Common Ground Publishing is committed to building new kinds of knowledge communities, innovative in their media and future-oriented in their messages.
Heritage knowledge systems are characterized by vertical separations—of discipline, professional association, institution, and country. Common Ground takes some of the pivotal ideas and challenges of our time and builds knowledge communities that cut horizontally across legacy knowledge structures. Sustainability, diversity, learning, the future of the humanities, the nature of interdisciplinarity, the place of the arts in society, technology’s connections with knowledge, the changing role of the university, the notion of sustainability, the processes and ends of design—these are deeply important contemporary questions that require interdisciplinary thinking, global conversations, and cross-institutional intellectual collaborations.
Common Ground is a meeting place for people, ideas, and dialogue. However, good and workable ideas do not emerge just by trying to identify common denominators. Rather, the power and resilience of these ideas is that they are presented and tested in a shared space where differences can meet and safely connect—differences of perspective, experience, knowledge base, methodology, geographical or cultural origins, and institutional affiliation. We attempt to create these shared spaces in Common Ground’s knowledge communities. Here, we aim to create vigorous and sympathetic spaces for scholarly dialogue in which productive deliberations about the future can be held.
Common Ground creates knowledge communities that meet in person at annual conferences. Community members also stay connected during the year between conferences as online knowledge communities—through a formal, academic publishing process (the peer reviewed journals and book series), video presentations on our YouTube channel, and informal conversations that continue online throughout the year. The conferences create as many ways of speaking as possible, encouraging each and every participant to contribute their knowledge and perspectives. The journal and book publishing processes enlist the peer community as arbiter of intellectual quality.
At the heart of our year-round dialogue is Common Ground’s pathbreaking "social knowledge" software, Scholar.
Scholar is the product of over a decade of development of web publishing technologies at Common Ground. In Scholar’s Community space, we scaffold Socratic dialogue in something that looks and feels like Facebook and Twitter, but is quite unlike either. Here, community members can either join an existing Common Ground community, or create new communities and connect with peers within or beyond the Common Ground knowledge communities. Scholar also has optional Facebook and Twitter feeds. In this way, you can hold your knowledge and learning conversations to a place designed for that purpose, while maintaining the social connections you have established in Facebook and Twitter.
Scholar is like a blog, but has an activity stream with alerts that are reminiscent of a social media "wall." It also offers a profile space like LinkedIn, but more suitable for learners and knowledge workers, offering also a portfolio space to share their published works. Then, in the Creator and Publisher spaces of Scholar, users are offered a multimodal writing space and a peer review space, both of which are linked to a Dashboard knowledge analytics space. These are precisely the "cloud computing" tools that are needed for academic journals like Common Ground’s in the twenty-first century. The are also tools that all members of Common Ground’s knowledge communities can use with peers and students as a benefit that comes with their community membership.
Common Ground is one of those rare creatures in an era where knowledge communication has increasingly come to be dominated by publishing oligarchies—we are a small, independent publisher. Our focus is public benefit. We want to help change the world by focusing on some of key questions that affect our human futures. Our commercial model is to maintain self-sustainability. We have been publishing for 30 years, hosting academic conferences for 25. Today we publish 79 scholarly journals and host 24 knowledge communities, each with its own conference, book series, and web dialogue space.