Social Publishers Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit corporation organized for public and charitable purposes. The specific purpose of the Foundation is to provide support for practitioner-research projects for improved individual and social wellbeing within communities and to disseminate completed projects around the world. The Foundation is committed to establishing a global non-profit, open source network of practitioner-researchers engaged with sustainable and just social and human development in a variety of critical domains involving professional practices and citizen involvement. The domains include education, social work and social services, wellness and healthcare, and community-based participatory initiatives.
The mission of the Social Publishers Foundation is to strengthen global capacity for mobilizing knowledge produced by practitioners to enhance social progress and individual wellbeing. The Foundation provides no-cost online publishing of project reports based on all types of practitioner research, including participatory research and action research.
The Foundation provides a platform for sharing and for the use of new knowledge, materials, and products generated by practitioner-led research. We do so to encourage the use of practice-based knowledge that has emerged through gathering and analysis of practice-based evidence. The Foundation operates from the view that publishing by practitioners and active citizens, including youth, is an important part of democratizing knowledge production in the twenty-first century in a responsible manner. The Foundation further believes that knowledge production can be and should be more horizontal and inclusive in nature. The ultimate goal of the Foundation is to foster the development of a global network of socially responsible practitioner research that contributes to sustainable development for individuals and communities and that empowers the marginalized, oppressed and ignored.
Social Publishers Foundation (SPF) was established as a non-profit educational and charitable foundation in 2014. The Foundation grew out of a critical analysis of changes needed in the production and dissemination of knowledge, in particular in relation to the knowledge used in planning for programs to serve people’s needs in the domains of education, wellness and healthcare, social work and social services, and community development. A central issue in such planning is the extent to which hierarchical “expert knowledge” overruns the knowledge of the people in the local contexts in which the programs are to be enacted. In recent decades, many challenges to what has been called the “knowledge monopoly” of experts have been raised. What is often missing in these challenges is a capacity to share knowledge that has been created through more horizontal and democratic procedures. When knowledge production is rigidly controlled through a monopolistic approach, the popular knowledges associated with working in local contexts are choked off and marginalized. SPF was established to help correct the unequal relations of knowledge and to strengthen the production of popular knowledges associated with practices in a number of crucial social domains.
To distinguish the work shared in the SPF knowledge base, we identify our publications as “practitioner research.” SPF holds to broad views of practice and of what practitioners do when they wish to create and disseminate knowledge. While we recognize that practitioners can produce knowledge using traditional social science research methods, the Foundation respects that efforts to break free of the monopolizing effects of traditional research need to be supported as well, and this means that diverse methods of gathering and analyzing evidence need to be embraced. We believe that practitioners are closer-to-the-ground of what works and what might work in addressing questions of practice in domains critical to healthy human and social development. Our efforts focus on knowledge production and dissemination based on practices in the field, whether these practices are by professional practitioners or by active citizens including youth working to make positive changes in local contexts.
The knowledge base we are creating consists of open-source reports of work done by practitioners and active citizens in diverse fields. The publications from SPF are designed for ease of reading and sharing with a global audience of people similarly engaged with varied forms of research efforts, for example, action research, participatory research, and oral histories, to find creative solutions regarding pressing social, environmental, and community development needs. Because people who are engaged in important community-based work may have little or no prior experience with research and writing, SPF is committed to providing mentoring and as much support as may be needed to produce a report. (see Annual Report).
This Annual Report presents the activities of Social Publishers Foundation (SPF) in the last report year, July 2020 through June 2021. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the practitioner-researchers submitting their work to SPF for dissemination, young writers and activists, as well as university faculty members and retirees for their contributions of research outcomes and essays regarding their higher-education practices. As in the past years, we appreciate the time, effort, ideas, and funds provided by members of the SPF Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Review Panel, and supporters. The year July 2020 to June 2021 was full of awareness, challenges, and initiatives related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and SPF completed 9 publications related to the pandemic. SPF continues to find ways to expose efforts by authors of various generations and occupations, who are participating in social change efforts in various key social domains.
Publication Platform Expansion
In the Spring of 2021, SPF added a new submission platform – Essays – to include articles reflecting on various topics in the four domains included in our Knowledge Base (Education, Community-Based Participatory Initiative, Social Work and Social Services, Wellness and Healthcare).
In the early Summer of 2021, the Blog site was created on the SPF website, and the function of emailing Blog stems to generate interest among SPF readers and social publishers was added. SPF president, Rowell, will be in charge of Blogs, while inviting others to join as Guest Bloggers.
SPF has continued to develop partnerships with action research and practitioner research networks across the globe. In this reporting period, we established partnerships with various organizations such as Action Research: Global Conversations (a podcast created by Linnea Rademaker, Chair of The Action Research Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association [AERA]) , The AR Podcast (initiated at McGill University in Montreal, Canada), Center for Collaborative Action Research, Centre for Research in Health and Society (University of Cumbria, UK), and The Knowledge Democracy Initiative. Please visit, https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/endorsements/, for their websites. SPF continues to maintain a strong partnership with the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA).
Efforts for Global Exposure of SPF Activities
SPF added more projects from various countries to our knowledge base. To date, we have published projects from 15 countries: Austria, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Great Briton, Hungary, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Spain, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, the US, and Venezuela.
Continued from previous years, practitioner writing and the editorial process leading to publishing in the SPF knowledge base has been a core activity in 2020-2021, and has been an ongoing effort since the launch of the Foundation’s website. The intention is to provide support and mentoring for the purpose of presenting practitioners’ good work in a well-organized, precise, and comprehensive manner. The SPF mentoring program has been fruitful especially for writers who have not previously published for public reading. Most of the published practitioner-research projects continue to be in the Education field at this time, followed by projects in the Community-based Participatory Initiatives section.
Advisory Board, Review Panel, and Board of Directors
The Foundation continues to include scholars, community leaders, and practitioner researchers from a variety of countries on the Advisory Board and Review Panel and Board of Directors for their input on current and emerging ideas and issues related to practices in the fields we are involved with and on questions concerning the research-practice gap. We encourage individuals interested in participating in the SPF leadership to join with us, and if you have recommendations please let us know, https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/contact/.
SPF Fund Use
The Foundation’s total operating budget for Fiscal Year 2020 (January – December 2020) was $13,138.40. The expenditures of $1,192 in the Fiscal Year 2020 (in percent) included the following: