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 2021 through June 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic continued in the year July 2021 to June 2022, although the world saw some hope for declining COVID-19 influence on lives around the world. Articles on the impact of COVID-19 published on the SPF website also hopefully brought some encouragement in the localities in which published projects took place sought to find solutions to various socio-economic and psycho-social aspects of the chaos of these times. As in the previous year, 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 and community-based practices. 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 new submission platform (Essays) in the Spring of 2021, the foundation has published articles reflecting on various themes in our Knowledge Base, for example, an essay partially based on action research, reimagining or reflecting on topics such as action research and health inequality, etc. On the other hand, research articles continue to have a strong presence on the SPF publication site.
On Knowledge Democracy
As the Essays category began to evolve in 2022, especially in recognition of our close partnership with the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA), SPF conceptualized and organized an Essay Series focused on June 2022 being the 5 year anniversary of ARNA’s 1st Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy. The assembly was convened with 350 participants in Cartagena, Colombia as a part of ARNA’s first Latin America conference. The Essay Series is being incorporated into a new Category, On Knowledge Democracy. The Series examines the June 2017 event through Reflections by individuals who envisioned, designed, supported, and facilitated the event, and by Assembly participants from around the world. The essays address how the Assembly was created, the hopes and aspirations of the designers, the experience of the day and how it has impacted the lives of some of the organizers and attendees, as well as the successes and shortcomings related to what took place. To date, 23 authors have committed to writing essays. This May the first five essays were published as Part 1 of the Series, https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/kb-browse/reflections/.
Changes in Publication Categories
To accommodate creating a new Knowledge-Base 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.
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.
Continued Efforts for Global Exposure of SPF Activities
Since July 2021 SPF published more research articles and essays by authors from various countries. As of June 2022, we have published projects from 20 countries: Austria, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, 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, including Part 2 and Part 3 of the Reflection series on “On Knowledge Democracy” mentioned above.
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). SPF also has continued its strong relations with the Action Research Network of the Americas (ARNA), including continuing to be an in-kind sponsor of ARNA’s annual conference. Most recently, ARNA has requested that SPF enter into dialogue regarding ARNA’s process of collecting and archiving conference proceedings’ materials, with the possibility of SPF becoming the virtual repository of ARNA annual conference proceedings.
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 ARNA’s Knowledge Democracy Initiative. 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 are free 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 2021 (January – December 2021) was $14,754.75. The expenditures of $11,399.10 in the Fiscal Year 2021 (in percent) included the following: