What is the Amplify Podcast Network?

Growing numbers of scholars have turned to podcasting as an accessible and popular medium to share their research more broadly with academic and non-academic audiences. Podcasts—mp3 files circulated online on a regular schedule via a syndicated RSS feed—have existed for over a decade, and have seen steady growth in terms of both creation and audience in recent years. Podcasting plays an increasingly central role in North Americans’ media consumption and information-sharing habits. “The Canadian Podcast Listener 2019” found that “[n]early 11 million Canadian adults (37% of the 18+ population) have listened to podcasts in the past year.” And yet, while there is ample evidence that academics are interested in using this popular dissemination tool, there remains little institutional support for podcasting as a form of scholarly communication.

The Amplify Podcast Network is a partnership between Simon Fraser University’s Publishing program and Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL), Wilfrid Laurier University Press (WLU Press), Wilfrid Laurier University Library (WLUL), and The Documentary Media Society. It will also include four co-applicants and three collaborators from institutions including the University of British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University, the University of Alberta, Concordia University, and Dalhousie University, in disciplines including English, First Nations and Indigenous Studies, Open Learning, and Library and Information Studies. Students will take central roles as project managers, podcast producers, and podcast creators, gaining expertise and generating new research in knowledge mobilization, research management, and scholarly communication.

The Amplify Podcast Network has six key goals, responding primarily to SSHRC’s Connection program but also to the Insight Program objectives:

  1. To build a network of scholars, editors, librarians, students, and arts organizers who are interested in the power and potential of podcasting as a form of scholarly communication;
  2. To acquire, edit, and publish three new scholarly podcasts, in addition to one extant, by leading and emerging voices in key research fields that are highly engaged in, and thus well suited to, public scholarship (post-secondary pedagogy, Indigenous studies, and information studies);
  3. To develop metadata standards, tools, and workflows to incorporate podcasts into existing systems of scholarly discoverability and ensure their long-term preservation;
  4. To build awareness of scholarly podcasting amongst existing listeners and connections with the podcasting community through participation in non-scholarly podcasting festivals;
  5. To build the capacity for scholarly podcasting by developing workshops and Open Educational Resources on podcasting for scholarly communication in consultation with other public scholarship projects engaged in podcasting for knowledge mobilization;
  6. To contribute to research on the impact of publicly engaged, digital, and open-access scholarship through presenting at conferences and publishing journal articles on the findings of our research in venues such as Scholarly and Research Communication and Kairos.

Expanding on the successful pilot project “Scholarly Podcasting in Canada,” the Amplify Podcast will contribute to increasing accessibility and facilitating “the multidirectional flow of social sciences and humanities knowledge among researchers and between the campus and the larger community, in order to enhance intellectual, cultural, social and economic influence, benefit and impact” (SSHRC).

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