Highlights from the Kettering Winter Newsletter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/12/2018 - 11:30pm in



In case you missed it, NCDD org member, the Kettering Foundation sent out their Winter newsletter, which you can read in the post below to learn what they’ve been up to lately. Highlights include Kettering at NCDD2018, discount opportunity on Dzur’s new book – Democracy Inside, upcoming CGA forums, and more. Please join us in congratulating John Dedrick, who was recently named Kettering’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer! If you haven’t already, you can sign up for Kettering’s newsletters by clicking here to stay up-to-date on all that they are is working on.

Kettering Foundation News & Notes – Winter 2018

Sometimes wisdom can be found in odd places. In the 2008 movie The Christmas Clause, an elf at the North Pole patiently explains, “Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing.” There are no elves (that we know of) at the foundation, but in researching what it takes to make democracy work as it should, we try to help people recognize democratic practices in a wide variety of often ordinary activities. In the past month, foundation program officers and associates have taken that message on the road in speeches, panels, and conferences.

Civility: Beyond Miss Manners

The need for civility was once a humdrum topic more often found in the musings of Miss Manners than in the opinion pages of the New York Times. No longer. In our highly contentious political environment, civility has become an enduring concern. And explorations of that concern frequently include people who have been involved in Kettering’s work.

An example: On October 29, Solutions Journalism Network cofounder and CEO David Bornstein authored a column in the New York Times to address the topic. Titled “Recovering the (Lost) Art of Civility,” the column is a question-and-answer session with the Consensus Building Institute’s David Fairman. It explores how economic shifts, demographic changes, and a lack of motivation for political parties to work together, instead of stoking conflict, all contribute to rising tensions. The column addresses what citizens can do; for example, cultivating a genuine spirit of curiosity and willingness to listen to what members of “the other side” really believe.

The column cited the work of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, as well as Everyday Democracy and Spaceship Media. People from all of these organizations have participated in Kettering Foundation research exchanges and other meetings at the foundation.

Hal Saunders’ Work Continues

The late Harold “Hal” Saunders, Kettering Foundation longtime director of international affairs and founder of the Sustained Dialogue Institute, was a pillar of the Dartmouth Conference and a creative thinker of the first order. His vision of citizen involvement in peacemaking resulted in his developing Sustained Dialogue, a form of citizen diplomacy that uses empathy, listening, and relationship-building between citizens of different nations to improve understanding. It’s also why he wrote his book Sustained Dialogue in Conflicts: Transformation and Change.
It is fitting that his book has now been translated into Russian, with Kettering Foundation support and the vision of Irina Zvyagelskaya and Alex Aksenenko, members of the Dartmouth Conference Task Force on the Middle East. Both had been using the English version as part of their courses on diplomacy. Irina teaches at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and Alex at Moscow State University.

Senior associate Phil Stewart tells us that the Russian International Affairs Council will hold a public event at the end of December 2018 to formally announce the book’s publication. Hal has been gone nearly two years, but it is gratifying that his visionary work continues to bear fruit.

Out and About with Kettering Staff

Ray Minor: The Day “OGs” Taught Firefighters
When Kettering Foundation program officer Ray Minor talks, E.F. Hutton listens.

Ray delivered a speech at the E.F. Hutton and Antioch College conference on Social Capital in Yellow Springs, Ohio, on October 20. Ray spoke of social capital as the relations and connections that build trust, reciprocity, and a willingness to work together as citizens, institutions, and communities.

In his speech, Ray cited five case studies to illustrate his points. One involved the Los Angeles Fire Department’s work with former gang members, or OGs (original gangsters), in the south precinct. The OGs educated the firefighters, who were fearful of answering calls in crime-ridden neighborhoods, on gang culture and behaviors; the firefighters trained the gang members in life-saving techniques. Call them strange bedfellows, call them coproducers; somehow, it all works.

Read the rest of Ray’s speech here.

Ray also moderated a panel at the 2018 Northeast Conference on Public Administration, which was held November 2-4 in Baltimore, Maryland. Ray’s remarks for the panel, “A critique on the government’s response to communities of color,” discussed US immigration policy and its adverse effects on people of color. Ray cited four cases, including Vietnamese and Haitian “boat people,” Cuban refugees, and the recent Central American refugee caravan to support his point that US immigration policy historically has favored certain European immigrants and disfavored immigrants from nations of color, including China, Mexico, and African countries.

A Civil Dialogue with Valerie Lemmie
On October 19, Kettering Foundation director of exploratory research Valerie Lemmie brought her independent status as a voter and her years of experience as a city manager to a University of Dayton panel titled “A civil dialogue in an uncivil time.”

The panel featured former Ohio governor Robert Taft and members of the Ohio statehouse on both sides of the aisle, as well as members of academia. The audience heard Valerie reflect on the challenges of citizenship and working in government.

“The value of working in local government is that you get exposed to every facet of society from elites to the downtrodden,” Valerie said. “Often when people are uncivil, it is because of their anger and their frustration. They have had it! They come to a city council meeting and are given three minutes to speak. While they are talking, nobody is listening. They have knocked on the door, and nobody has answered,” she said.

Valerie recalled her work in Cincinnati when the shooting of an African American man by a police officer sparked unrest. “The hardest part as a civil servant and a woman of color was to be boycotted whenever I walked along downtown streets, to hear protesters chant ‘No justice, no peace.’ It broke my heart that they thought I, as a woman of color, did not understand,” Valerie said. “I saw my role as being in the system but not becoming the system in order to make change.”

“Most of us care about our communities. . . . What if we got together on a wicked problem that we were concerned about? What if we said, ‘This isn’t a right or wrong issue; this is a matter of values’? We may not agree with our neighbor, but this will give us a perspective that we didn’t have before, a perspective that allows us to wrestle with the trade-offs and perhaps be able to reach common ground on what we can do to solve problems,” Valerie said.

For more, watch the video.

Dzur’s Book Explores Innovations in Democracy
In December, Oxford University Press will publish a new book by Albert Dzur, professor at Bowling Green State University and former scholar-in-residence at Kettering. Democracy Inside: Participatory Innovation in Unlikely Places looks at recent instances of transformative citizen action across the United States and, through examples and interviews, demonstrates that looking beyond conventional politics is necessary to bring about change. Dzur argues that change requires transforming classrooms, courtrooms, and offices into civic spaces where citizens and institutions can interact in a constructive and effective way.

You can order a copy on the Oxford University Press website. Use code ASFLYQ6 to save 30 percent.

KF Swarms Conference
The National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) met in Denver November 2-4, and among its 40-plus presenters for more than 5 dozen workshops were many familiar faces from the Kettering Foundation, including program officer Ekaterina Lukianova and senior associates Betty Knighton and Paula Ellis. There were many more fellow travelers who have come to the foundation over the years, including, of course, Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD’s founding director. The conference featured a deliberation led by Virginia York on the opioid epidemic, using the NIF issue guide What Should We Do about the Opioid Epidemic? For more details and information, head over to the NCDD website.

Dedrick Named Kettering’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
John R. Dedrick has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation.

“John’s new title recognizes the work he has already done, providing leadership to both the foundation’s research programs and its operations,” said Kettering president David Mathews in announcing Dedrick’s new title. “This recognition is long overdue and well deserved.”

“It’s an honor and privilege to be part of this organization,” Dedrick said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve the foundation.”

Since 2008, Dedrick has served as Kettering’s vice president and program director. He joined the foundation in 1995 as a program officer and held the position of director of programs from 2003 to 2008.

Dedrick received a BA and MA from the College of William and Mary and an MA and PhD in political science from Rutgers University.

Dedrick is emeritus board president of Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement. He serves on the executive committee of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, Philanthropy Ohio’s public policy committee and the editorial board of the Journal of Public Deliberation. He is also a faculty fellow at Fielding Graduate University, where he leads seminars on topics including deliberation, dialogue, and civic engagement.

Common Ground for Action Forums in December

There are a number of Common Ground for Action (CGA) forum opportunities coming up in December. These are great opportunities to let students or colleagues try a deliberative forum from the comfort of their own desk (or couch).

  • Wednesday, December 5 @ 1:00 pm EST to Thursday, December 6 @ 3:00 pm EST
    CGA Moderator Workshop for Educators  REGISTER
  • Wednesday, December 5 @ 1:00 pm EST/10:00 am PST
    Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?  REGISTER
  • Saturday, December 15 @ 6:00 pm EST/3:00 pm PST
    America’s Energy Future: How Can We Take Charge?  REGISTER

And, for those who have been trained as CGA moderators but could use a refresher or have questions about using CGA in their work, Kara Dillard has online “office hours” each Friday. REGISTER here! December’s sessions are:

  • December 7 @ 12 pm EST
  • December 14 @ 12 pm EST

Thelma Chollar

The foundation lost a good friend the week before Thanksgiving when Thelma Chollar died at the age of 102. She was the widow of former Kettering Foundation board chair and president Robert G. Chollar (1971-1981). Chollar had been residing in an assisted living facility in Vienna, Virginia, for several years. Her son Ric wrote in an email that her final days were comfortable and pain-free. The family plans to hold a memorial service in Fairfax, Virginia, January 12.

Mary Mathews remembers Chollar as a strong woman who exerted a quiet influence behind the scenes. “What I remember the most is how open and inviting the expression on her face always was; it was reflective of an innate gentleness and acceptance,” Mary said. She said Chollar often hosted social events at her home with Kettering Foundation board members, staff, and associates because the term of her husband’s presidency predated the current campus and the foundation had no facilities for get-togethers.

Bob Daley was the foundation’s director of communications when Robert Chollar died in 1981. For several years thereafter, Bob and his wife, Berneta, would escort Chollar to foundation events, picking her up at her Kettering condominium and bringing her to dinners and other occasions. “She was a small woman, always gracious, and always grateful for the little things we would do for her,” Bob said.

Read the full obituary here.

See KF or NIF in the news? Please let us know.

We do our best to track mentions of the foundation and National Issues Forums in the news and in academic journals, but we need your help to make sure we don’t miss anything. If you see Kettering or National Issues Forums mentioned in press coverage or academic publications, please let us know by emailing

New Resource & Webinar on Combating Bias in Schools

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/12/2018 - 12:00am in



Addressing incidents of bias when they come up can be challenging, especially when they happen in schools. NCDD member org, Public Agenda, just released their new guide, “Addressing Incidents of Bias in Schools” to support having these conversations (which can be downloaded for free on their site here). There will also be a free webinar on addressing bias in schools this coming Wednesday, December 5th from 3-4pm Eastern, 12-1 Pacific – which you can register for here. You can read this announcement below and find the original version on Public Agenda’s site here.

Ways to Combat Bias in Schools: A New Resource

There’s a growing concern about discrimination and hate crimes taking place across the country. While incidents of bias can occur anywhere, it’s especially troubling when it happens in our schools. Discussing race and discrimination can be difficult for the most seasoned of professionals, however, that discomfort should not prevent important conversations from taking place.

Join Matt Leighninger and Nicole Cabral of Public Agenda for a one-hour webinar where attendees will be armed with the tips and strategies they need to facilitate safe, illuminating and productive conversations on incidents of bias. Matt and Nicole will pull from the newly-released discussion guide, “Addressing Incidents of Bias in Schools: A guide for preventing and reacting to discrimination affecting students” to provide a framework for this virtual conversation that will include advice on how to use the guide in classrooms, staff meetings, afterschool programs, and schoolwide events.

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 5 – 3:00 pm ET

Guest Speaker: Nicole Cabral, associate director of public engagement, Public Agenda
Moderator: Matt Leighninger, vice president of public engagement, Public Agenda

To register for this free webinar and to receive updates leading up to the event, please click here. We look forward to having you join us.

Education Week is serving only as the host for this presentation. The content was created by the sponsor. The opinions expressed in this webinar are those of the sponsor and do not reflect the opinion of or constitute an endorsement by Editorial Projects in Education or any of its publications.

Closed-captioning is available for this event. On the date of the event, you can log in as early as 15 minutes before the start of the webinar. Open the “Closed-Captioning” link from the “resource list” (located at the bottom of the console) to access Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART). A transcript will also be available for download from the resource list within three business days after the event.

You can find the original version of this announcement on Public Agenda’s site at

Join Free Webinar on NY Public Library Community Conversations Program, 12/5

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 01/12/2018 - 12:00am in



Last year, we announced a two-year partnership with the American Library Association on a new initiative, Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change, which sought to train librarians in dialogue and deliberation processes with the goal of turning libraries into spaces of civic engagement and community discussions. We invite you to join a free one hour webinar on December 5th on how the New York Public Library created their Community Conversations series pilot to support the community in addressing important issues. In this webinar, you’ll learn how they developed the 11-month training program for librarians in 16 branches, tailored the conversation series to what the community needed, and implemented the series to deepen the libraries’ role as civic centers. You can read the announcement below and sign up to join the webinar here.

Community Conversations Across Neighborhoods: Dialogue-Driven Programming

Libraries have the potential to inspire local dialogue on timely issues across communities, positioning library staff as trusted facilitators. Join us for this free one-hour webinar to hear how New York Public Library created a conversation series on important issues in the diverse communities they serve.

In February 2017, the New York Public Library (NYPL) launched a Community Conversations pilot with the goal of further establishing branch libraries as key civic convening centers, providing space, information and quality discussion for communities to better understand and problem-solve around local issues.

Aligning with the ALA Public Programs Office’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative, NYPL’s Adult Programming and Outreach Services (ORS) Office developed an original 11-month training program with staff from 16 branch libraries that resulted in a series of unique, community-led programs.

Program boundaries were kept flexible enough for branch staff to be able to design programs with their own diverse neighborhood communities in mind. Branches experimented with a variety of tactics to ensure community focus, including community issue voting boards, a public planning committee, community-mapping and final program sessions that invited attendees to discuss next steps.

Participants of this session will learn:

  • Best practices and lessons learned from NYPL’s Community Conversations programming
  • How to launch successful location-based Community Conversations initiatives that build partnerships and engage staff in new ways
  • Specific dialogue-driven program models that can be used as templates for programs in libraries across geographic locations

Alexandra Kelly Berman is the manager of adult programming and outreach services at the New York Public Library, where she works with library staff across 88 neighborhood branches to introduce programs for local adult communities, including the recent Community Conversations pilot. Alexandra began at NYPL by developing and leading the successful multi-branch Community Oral History Project. Before working at NYPL, she was a facilitator at StoryCorps and received an M.A. from the School of Media Studies at The New School, where she also acted as director of student services + engagement. She has also launched several youth media projects around New York City, including an oral history project in Crown Heights, The Engage Media Lab program at The New School, and a documentary filmmaking project at Brooklyn Children’s Museum.

