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, open source network of practitioner-researchers, scholars, students, and citizens engaged in a variety of critical domains involving professional practices, citizen engagement and community empowerment. 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 2022 through June 2023. The world has continued to see some hope for declining pandemic influence, although the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the increasingly alarming impacts of global warming have had many parts of the world, including the USA, on edge. SPF has continued to publish research reports and essays regarding strengthening professional and community practices in relation to finding solutions to various socio-economic and psycho-social aspects of the challenges and chaos of these times. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the practitioner-researchers, students, young writers and activists, as well as university faculty members and retirees who have submitted their work to SPF for dissemination through our platform. Likewise, we appreciate the time, effort, ideas, and funds provided by members of the SPF Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Review Panel, and supporters. SPF continues to find ways to uncover and present efforts by authors of various generations and occupations, who are participating in social change efforts in various key social domains.
Essays and Research Articles
Since SPF added a submission platform for Essays in the Spring of 2021, this addition has continued to gain popularity. The foundation has published articles reflecting on various themes in our Knowledge Base, for example, a 2022 essay series by a faculty member and his students at University of Colorado – Denver. On the other hand, research articles continue to have a strong presence in the SPF publication site.
On Knowledge Democracy
As the Essays category began to evolve in 2022, especially in recognition of the 5 year Anniversary of the groundbreaking global assembly for knowledge democracy event organized with the leadership of SPF President Lonnie Rowell and held in Cartagena, Colombia in conjunction with the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA), SPF conceptualized and organized an Essay Series focused on the 5 year anniversary. The Essay Series has been incorporated into a new Category, On Knowledge Democracy. The Series examines the June 2017 Assembly through Reflections by individuals who envisioned, designed, supported, and facilitated the event, and by Assembly participants from around the world. The series includes essays by 10 author-activists, most of whom are prominent in the global action research community.
Changes in Publication Categories
To accommodate creating a new Knowledgebase Category on our publication site, we combined social services and wellness-related subcategories into one category renamed as “Social Services and Wellness” and added the Category “On Knowledge Democracy” in May 2022. Since adding this category we have published 11 essays addressing aspects of knowledge democracy.
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, continues to be in charge of Blogs, while inviting others to join as Guest Bloggers. In April 2023, SPF published two-time Emmy Award and three-time NAACP Image Award winner Cort Casady’s Guest Blog on America’s mass shooting epidemic. Casady is a long-time television and documentary writer-producer and his memoir Not Your Father’s America: An Adventure Raising Triplets in a Country Being Changed by Greed, was published on January 17th, 2023, the day after six people were killed in a mass shooting in Goshen, California.
Continued Efforts for Global Exposure of SPF Activities
Since July 2022 SPF has published 28 research articles and essays by authors from various countries. As of July 2023, we have published projects from 23 countries: Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Malawi, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, the US, and Venezuela. We look forward to adding more articles to the Knowledge Base in 2023.
Partnerships and Sponsorships
SPF has continued to develop partnerships with action research and practitioner research networks across the globe. We have continued our partnerships with Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) in India, and with an informal educational action research network in Sri Lanka, as both SPF and these groups are interested in disseminating accomplished and continuing works to improve lives in their regions and across the globe. Efforts continue to partner with social justice groups in the US and around the world, including a renewed push to connect with groups in the US and UK that are doing cutting edge work in Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). Beginning in spring 2022, SPF began to develop a collaboration with Yellowhead Tribal College in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This initiative led to a close collaboration in organizing a joint conference examining participatory research and Indigenous education issues. The conference and a pre-conference Elders Gathering at a First Nation Pow Wow site in Alberta, took place from May 29 to June 2. In conjunction with this gathering, SPF President Rowell was awarded a YTC leadership pendant and became an adopted son of the Navajo Nation. As a follow-up to the Edmonton gathering, a new group has been formed, with Rowell serving as a consultant, to organize a 2nd conference on Indigenous/Native education and participatory research. This event will take place in October 2024 in Chile.
We also have begun exploring and establishing links with other media groups, including podcasts focused on action research. To date we have collaborations with three groups, including 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), the Center for Collaborative Action Research (directed by Margaret Riel), and Knowledge Democracy Global Group, co-organized by Rowell. Please visit, https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/endorsements/, for their websites.
Advisory Board, Review Panel, and Board of Directors
The Foundation continues to emphasize diverse perspectives, with scholars, scholar-activists, community leaders, and practitioner researchers from a variety of countries and cultures on the Advisory Board and Review Panel and Board of Directors. We continue to seek 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 SPF leadership to join with us, and if you have recommendations please let us know, https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/contact/.
Social Media Use
The Foundation continues to maintain an 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. As we face the precarious status of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, SPF is contemplating whether to continue to use Facebook and Twitter as SPF official social media outlets. At present, the president of SPF has been using his personal social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter). SPF Board members and supporters are encouraged to use their social media, and are encouraged to spread the news of new publications presented in the SPF knowledge base. This step is an important part of increasing the visibility of SPF’s work.
SPF Fund Use
The Foundation’s total operating budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (January – December 2022) was $7,645.50. The expenditures of $3,222.50 in the Fiscal Year 2022 (in percent) included the following:
96%, SPF Website hosting, security, domain, domain privacy, customer relationship management, website upgrade, and mail system
4%, Government filing fees
SPF continues to occupy a unique space in web-based publishing. Our focus on practitioner-research and the democratization of knowledge related to practices that are crucial to the health and development of democratic societies has evolved as we have developed our voice as a thought and action oriented platform for supporting strengthening practices in education, social services and wellness, and community-based participatory initiatives. SPF is an eclectic voice, a critical friend of social change efforts, and a determined initiator of thought-provoking dialogues regarding knowledge democratization on global and local levels. We welcome your support and look forward to the involvement of those who share interests in the crucial social issues of our times.