e-learning experiences; innovative schools wishing to challenge the ways learning and assessment have traditionally worked; and government and non-government organizations connecting local knowledge and experience to wider policy objectives and measurable outcomes. Each of these use cases illustrates the different knowledge communities that CGScholar serves, while also opening spaces for new and emerging voices in the world of scholarly communication.

With nearly 30,000 published works and over 250,000 users, we have come a long way since our first web app in twenty years ago. But we still only see this as the beginning.

We now propose another kind of intervention—to build a scholarly communication infrastructure for a blended conference. Our blended model seeks to transcend physical boundaries by offering a platform to extend in-person conference content online, while ensuring online-only delegates are afforded equal participatory and experiential spaces within the platform. At the same time, the model offers participants a legacy resource to which they can return in the Event application within CGScholar, with access also to a social space in our Community application where fellow participants can remain connected long after the conference ends.

As a not-for-profit, Common Ground Research Networks is guided by a core mission: to support the building of better societies and informed citizenries through rigorous and inclusive social knowledge practices, offering in-person and online scholarly communication spaces. Since 2009, we have had the fortune of being based in the University of Illinois Research Park while building our latest platform – CGScholar. This is a suite of apps based on the theoretical work of world-renowned scholars from the Colleges of Education and Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. CGScholar has been built with the support of funding from the US Department of Education, Illinois Ventures, the National Science Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.