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2019 SCI Summit - Washington, D.C.


SCI Summit-DC

June 25 - 27, 2019

How do we keep scientific cyberinfrastructure (SCI), which are the “roads and bridges” for scientific inquiry, healthy and accessible for future generations?

SCI Summit Report (PDF)

SCI Summit in Washington, DC will challenge members of the scientific cyberinfrastructure (SCI) ecosystem to build insight into how funders and researchers are approaching scientific cyberinfrastructureand provide outcomes that can inform national level policy to better support SCI into the future.

Approaching sustainability from the societal perspective, SCI Summit will provide the perfect space to foster the cogeneration of knowledge by sharing experiences, identifying challenges, and noting successes. This will be a unique opportunity to network, listen, and learn from fellow expert funders in the SCI community as we outline the gaps that exist between those who sponsor SCI, those who govern SCI, those who build SCI, and those who use SCI.

Location: Loft at 600F (600 F Street NW, Washington, DC)


June 25 from 9am-5pm: the Summit brings together federal agency partners, government SCI policy-makers, and funders to discuss their definition of and vision for SCI as a component of scientific discovery and engine for innovation and commercialization.

June 26 from 9am-5pm: the Summit brings together those experts who are building SCI including researchers, associations, developers, and users to discuss their conception of SCI, their role in supporting scientific and technological advances, and their vision for SCI.

June 27 from 9am-12pm: we invite all participants to return and learn about the concepts discovered from the previous days and explore what bridges and gaps exist in understandings about definitions, purposes, and long-term goals for SCI.

For more information, contact Dr. Suzie Allard, Chancellor’s Professor, CCI Board of Visitors Professor, College of Communication & Information, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

SCI Summit Overview 

SCI is “the distributed computer, information and communication technologies combined with the personnel and integrating components that provide a long-term platform to empower the modern scientific research endeavor” (Atkins et al., 2003). Researching and developing SCI expands the capabilities of communication and networking technologies, supports scientific inquiry, and creates new possibilities for scientific discovery, national security, and commerce. SCI projects are facing sustainability challenges as external financial support is finite and economic models for SCI as a public good are not established.

This SCI Summit is unique from other sustainability-focused activities because it uses a modified Delphi study approach in a concentrated time span to build insight into how funders and researchers are approaching SCI and to provide outcomes that can inform national level policy to better support SCI into the future. 

Outcomes from the Summit include a report that looks at these gaps and bridges to examine:

  • existing SCI projects for technological, sociological, and economic uniqueness in order to evaluate projects from computer science, information science, and data governance perspectives. The product of this inquiry is to develop a framework to assess the components within this dynamic SCI environment and better understand how linkages should be fostered.
  • the role of policy in affecting SCI project sustainability and commercialization. SCI projects face the fundamental challenge of being seen both as R&D projects whose main goal is to develop new technology and knowledge about communications and computing technology, while also being a fundamental support structure of the scientific enterprise. The objective is to inventory policies that impact SCI sustainability and commercialization and develop strategies that build on these policies.
  • opportunities for sustaining and commercializing contemporary SCI projects and identify the remaining problems and needs of the SCI users including researchers, project managers, and policymakers.

DataONE Logo

Participation is sponsored by DataONE (National Science Foundation awards #1430508), as part of the project’s mission to understand the socio-technical aspects of a healthy SCI ecosystem.

41st Research Symposium Schedule

The 41st CCI Research Sympoisum schedule can be found here. We hope to see you all there on February 11th! Also, don’t forget about the Symposium luncheon in the Scripps Theatre. It is $10/person and will be catered by Brown Bag.

CICS welcomes Carol Tenopir

Carol TenopirCarol Tenopir will serve as CCI Interim Associate Dean for Research for Spring 2019.  She is taking over the role from Suzie Allard, who is stepping in as Interim Associate Dean for Academic Programs.  An internal search is underway for a new Associate Dean for Academic Programs who will take over the position as early as June 1st but no later than July 1st.  Once a new Associate Dean has been selected, Suzie Allard will return to her position as Associate Dean for Research and Carol Tenopir will return to her SIS faculty position.

41st Annual Research Symposium

2019 CCI SymposiumJoin us on Monday, February 11, 2019 for our 41st Annual Research Symposium.  This year's symposium focuses on the topic of "Asking Important Questions & Finding Powerful Insights.  All research dealing with communication and information issues is welcome.  The attached CFP highlights the poster session and our two tracks--one for new results and one to share results that have been presented elsewhere.  This approach is back by popular demand based on feedback from the 2018 event. 

The submission process is easy and the due date for all submissions is January 18, 2019.  We look forward to learning more about your research when we celebrate "Asking Important Questions & Finding Powerful Insights."  The research tradition across our college is strong and diverse--let's learn about what we are examing and how we are choosing to discover new insights.


CICS Annual Oak Ridge Luncheon

UT Arboretum AuditoriumOn October 18th the Center for Information and Communication Studies hosted its second annual Oak Ridge networking luncheon at the UT Arboretum Auditorium.  The luncheon connected faculty and staff from the College of Communication and Information with associates, contract employees, and potential collaborators from various Oak Ridge organizations, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  The group enjoyed trying out the User-eXperience Lab's newest equipment, wearable eye trackers, and participated in a usabiity study for the USGS Community for Data Integration website.  Lunch was catered by Holly's Gourmet Market.  Everyone is looking forward to next year's event!

User-eXperience Lab is now a Core Facility

User-eXperience LabFor many years the  CCI User eXperience and Message Effects Labs have provided services to CCI researchers as well as to researchers and programs across the campus and at federal agencies. This June  these labs successfully earned UT’s designation of “core facility,” which means they have been recognized by the Office of Research Engagement as being important components of the university’s research portfolio and visibility. This designation provides access to avenues of funding  that can be used to support our lab management and instrumentation.  It is exciting to have our CCI lab appear with 13 other high profile UT research labs   at, and it provides CCI with increased visibility across campus while highlighting CCI research.

In addition, we can now have outside users share in supporting the lab financially, and we can more easily include lab support in proposals for external funding.  CCI researchers and students will continue to use the lab as they have in the past by scheduling times for research and learning activities, and CCI researchers and students will not be impacted financially, since CICS will be underwriting the costs of CCI research that is not externally funded.

There will, however, be a few changes in how the labs operate that will be shared later this summer.

Join Us at the CCI Research Symposium

CCI Symposium 2016Join us this Wednesday, February 14th, to celebrate your love of research!  The CCI Research Symposium starts at 9am with a poster session in the 3rd floor lobby followed by our keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Heath at 10am in the Patrick Auditorium.  Dr. Heath is an internationally renowned scholar on public relations, crisis communication, issues management, risk communication, and business-to-business communication.  Presentations continue throughout the day.  Stop by any time and for as long as you’d like! 

40th Annual CCI Symposium

CCI Symposium 2017In 2018 the Annual CCI Symposium turns 40! Join us in celebrating by sharing your research with colleagues—faculty, students and staff—from across the college.  The submission process is easy, and the due date for all submissions is Jan 18, 2018.  We look forward to learning more about your research on Valentine’s Day when we will all say, “CCI Loves Research!”

We are also fortunate to have a wonderful keynote speaker – Dr. Robert Heath.  Dr. Heath, professor-emeritus at the University of Houston, whose work focuses on public relations, crisis and risk communication and business-to-business communication.  He is a prolific researcher with more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and many award-winning books. 

Thanks to the hard work of the Research Advisory Committee for putting this together.

Faculty: Moonhee Cho (AD/PR), Michael Kent (AD/PR), Joan Rentsch (COM), Vandana Singh (SIS), Erin Whiteside (JEM)

Students: Khaled Alkandari (PhD/AD/PR), Dawn Corwin (PhD/JEM), Jessica Etheridge (Masters/CCI), Tyler Martindale (Masters/SIS), Jamie Osborn(PhD/COM), Iman Tahamtan (PhD/SIS)


CICS Hosts Oak Ridge Luncheon

CICS Oak Ridge LuncheonOn November 9th, 2017 the Center for Information and Communication Studies hosted a networking luncheon for its Oak Ridge community at the UT Arboretum Auditorium.  CICS contractors and associates from Y-12, USGS, and ORNL enjoyed learning more about what CICS and the College of Communication and Information has to offer, as well as, trying out some of the User-eXperience Lab equipment.  CICS looks forward to many more events and partnerships with the Oak Ridge Community and CCI! 

New User-eXperience Lab Equipment

Noldus FaceReader 7This spring the CICS User-eXperience Lab (UXL) received new equipment: Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Gear and Noldus Face Reader 7.  The new equipment increases capacity and expands research opportunities for faculty, researchers, and students in the College of Communication and Information’s four schools (Advertising and Public Relations, Communication Studies, Information Sciences, and Journalism and Electronic Media).


The Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Gear provides an environment to study people’s information behavior, how people communicate, the effects of communication messages, and information architecture design in virtual environments.  Many established CCI research agendas can be extended with use of VR including studies of hate speech, information behavior in a variety of contexts including health care and data intensive environments, data journalism, and countering violent extremism.


