By Francesca Morselli, Integration Officer for DARIAH-EU
Based at DANS-KNAW, The Netherlands
Today our third community call will take place. While the DARIAH community calls are organized by and for the WGs only, I’d like to tell you a bit more about them and the reason why they are helping to support the growth of the DARIAH research community.
Community calls are a way to engage with stakeholders that work in dispersed or virtual teams (like the DARIAH WGs). They are usually open to anyone interested in a particular topic, but in the DARIAH context the calls are open to the Working Group coordinators . The aim of the community calls is to facilitate the exchange between the DARIAH WGs on topics that they have in common or that could lay further ground for collaboration. These calls are therefore envisioned as a “virtual” continuation of the “live” WG meetings that take place each year at the DARIAH Annual Events and where the WGs members have the chance to meet each other in person.
A community call differs from a webinar in that it is entirely interactive and multi-directional. Webinars are also interactive but they heavily rely on presentations, while in a community call most of the time is dedicated to discussion and presentations have the only purpose to initiate an exchange between the participants. Inspiration for the community calls format comes from Open Access and Global/ Dispersed communities such as Greenpeace and OpenCon.
While it is important to provide these call with a framework for the participants as well as for reaching outcomes, community calls also need to leave space for a spontaneous exchange, without posing too many restrictions to the discussion: their main goal should be that of building an active community between the Working Groups. Following this, we keep the moderation to a minimum, to allow as much as possible ideas exchange and open discussion.
Usually the topic of a community call comes from the Working Groups when there is an aspect of investigation that they would like to share with fellow researchers or when they seek input and feedback from a trusted research community. Finally, the agenda and the minutes of each meeting are publicly available on a growing shared document, which works as a sort of log-book of the group interactions.
I think these community calls made the Working Groups consider themselves as a unique yet heterogenous community. Since we began with them, we have seen an increase of spontaneous inter-Working Group collaborations. WGs realized they are working on similar research questions, even if from different angles, and the richness brought by a different perspective can only enrich your own research field. This is probably one of the most desirable outcomes for a research infrastructure as DARIAH-EU, whose mission is that of encouraging the A+H research communities to share, collaborate and evolve!