Andrew Fairweather is a librarian at the New York Public Library’s Seward Park branch in the Lower East Side. He is fervent in his belief that the library can serve as a unique platform for discussion about tricky issues and current events. He enjoys painting and drawing when not occupied with library work. Andrew’s interest in any one subject is incredibly unfaithful — he will read (most) anything as a result.

Nancy Aravecz is a senior adult librarian at the Jefferson Market branch of The New York Public Library. In this role, she focuses on providing top-notch discussion-based programming to the Greenwich Village community, centered around information literacy, technology, current events and classic works of literature. She is a recent graduate of Kent State University’s MLIS program, where she studied digital libraries. She also holds a previous MA degree in English Language and Letters from New York University, where her studies centered around literary theory and criticism, postcolonial studies and the digital humanities.

Related Learning Opportunities:

You can find the original version of this announcement on the Programming Librarian website (part of the American Library Association Public Programs Office) at

Exciting New Book on 30 Years of Participatory Budgeting

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/11/2018 - 12:00am in

For our participatory budgeting enthusiasts out there (and we know there are a lot of you!), NCDD member org – the Participatory Budgeting Project, recently shared the exciting new book, Hope for Democracy: 30 years of participatory budgeting worldwide. The 600-page volume, edited by Nelson Dias, features over 60 authors on their experiences with PB across the world over the last 30 years and offers great insights for how to further grow the PB movement. We are thrilled to note that folks are able to download this book for free! You can read more about it in the post below and find the original announcement on the PBP site here.

Hope for Democracy: A New Book Reflects on 30 Years of Participatory Budgeting

An expansive new volume edited by Nelson Dias features dispatches by more than 60 authors from the frontlines of participatory budgeting’s (PB) growth around the world. This book, Hope for Democracy, could not have come out at a better time for PB supporters in North America. Next year will mark 10 years of PB in the US and new opportunities to take PB to the next level: a big citywide process approved in NYC, hundreds of new school PB processes, and growing political interest in strengthening democracy.

To make the most of these great opportunities to revitalize democracy, we need to first learn from PB’s growth internationally. Dias and his collaborators deliver countless insights in their 600-page panorama. (Download the book for free here.)

We lift up the biggest lessons below…

Why have Hope for Democracy?
Dias begins with an overview of key trends in PB as it spread from Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989 to over 7,000 localities around the world. PB experts Brian Wampler, Stephanie McNulty, and Michael Touchton note how in Brazil during the 1990s, leftist politicians and activists championed PB as a radical project to “broaden the confines of representative democracy, mobilize followers, and achieve greater social justice” (p. 55); over time, it attracted support from a wide range of actors, including international organizations like the World Bank, because of its potential to improve governance and promote civic engagement. Giovanni Allegretti and Kalinca Copello discuss how, as PB spread internationally, new processes often committed fewer funds, whether measured as lower PB spending per person or as a smaller share of PB in the overall budgets (p. 45).

Benjamin Goldfrank and Katherine Landes examine how this trend has played out in the U.S. and Canada. They report that PB has expanded more slowly than other regions in terms of the number of cities implementing it, the amount of participants, and the volume of funds (p. 161). Yet, Goldfrank and Landes demonstrate this is not due to a lack of public interest: “we find that where PB allocates larger pots of money, the rate of participation tends to be higher” (p. 172). In other words, the more dollars that a PB process allocates, the more people care about it. Moreover, two bright spots on the horizon indicate that PB may grow faster in coming years: its mounting presence in schools and its rising appeal among progressive activists and politicians.

In the light of the recent victories in NYC—PB in all public high schools and citywide PB approved into the city charter—this watershed may be closer than the Goldfrank and Landes anticipated. Chapters on Paris, Russia, and Portugal offer additional insights on how to scale up PB in North America.

Paris offers a model of PB going big
Paris currently runs the largest PB process in the world. Similar to NYC’s coming city-wide process, PB in Paris was championed by a progressive mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who successfully campaigned on bringing PB to Paris in her 2014 election. Mayor Hidalgo wasted no time in implementing her plan of dedicating 5% of the city’s capital budget to PB over the first five years (That’s roughly 500 million euros!). Tiago Peixoto and colleagues use the Paris case to study large-scale issues, like whether online voting improves the process or biases it towards more privileged residents. Their research finds that voting patterns between online voters and those who vote in person are remarkably similar.

PB in Russia innovates, expands rapidly
In 2015, Russia experienced a turning point after which the number of PB processes grew surprisingly fast. This occurred when the Ministry of Finance noted the positive outcomes in regional PB processes and created a framework known as Initiative Financing. The next year, 8,732 PB projects were implemented. By 2018, half of all regional governments in the country (the equivalent of U.S. states) decided to set up PB programs.