The Noldus FaceReader provides researchers with the ability to analyze facial expressions to identify the affect the stimuli are having on an individual.  Facial recognition allows researchers to record and analyze how an individual is reacting to a communication or information challenge within a given context.  The software recognizes six basic facial expressions (happy, sad, angry, disgusted, scared, and surprised).  FaceReader also has the ability to calculate gaze direction, head orientation, and person characteristics.   The software has applications in consumer behavior studies, usability studies, market research, psychology, and many other uses. 


For more information, a tour of the User-eXperience lab, or demonstration of the equipment please contact the UXL manager, Rachel Volentine, at

UX-A Program

UX-A Mentor Lunch

Improving systems through user experience (UX) testing and assessing the value of library and information services are essential for new roles for information professionals. With support from the IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant program, the Experience Assessment (UX-A) project will face this challenge of educating our future information professionals in all aspects of performance and measurement in both libraries and information environments. Led by Chancellor's Professor Carol Tenopir, SIS Professor Dania Bilal, SIS Associate Professor Rachel Fleming-May, and UT Libraries Assessment Librarian Regina Mays, UX-A will combine coursework, training, and hands-on experience to equip a diverse cohort of twelve SIS master’s students with competences in assessment and user experience testing.

The two-year program began in fall 2016. In addition to required coursework and assistantships, the students participated in nearly 60 hours of curated online training via, face-to-face workshops with OIT, and team meetings. Now in their second semester, the students are divided into research teams to work with real-world stakeholders and gain hands-on experience with survey design, user testing, and data analysis as well as providing actionable information based on the results.

UX-A also includes a team of mentors—highly experienced information practitioners working in Knoxville and Oak Ridge—to support the students and the program. These mentors will serve as the students’ practicum advisors for UX-A year 2. The program itself is being evaluated and assessed at every stage in order to foster a sustainable program that will prepare students for an information career in user experience and assessment. 



39th Annual CCI Research Symposium

CCI Symposium 2017The Center of Information and Communication Studies hosted its 39th CCI Research Symposium on February 1 2017. The CCI community heard presentations from nine CCI faculty members, seven graduate students, one research staff member, and visiting scholars from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), UT Institute of Agriculture, and the University of Kentucky. Their presentations covered a variety of diverse topics from scientists’ data reuse behaviors to Jimmy Carter to ‘mainstream’ media.  The top poster award went to Cassandra Huang for her poster, “Who talks about cyberbullying? A social network analysis of Facebook.”  Thank you to everyone who came for all or part of the day, showing that we are all CCI Researchers 4 Life.


Upcoming CCI Research Symposium

CCI Symposium 2016The 39th CCI Research Symposium will be held February 1 2017 Patrick Auditorium in the College of Communication and Information.  The CICS staff encourages all CCI Researchers 4 Life to come out and celebrate the thriving research culture at CCI.  The symposium starts at 8:30 am with breakfast snacks and the poster session in the CCI 3rd floor lobby.  After two research sessions in the morning, there will be a buffet lunch in the Scripps Lab from 12:10 pm-1:20 pm.  The cost of lunch is $10 for faculty and $5 for students.  We’re starting a new tradition of a rousing game of CCI Research Trivia during lunch.  Come out and test your knowledge and see what you can win!  After lunch the research presentations continue with two more research sessions, and the symposium wraps up with closing remarks and award’s ceremony at 4 pm.  We hope you’ll join us for a full day of learning and celebrating!

UT College of Communication and Information Gets $2.73 Million for NSF Project

Professor Suzie Allard, DataONE co-PIThe College of Communication and Information at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will receive $2.73 million over the next five years as part of a $15 million accomplishment based renewal of the National Science Foundation’s DataONE project.

DataONE stands for Data Observation Network for Earth, a National Science Foundation program that seeks to develop the cyber-infrastructure linking research data collected by environmental scientists to libraries and laboratories around the world and see that it's effectively used.

UT researchers include School of Information Sciences Professors Suzie Allard (DataONE co-principal investigator) and Carol Tenopir (DataONE working group co-lead).  Bruce Wilson, who holds a joint appointment with UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and UT research associate Mike Frame are also part of the Phase II team.  The principal investigator for DataONE Phase II is William Michener of the University of New Mexico.

“Having the opportunity to build on what was accomplished during Phase I of DataONE is very exciting,” said Allard. “Phase II will allow us to take our work to the next level by exploring important data management sociocultural issues and to share our findings with the scientific community beyond DataONE.”

