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 year. We wish to acknowledge the contributions of the practitioner-researchers submitting their work to SPF for dissemination. In addition, we appreciate the time, effort, ideas, and funds provided by members of the SPF Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Review Panel, and supporters. From the establishment of SPF, our initiatives have maintained a steady focus on developing a platform for publishing opportunities for practitioner-researchers in their efforts to produce reports based on practice-based research evidence. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, SPF has made efforts from Spring 2020 and continuing up to the time of this of annual report to publish various work from self-study to large scale data-based research examining aspects of the global public health crisis.
Redesigning the Website
In the Fall of 2019, the foundation underwent a redesign of SPF’s web space to enhance out focus on publishing and disseminating practitioner research as well as providing resources for visitors searching for information on practitioner research. Please visit, https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/about-us/, for SPF Mission and Background.
Continued Efforts for Global Exposure of SPF Activities
SPF added more projects from various countries to our knowledge base. To date, projects from the following countries have been published: Austria, Colombia, England, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, and the US.
Partnership and Sponsorship
SPF has continued to develop partnerships with global action research and practitioner research networks across the globe. In this reporting period, we established a partnership with Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) in India, as both SPF and PRIA are interested in disseminating accomplished and continuing works to improve lives in their regions. Efforts are being made to establish partnerships with a Scotland-based educational organization, a non-profit educational foundation serving all middle and high schools in New Mexico, and with social justice groups across the US. SPF also continued as a sponsor of the annual conference of the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA).
Practitioner writing and the editorial process leading to publishing in the SPF knowledge base 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.
Social Media Use
The Foundation continued to maintain a very active presence in social media. All published projects are accompanied by a social media campaign that includes posts to a variety of Facebook sites, Twitter, and LinkedIn. An email announcement of each publication is sent to the Foundation’s global database.
Advisory Board, Review Panel, and Board of Directors
The Foundation will continue to include scholars, community leaders, and practitioner researchers from a variety of countries on the Advisory Board and Review Panel 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. SPF inducted Reviewer-in-Chief, Kaz Stuart, Professor of Social and Health Inequalities at the University of Cumbria, UK, in Fall 2019. The SPF Board of Directors added a new board member, Dr. Margaret Riel, in July 2019. Dr. Riel is the Director of the Center for Collaborative Action Research and is involved in various organizations and activities concerning action research and practitioner research.
SPF Fund Use
The Foundation’s total operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019 was $3,999.41. The expenditures of $3,145 in the Fiscal Year 2019 (in percent) included the following: