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About the Commonplace

About the Commonplace
Contributors (3)
Mar 30, 2020

The Knowledge Futures Group (KFG) is committed to building and sustaining open infrastructure for public knowledge that puts researchers in control of the tools they use everyday to solve many of society’s biggest challenges. Our newest product, The Commonplace, is a publication that invokes the title’s Latin roots of locus communis to create a space in which people can discuss the digital infrastructure and policies needed to distribute, constellate, and amplify knowledge for the public good.

The Commonplace will bring together mission-aligned individuals, institutions, and organizations to contribute to the larger conversation about the many social implications of open and closed infrastructure: the distributed and centralized systems that undergird our modern modes of information sharing and communication. Through this process, we can pinpoint emergent practices that support new ways of thinking that benefit everyone. The goal for The Commonplace is thus to reflect a multitude of viewpoints around what the future of knowledge should look like toward collective action and broader advocacy. By preserving the integrity of public knowledge, we work to underscore the prismatic value of equilibrating shared perspectives. 

So, how do we do this?

How are knowledge infrastructures changing and how can we shape them for a shared future? The Commonplace will provide a collaborative mediascape for answering these evolving questions and attending to the myriad hypotheses they unravel. By investigating, proposing, and interrogating what healthy knowledge futures can and should look like, our work will open conversations toward action. We will integrate our resources across the KFG and with our partners to bring people together, build infrastructure, and advocate for a more sustainable and collaborative process for ongoing knowledge creation and data stewardship.

Premised on the idea of the commons, the publication will cultivate global voices to exchange views on the shared power of knowledge resources through circulating topics that span disciplines and industries:

The Commonplace will provide the setting for succinct, direct, and productive content on both broad mission-oriented writing as well as outlining solutions to advance an open internet. The formats will embed multimedia to harness the full potential of discursive collaboration in a digital space. Monthly and yearly themes will bridge across formats to expand our notions of digital media to engender impactful connectivity. Formats will converge in stylistic and thematic ways, from annotated documents, letters, and reading lists, to dynamic interview and syndication series. Ultimately, the publication will serve as a timely meditation for untimely facts, facilitating an exploration into how the concept of openness has shaped our everyday, and where it remains most necessary to implement.

How can we all contribute?

If you have an idea or two+ for topics, themes, formats, and/or contributors for The Commonplace please email As an active reader, there are many ways you can contribute as well. We encourage all readers to annotate and engage in conversation with The Commonplace community to help further our mission toward turning ideas into collective action. Your voice, feedback and, yes, pushback when needed, is not just welcome but also encouraged and anticipated.


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