In announcing its decision to renew DataONE, NSF gave the following example of the accomplishments achieved during Phase I of the project:  

"As with the proverbial canary in the coal mine, birds serve as an indicator of the health of our environment. Many common species have experienced significant population declines within the last 40 years. Suggested causes include habitat loss and climate change, however to fully understand bird distribution relative to the environment, extensive data are needed.

"Through a collaboration of DataONE and multiple partners, bird occurrence data collected by citizen scientists has been combined with land use data to allow researchers to map over 300 bird species against important environmental factors. With this information, they were able to more accurately assess the degree of protection required for each species and the responsibility of public land agencies."

During Phase II, DataONE will:

  • significantly expand the volume and diversity of data available to researchers for large-scale scientific discovery;
  • incorporate innovative features to improve data discovery and further support reproducible and open science; and
  • establish an openly accessible online education series to support global participation and training in current data techniques and perspectives.

Phase II will continue to engage, educate and grow the DataONE community. It also will seek user input to ensure intuitive, user-friendly products and services and work to ensure the long-term sustainability of DataONE services.

“NSF’s decision to provide an accomplishment based renewal of the project is a testament to the outstanding work of everyone involved in DataONE,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “Our DataONE team is looking forward to building on their many accomplishments as they move into Phase II of the project.”



UT Info Science Faculty Win Grant to Train Science Team Specialists

Dr. Suzie AllardSolving complex scientific problems often requires teams of researchers from different disciplines or even different institutions. And increasingly, information professionals are a part of those teams.

Four faculty members from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's, College of Communication and Information have received a $438,991 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to spend two years educating six master’s students in the area of scientific data curation, with a special emphasis on organizational communication skills that support team science.

Team members include Associate Professor Suzie Allard, principal investigator, and Chancellor's Professor Carol Tenopir and Assistant Professor Kimberly Douglass, all from the School of Information Sciences; and Associate Professor Ken Levine from the School of Communication Studies. They will also be working with faculty from the University of New Mexico Libraries.

The program will begin in June and run through May 2015, and the team is in the process of recruiting interested students now. To learn more contact Allard at

The students will be taking courses at UT and participating in hands-on research to learn how to work with interdisciplinary teams. They will be mentored by faculty members who have served on scientific research teams. The students also will travel to New Mexico in May 2015 to visit the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of New Mexico Libraries. They also will visit the offices of DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth), a project that enables new science and knowledge creation through universal access to data about life on earth and the environment that sustains it.


UT Researchers to Study Scholarly Journal Articles "Beyond Downloads"

ElsevierWith more scholarly journals being distributed electronically rather than in print form, Elsevier—a publishing company—has contracted with three University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty members to determine how journal articles are used after they are initially downloaded.

Chancellor’s Professor Carol Tenopir, Associate Professor Suzie Allard and Adjunct Professor David Nicholas from the College of Communication and Information have received a $244,000 grant from Elsevier to lead a team of international researchers on a one-year project, "Beyond Downloads."

The project will look at how scholarly electronic articles are downloaded, saved and shared by researchers. Sharing in today's digital environment may include links posted on social media, like Twitter, and in blogs or via email. Having a realistic estimate of this secondary use will help provide a more accurate picture of the total use of scholarly articles.



CCI Symposium Explores Communication Convergence

Augie Grant

“Communication and Information Research in an Age of Convergence” was the theme of the College of Communication and Information’s thirty-fifth annual Research Symposium on February 27 on the UT campus.

August E. “Augie” Grant, the J. Rion McKissick Professor of Journalism at the University of South Carolina, delivered the keynote address. He will speak on “Convergence and Disruption: The New Research Paradigms.”

The symposium was held in the Communications Building Auditorium (Room 321), with the poster session located in the foyer outside the auditorium. All events during the symposium were free and open to the public.

“The theme of this year’s symposium highlights the changes that are leading to the transformation and convergence of the fields of communication and information,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth.

“Our keynoter, Augie Grant, is an internationally known expert on media convergence and technology. His talk will set the tone for what promises to be an exciting day of paper presentations, posters, and discourse,” Wirth said.

The symposium began at 9:00 a.m. with a continental breakfast in the CCI lobby, followed by Grant’s keynote address at 9:30 a.m.

Research paper presentations began at 10:30 a.m. in the auditorium on the topic of “New Roles for Media in Society,” and the poster session began at 11:30 a.m. in the lobby.

After lunch, the next paper presentation session began at 1:45 p.m. in the auditorium on the topic of “Media’s Role in Society.”

The final paper presentation session was on the topic of “Science Communication,” and the closing comments and awards ceremony were presented 3:30 p.m. Awards were given to all participants due to the high quality of this year's presentations.

For more information about the symposium program, call 865-974-6651 or visit the symposium website.