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Future of Scholarly Knowledge

Carnegie Professor Kenneth Prewitt connected the Future of Scholarly Knowledge project (FSK) with the Columbia Global Policy Initiative in 2013. FSK, funded by Sage Publications, is a four–year effort concerned with how research universities (about three percent of the 14,000 universities and colleges worldwide) are adjusting, in large and small matters, to three forces: globalization, digitization, and commercialization. The task involves identifying key principles—such as free inquiry and publication, intellectual integrity, policing fraud, and commitment to the public good—that are put at risk as these forces challenge traditional university practices, and then recommending measures that will help protect those values in a changing academic world.

Universities are the immediate focus, but there is also attention to parallel adjustments occurring in institutions that share in the responsibility to produce and disseminate scholarly knowledge: museums, libraries, scholarly societies, and publishers. A loose global network of institutions working on issues specific to their missions is linked to the project by a shared analytic framework. Such institutions include the Mercator Foundation (Berlin), the Institute for Human Sciences (Vienna), the Social Science Research Council (New York), and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford). Additional institutions will be added.

Policy Goals

  1. Identify how the forces of globalization, digitization, and commercialization affect research universities, and how research universities are adjusting
  2. Highlight key principles (i.e. free inquiry and publication, commitment to the public good, policing fraud, intellectual integrity) that are put at risk as these forces challenge traditional university practices
  3. Frame a science policy suitable to the changing landscape of knowledge generation and dissemination

Support from Sage Publications and The Rockefeller Foundation



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