Why did so many regions begin PB so quickly, when the federal government did not provide financial incentives to do so? Ivan Shulga and Vladimir Vagin emphasize how the central framework and technical assistance provided by the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank made regional implementation much easier. These processes also made use of some innovative institutional designs. In some programs, municipalities, businesses, organizations, and citizens pledged to co-finance projects, increasing their chance of receiving regional funding. Another program used a form of sortition or citizen jury, in which a cohort of volunteer budget delegates was randomly selected, to work with experts to turn project ideas into full-fledged and feasible proposals.

Portugal leads the way with national PB
Portugal was the first country to run nation-wide PB. While the process is not particularly large in terms of public participation or budget, it does provide one model of a large-scale institutional design that bridges disparate regions.

Roberto Falanga outlines how the process collected nearly 1,000 ideas from each part of the country in 50 assemblies and winnowed them down into viable proposals for a vote. The process did not use budget delegates to revise the proposals. While this may streamline the process, it runs the risk of giving experts and officials more power than public participants. However, an effort was made to minimize this danger by requiring detailed reasons for rejecting proposals and re-including ones that could be revised and made feasible. Still, proposals that were backed by informal social networks may have received undue prominence. For example a bullfighting project won funding even though a majority of the Portuguese public believes that the practice should be banned.

Reflecting on what’s been done, ready for more
It’s an exciting moment to get involved with PB. And it’s an important time to reflect on how far different regions have taken PB. While there are currently around 100 active processes in the U.S. and Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean hosts around 2,500 processes and Europe 3,500. We have some catching up to do.

Donate here to help PB grow.

You can find the original version of this announcement on the Participatory Budgeting Project’s site at

Habits for Successful Academics

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/11/2018 - 5:58am in


Academia, research

Excuse me. Did I hear you right? Did you say you didn’t get a doctorate to write papers so that you can get grants so that you can do research an influence your field of expertise? I suppose that isn’t the shocker of the year.

At one of the events of this year’s taste of science Festival a speaker clarified for the audience that researchers don’t write papers for themselves. They do it so that they can get the funding they need to make that research meaningful. It was a statement that resonated with me, almost as much as a comment by a professor who later confided to me that Ph.D. programs do not teach teachers how to teach.

Mind. Blown.

While some people enjoy the process of writing and discovery and telling their story of those findings through the written word, there are so many people that view that finished research product as a necessary evil. Sometimes that scholarly article is even more frustrating than the study itself! Then there are revisions, rejections, and unanswered questions thrown back at the authors as a result of that pesky little PDF.

Writing impactful papers is tough. We get that. There’s no one answer to clear away the frustration, no button to make your colleagues’ opinions disappear, and no spell you can cast on journal editors to make acceptance easy. However, there are a few things that you can do to help make your research life just a little more balanced and clear. Hopefully there will be one or two tips below that can save you a strand or two when you fell like pulling your hair out.

1) Take time away from email each day.

We’ve all experienced that week where we open the inbox on Monday morning and then before you know it you’ve worked sixty hours that week and all you can think of is the things you need to accomplish next week. We complain about it. We rely on it. We spend too much time on it. Email communications are important, but chances are you already know you won’t get to all of it. Ask yourself what the real impact will be if you go dark for an hour or more during the day. All those message will be waiting for you when you get back and you’ll have those sworn hours away from the tapping fingers of colleagues and students to accomplish tasks that require more focus and action.

2) Save your ideas immediately.

If scientists had post-its in the shower, who knows what problems might be solved by now! Fleeting strokes of brilliance are too often followed by head scratching “what was that thought I had earlier?” Don’t assume you’ll remember anything later and don’t count on the person sitting in the passenger seat while you are stuck in traffic to remind you later. Write down your ideas and breakthroughs immediately. Go the extra mile and add an action point that you can take to help achieve or prove your point.

3) Track your sources.

Remember when citations were called a bibliography and they were the last step to writing your paper? It’s always placed after the paper, so it might make sense contextually to write the citations after the paper. That mentality ends here.

Having the printed version of the paper somewhere on your desk does not count as tracking your sources. Write the citation to your sources in the appropriate format as soon as you choose to incorporate it into your work. Manage the in-text citations as you go. Be diligent about citing your sources!

4) Reread your work.

Rereading isn’t just for spelling errors. We know, you have spell check for that. Read for content and context. Do you remember everything you said? Especially the things you wrote during that all-nighter, or worse, the day after the all-nighter? Check that your thoughts are organized that that you points flow from one to the other. Are you making assumptions that the readers know certain things? Did you add extraneous data that you found during the study that doesn’t contribute to your thesis? Edit. Edit. Edit.

5) Keep up with other studies.

You have your hands full with your study, but remember to come up for air or you’ll miss out on opportunities. Be aware of any other ongoing studies that might contribute to or conflict with your own study. Note any chances for collaboration, or alternative methods of collecting data that might enhance your own work. Ensure that you are studying the right factors and that you are considering your problem from all perspectives, which can become difficult when you are so close to the work.

6) Go interdisciplinary.

Just because your expertise is in one field doesn’t mean your work is worthless to another discipline. Are you an expert in computer science? Explore the repercussions of your study in human interaction. Is your work in biology? How does it affect ethics?

We’ve always seen the value of cross-posting papers between subjects. This is why SSRN allows papers to be shared in up to twelve eJournals. A completed research paper almost always has at least one complimentary area of expertise. Make sure your work is discoverable to all potentially interested parties.

7) Share with a broad audience.

This is the 21st century. Don’t limit the circle that your paper is able to reach. If you’ve published the article, check the agreement for the right to share the pre-published version. If you’re trying to get publicity for a study, or boost credibility as a researcher you need to share broadly. We’ve always found that this is one way to increase the impact of your paper.

Go forth and write your research! By cultivating good, healthy habits you’ll be ready to share that paper sooner than you might think is possible. When you are ready to share, you’ll be able to enjoy the success that savvy academics enjoy.

Submit a Paper to an SSRN Network


Rural Lessons on Weaving Civic Fabric

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/11/2018 - 12:00am in



NCDD member Public Agenda recently reposted an article on their blog that talks about the ways in which rural America is a great incubator and educator of civil society. The original article shares five lessons that rural communities can teach on how to form and maintain a civil society, and they illustrate this point through the use of a magic carpet analogy. In order to make society fly, we need to work together to weave the carpet – but in smaller rural areas, people often have to take on several civic roles to repair the carpet along the way. You can read the article below and find the original version on PA’s site here.

What Rural America Can Teach Us About Civil Society

When one thinks about “community engagement” or “public participation” the image is often of a neighborhood meeting, or a public hearing. Implicitly, the background setting is a town or city.

I’m glad to highlight analysis by Allen Smart and Betsey Russell about What Rural America Can Teach Us about Civil Society.

Allen is leading a project at Campbell University to identify, align, and energize effective rural philanthropy around the country. Betsey is a philanthropy writer and researcher, currently developing a series of case studies about successful rural funding approaches.

Smart and Russell focus on dispelling stereotypes of rural America.

There is a popular, longstanding perception (among urban folk) that rural America is somehow separate from the rest of us…. Seen either as one large, poorly educated and impoverished backwater (a rural dystopia as in the film Deliverance), or a self-segregated, agrarian utopia…. (À la the sitcom “Green Acres”). Post 2016, another frame has emerged: that of rural America as an angry white mob that votes counter to its own interests.

Their nice metaphor is of a magic flying carpet:

We believe civil society exists when people who live in a defined geographic proximity work cooperatively—even when they strongly disagree with or dislike one another—to sustain mutually beneficial conditions. Think of civil society as a magic flying carpet that, to hold a community aloft, must contain many different fibers.

Five lessons are derived from their experience with rural community engagement and philanthropy. Two highlights:

Civil society is rooted in actions, not words.

…while some urban researchers, thinkers, and pundits may spend time developing and analyzing theories about civil society, people in rural communities are spending time imagining and incubating the “real-world” conversations, partnerships, mutual understandings, and trust necessary to create it.

Civil society can become a bastion of the privileged.

In many cases, civil society in rural communities has been controlled by a few, much to the detriment of the whole…. Those in power are quick to serve on boards, run for office, donate to local organizations, and speak their minds. While this may ensure some consistency in leadership for civil society, the downside is that this small group of people ultimately control the community….Fortunately, rural communities can change this dynamic to foster civil society.

To find out about the other three lessons, here’s their August 2018 post. which is part of a partnership between  and the nonprofit group Independent Sector called the Civil Society for the 21st Century series.

This blog was originally posted on Community Engagement Learning Exchangement — a University of North Carolina School of Government blog.

You can find the original version of this article on Public Agenda’s site at

Get the Most Out of Your Experience on SSRN (credit card NOT required)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 04/11/2018 - 7:13am in



We’ll let you in on a little secret… We want users of SSRN to log in.

Okay, so it’s not much of a secret. In fact, we admit it pretty openly. There was only a brief period of time when we removed the ability to download without an account. We felt we weren’t being true to our mission and the experiment was unanimously terminated pretty quickly.

So, why? Why do we want users to create that free account so badly? It’s pretty simple. We want you to come back. And if we expect you to do that, we know we need to provide you with a good experience.

Like most people in the 21st century, we think that a good experience is one that is customized. When you log in to SSRN you have the chance to tailor your journey through the available research according to your interests and needs. So, are you getting the most out of your free SSRN account? Use the tools and below to ensure your SSRN account is saving you valuable time and energy while delivering your choice in research topics.

My Library

This feature was formerly known as “My Briefcase”. Using this feature, you can save any paper. It’ll save to your “My Library” section of your SSRN account. No limits. Not time constraints. Just come back and enjoy the research when you have time to read them. All those times you say “Oh, I’ll come back to it later.” By saving it to your My Library, you’ll actually have the opportunity to do that. No chances to lose it. No wasted space on your desk.



One of the reasons authors like using SSRN is that their network of readers will always be able to find their latest work in one concise location. Use the Ideas feature on your My Papers page to keep readers aware of the ongoing work you are doing. This feature builds publicity and anticipation around your paper even before you are ready to post it! It can also help attract potential collaborators. Dedicated readers and others interested in the topic will see your ideas on your author page. Use the Ideas feature on your My Papers page to keep readers aware of the ongoing work you are doing



Subscription is usually the place where people think “ah, that’s where this site makes the money.” In SSRN’s case, not so. We have hundreds of abstracting eJournals that can be accessed through your free account. So, you can click through the ones you like and add them to your user profile. Journals will be sent to your inbox regularly and you’ll get access to new, relevant research just by checking your inbox.

Submit A Paper

Our proudest achievement and the bulk of our commitment to researchers in practice is that we host research papers. To the authors who post, we thank you. We never charge authors to post papers. By posting a paper through your free account you secure your author page where all of your papers will be available. You can also add affiliations that benefit your institution, add a profile picture, and maintain it as a general hub of your work.

Share Your Thoughts!

How do you use SSRN? What are your favorite features? Let us know in the comments!

And, if you haven’t already, create that free SSRN account.

Create Your Account


Open access: five provocations

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 26/10/2018 - 2:07am in

This week marks International Open Access Week 2018. At the Alliance for Useful Evidence, we’re big supporters of the principles behind the open access (OA) movement: scholarly research should be available to everyone, not just to academics. OA is also central to the success of the evidence movement: lack of access to quality research is a frequently cited barrier to evidence uptake by policy-makers.

Our own work also needs the evidence produced by academics, so we’re often frustrated when we find that so much of it is tucked away behind paywalls. Unfortunately, access can come down to who you know: asking a university-affiliated friend or colleague to download an article for you can be a quick solution for one person, but it’s no good to people without those kinds of networks (and it may well be in breach of copyright law).

There’s a huge amount out there extolling the benefits and lamenting the challenges of OA, but much of what we hear seems to recycle the same old debates, or operate within the confines of the systems and norms already in place. We need a system that supports the academic community, but also creates genuine change in the availability and dissemination of research.

Inspired by the British Library’s Open and Engaged event earlier this week, we’ve decided to play devil’s advocate with OA, asking five provocative questions to stimulate some new debate and ideas on what we think is a crucial topic.

1.     Could we just cut out the publishers?

As Professor Jane Winters told us at Open and Engaged, the costs of making an academic book OA can be astronomical – we’re talking between £5-10k per book. Journal articles average between £1.5-£2k each (see the Finch Report for estimates). In an article for a TLS special edition this week, philosopher Tim Crane points out the ‘implausible and outrageous’ burden placed on individual researchers and public institutions by academic publishing – and in practice OA means that publishers seek to recoup costs directly from academics. While there are initiatives which help to cover these costs, like the KU Leuven Fund for Fair OA from Leuven University Press, or the rise in OA journals which don’t charge fees at all, for the majority of journals which aren’t OA, someone still has to pay. Authors themselves aren’t necessarily paid to write in the first place – certainly not early career academics without contracts, or in teaching-only positions – so the idea that they then ought to pay to get their work published seems ludicrous. It’s the publishers who make the money, so what if we took them out of the equation? Instead, universities themselves could provide the editors (other academics) and the blind peer review matchmaking system (often the authors will be asked to recommend reviewers anyway, themselves usually unpaid), and could publish papers and books online in their raw PDF formats. The question of whether we need publishers is one that’s been asked before, and there have been boycotts of journals, petitions, and mass resignations in protest at the amount publishers make from academics’ writing, as well as calls for academic self-publishing, but we still don’t have an answer.

2.     Can we stop talking amongst ourselves?

The conversation about OA has mostly taken place in the academic community, a point raised this week by the British Library’s Dr Torsten Reimer. There is now increased will to bring together open access with public engagement, including for the British Library as it develops its ‘Living Knowledge’ vision. So far, however, debates about OA have excluded the people it nominally aims to serve – the ‘public’, an impossibly varied category. Consultations on OA policy have pretty much exclusively involved representatives of the HE sector, funders, publishers and sometimes libraries. The language of OA isn’t exactly self-explanatory; Plan S, gold routes, green routes and APCs don’t make much sense to anyone unfamiliar with the workings of journal publishing. Meaningfully opening up the conversation involves something a bit pithier than tagging a commitment to public engagement on to the in-and-outs of publishing rules. Making research available to everyone will involve consulting as widely as possible – with government, charities, community organisations, foundations, social enterprises, independent research organisations, and business. It’s also the only way we’ll know if policy is on the right track.

3.     Why aren’t we addressing demand?

UKRI – the UK’s new research funding body – has adopted the principle that OA should ‘assist the development of a research system that facilitates “openness”’. Openness is a hugely valuable principle, but not if we don’t know what it means. If we are making research open to the ‘public’, we need to identify specific ‘publics’ and what they actually need from research. In other words, we have to address demand. Do we really have evidence that the majority of the public want access to academic articles addressing detailed debates within their research disciplines? Or even shortened lay summaries? This isn’t to say that this writing shouldn’t be produced or made publicly available. The point is that the content and style of research dissemination has to speak to its purpose – and will likely need to be as varied as the ‘public’ itself. At the Alliance for Useful Evidence, we are working to make research evidence and methods relevant and digestible for decision-makers in government and charities. This involves looking at what works in dissemination, as well as making sure we have evidence that is fit for purpose in the social sector. If we want OA to support a more open research system, in which publishing works for the public good, we need a bigger shift in how we present and disseminate the findings of research.

4.     Do people value what they pay for?

It may be a sad indictment of late capitalism, but we can argue that people don’t value things that are free. Given the rise in anti-intellectualism and the prevailing post-truth climate since Trexit, academics aren’t exactly top of the list when it comes to public trust. Low pay and precarious work are already becoming hallmarks of academic life for many early career researchers especially; if publications, too, become freely available, what does that say about the value society places on the academics who write them? Of course, the related argument, made by Professor Haidy Geismar, questions what ‘value’ really means: ‘how is research valuable and for whom, who should profit and how’?

5.     Are we willing to take risks?

Publishing is important for academics: jobs, reputations and tenure depend on getting work into peer-reviewed journals, even more so thanks to the REF. It’s both unfair, and unrealistic, to expect individual researchers to foot the bill for open access. But if academia as a whole isn’t willing to countenance change, we’re not likely to move far beyond well-established publishing traditions. There’s also some growing opinion that mechanisms like peer-review can serve to narrow, rather than expand, the amount of research that sees the light (see Martin Paul Eve’s challenge to the current peer review system). At Open and Engaged, Professor Haidy Geismar urged us to ‘reimagine the ecology of open access’; think creatively about new publishing models and draw on our collective expertise. This will mean taking risks and breaking with old habits. Are we up to the task?

We’d love to see more experimentation and innovation in OA publishing. Initiatives like show the potential for new solutions to public access, while the UK What Works Network demonstrates the growing appetite for freely-available research in helping to solve real world problems.

Share your ideas, initiatives or resources – and let us know if you disagree.

The post Open access: five provocations appeared first on The Alliance for Useful Evidence.

What on Earth is the Eleusis Benefit Corporation?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 21/10/2018 - 11:00pm in

John Helsby Last year, a friend of mine studying computer science at the University of Cambridge noticed a curious poster pinned up in the William Gates Building, which houses the Computer Laboratory – the computer science department of the university. The photo was taken on the 29th September 2017. Some questions that occur: Why the emphasis on high achievers? What is the purpose of this study? Who will benefit most from understanding how the brains of high achievers respond to psychedelics? Why must they be working on a problem that is highly meaningful in the context of a professional or academic pursuit? Why must they enjoy math and/or have strong math competency? (Note the American spelling.) Why are they exclusively looking for people who have never done psychedelics before? Does “available in London for 6 days” mean they are dosing people on 6 different occasions? What are they doing at the follow-up sessions? Why is the University of Cambridge putting posters like this up in its computer science department? Did anyone vet it to make …

Saturday art blogging: some artists really do see the world differently

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 21/10/2018 - 3:13am in


Arts, research

Today’s art post inspiration comes from an unlikely source: JAMA Opthamalogy. The article “Evidence That Leonardo da Vinci Had Strabismus” makes the case that the artist’s exceptional rendering of 3-D in 2-D was in part thanks to his eye condition sometimes referred to as wandering eye. The author, opthomologist Christopher Tyler of City, University of London, examined six pieces thought to be depicting Leonardo da Vinci: “David (Andrea del Verrocchio); Young Warrior (Andrea del Verrocchio); Salvator Mundi (da Vinci); Young John the Baptist (da Vinci); Vitruvian Man (da Vinci) and another possible da Vinci self-portrait.” (quoted from the university’s press release). Ars Technica’s coverage of the piece has helpful visuals. There seems to be disagreement in the art community about whether all of those art pieces depict Leonardo da Vinci, but this is a topic Tyler had already researched earlier. His argument seems convincing to me and is an interesting revelation about the condition under which some artists did that work. Apparently other famous artists also had strabismus (e.g., Rembrandt) or other vision impairments (e.g., Monet, O’Keeffe). I appreciate the angle the Washington Post’s coverage takes on this at the end noting that this should give people with eye-alignment disorders some boost in confidence to counter the discrimination they sometimes face both on the job market and in social situations.