All posts by Trellis Blog Editor

Survey snapshot: Communications practices of small scale collaborations

Last week AAAS and Trellis hosted a three-day NSF-sponsored INCLUDES conference entitled: “The Technical and Human Infrastructure to Support Collective Impact of the INCLUDES Program at the Alliance and Network Levels”. The goal of the conference was to explore how small-scale pilot projects funded at the initial stage of the program might scale to larger collaborations.

To provide context for the discussions of collaboration infrastructure at the conference, we conducted a survey of tools and communication practices of the INCLUDES pilots. Here are three key takeaways based on 33 responses, covering 27 of the 37 total pilot projects.

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Beyond the March for Science: Science advocacy on Trellis

Crowd with one person holding "We <3 Science" sign
Stand Up For Science_4” by Peg Hunter under CC BY-NC 2.0

This Saturday scientists and science advocates will march on Washington in a call for science-based policies and a public celebration of science. But what happens next? AAAS and Trellis are committed to providing opportunities for participants to continue to engage with science advocacy and public engagement.

Yesterday, AAAS announced the release of an advocacy toolkit with resources for communicating science effectively, connecting with other science advocates, and working with congress. We’ll be exploring these themes on Trellis over the next few months. Read on to find out about several communities where you can learn more, build connections, and get involved.
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Building the infrastructure to support collaboration with NSF INCLUDES

NSF, Trellis, and AAAS logos

In September 2016 The National Science Foundation (NSF) issued the first round of awards for the NSF INCLUDES program. It gave out 37 pilot grants and 11 conference grants to applicants who seek to improve access to STEM education and career pathways for under-represented minorities. Trellis is excited to be a part of the INCLUDES initiative – contributing to it in two ways. Firstly, we’re providing the platform for synthesizing insights and reflections across the projects involved in the pilot phase of the program, using a private Trellis group for INCLUDES grantees. Secondly, several members of the Trellis team are involved with hosting one of the INCLUDES conferences.

This Wednesday, April 12th AAAS is hosting a three-day NSF-sponsored INCLUDES conference entitled: “The Technical and Human Infrastructure to Support Collective Impact of the INCLUDES Program at the Alliance and Network Levels”. The conference is being coordinated by Trellis’s founding general manager, Josh Freeman, Trellis’ Director for Community Engagement, Lou Woodley and AAAS Director of Education and Human Resources Programs Shirley Malcom. We’ll be delving deeper into the tools and communication needs of the pilot projects and how these might scale in order to successfully create an NSF INCLUDES 
National Network Backbone.

Over 70 participants are expected at the conference, with at least 25 different pilot projects represented. Items on the agenda include insights from the Science of Team Science movement and discussion of a pre-conference survey which looked at the current tools and communication patterns of the pilot grantees. Stay tuned as we report back on those conversations next week.

Celebrate milestones with Trellis groups

Confetti against a blue sky
Confetti” by ADoseofShipBoy under CC BY 2.0

2017 has been an exciting year for Trellis. We’ve seen record numbers of users logging in and engaging a rise in weekly active groups. We’ve also launched new groups for AAAS members interested in science advocacy and Trellis group admins. Beyond these site-wide metrics, a number of individual Trellis groups have also hit membership milestones this year. Join us in celebrating these growing communities.

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The #CEFP2017 Project Teams: Four open questions in scientific community management

Yellow cube with question marks on each side
Question Mark Block” by Jared Cherup under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The inaugural class of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funded AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP) finished their on-site training In January, but their fellowship has just begun! In this post we’ll take a look at the four project teams that formed during training week and the community engagement questions they’re looking to answer over the course of the year.

Our Fellows will be contributing regularly to the blog throughout the fellowship – including reporting out the progress of their projects teams. You can catch up on their reflections so far here.

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Supporting a community of community builders on Trellis

Human pyramid
People pyramid” by Nathan Rupert under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

One of our founding values at Trellis is our commitment to training and supporting community managers in their efforts to nurture their communities. We knew from the start of this project that you can build a desirable toolset, but without dedicated group admins, it’s hard, if not impossible, to see groups thrive.

What’s more, community management matters regardless of the type of group involved. It could be a community of interest, gathering loosely around a particular topic. Or it could be a community of practice, wishing to advance and develop skills together. Or it could be a specific collaboration with defined goals and deliverables. In all cases, a skilled community manager will bring out the best in the group.

And that’s why, today, we’re delighted to launch a new group specifically for those running Trellis groups: The Trellis Admin Community.

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Why do academics use social networking sites?

Posted by Lou Woodley, Trellis’ Community Engagement Director

Person using a laptop
Browsing” by Nick Olejniczak under CC BY-NC 2.0

Last week some of the Trellis team took a quick look at a recent paper, which asks “Why do academics use academic social networking sites?” The paper presents the results of a survey of 81 researchers at three Israeli institutes who were asked about their motivations for using ResearchGate and Academia.edu.

The survey draws upon the Uses and Gratifications theory from the field of media studies for its research questions – exploring whether the five broad motivations for media consumers may also apply to academics that use online professional networks. Here we outline that theory and then highlight some of the findings from the paper.

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Lessons learned balancing researcher and participant roles at #CEFP2017

In January 2017, we wrapped up the training week for the inaugural class of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from the January training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Yesterday Dr. Stephanie E. Vasko shared a recap of a structured dialogue workshop that she helped lead. Today, in part two, she describes the experience of participating in the program as both a fellow and a researcher.

Posted by Stephanie E. Vasko, Research Associate and Program Manager for the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI) at Michigan State University

Three hats hanging by clothespins
DIY Hanging Copper Hat Rack” by Geneva Vanderzeil under CC BY 2.0

As both a research assistant and the program manager for the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI), I not only engage in designing, implementing, and evaluating workshops, but I also drive efforts for our community engagement (both our internal and external communities), strategic management, project management, and business efforts. On any given day of the week, I find myself wearing my client services, researcher, project manager, program manager, community engagement manager, marketer, and social media strategist member hats simultaneously. In the case of the workshop we ran for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows  I attended as both a member of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative and a member of the Community Engagement Fellows cohort.

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Structured dialogue at #CEFP2017: A recap of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative workshop

In January 2017, we wrapped up the training week for the inaugural class of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from the January training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, in part one of a two part series, Dr. Stephanie E. Vasko describes the custom workshop she helped facilitate during the training week.

Posted by Stephanie E. Vasko, Research Associate and Program Manager for the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI) at Michigan State University

Two word balloons made out of cut fabric
Graphic Conversation” by Marc Wathieu under CC BY-NC 2.0

On Jan 11, 2017, the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI, represented by Dr. Michael O’Rourke, Dr. Stephen Crowley, and Dr. Stephanie E. Vasko) ran a custom workshop for the initial cohort of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows at AAAS Headquarters in Washington, DC.

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In a new scholarly collaboration review Trellis is “one to watch”

Posted by Joshua Freeman, Founding General Manager at Trellis

Telescope on Eiffel Tower
Telescope on Eiffel Tower” by Adrian Scottow under CC BY-SA 2.0

Recently, leading STM publishing analyst Outsell produced a report on Scholarly Collaboration Networks, a category within which they place Trellis. It was a lot of fun to have the chance to speak with their analyst and have a chance to tell her the Trellis story. But my favorite part was what she had to say about us when the report finally came out:

“Trellis is one to watch as it strengthens its user base and appeal to various stakeholders across the scientific community.” – Outsell

Here are a few more of the key takeaways from the report:

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