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Issue No. 2021-04

August, 2021

In this issue:

  • Introduction: Emily Monosson
  • What's new: Alex Lancaster and Keith Tse
  • From our blog: The Big Brain thinks about publications
  • Get to know a Ronin Scholar: Sheilamae Reyes Ablay
  • Did you know? (Ronin Lightening talks)
  • The world is your oyster (Ronin-IGDORE Unconference.)
Hi all, as the summer wanes in the Northern Hemisphere and there is so much uncertainty in the world, I hope this finds you in a good place. Our membership, as usual has been busy. A few weeks ago in August we had our annual All Hands Meeting; a nice opportunity to meet one another and get to know what's up around the institute. Ronin is a community of volunteers and every time we meet, whether  as a whole (as in the All Hands) or on any give work-group meeting, I am always grateful for the dedication of our members who make this "our" community. We are a hands-on working community, which matters in different ways to each of us. And we are a global group who write, paint, dance, work in the lab, read and code. Now more than ever this kind of community is invaluable. As always we invite anyone interested to jump in where it means the most for you. 

In this Kitsune, you have an opportunity to meet our Get to Know Sheilamay Reyes Ablay, and find Some Thoughts on Publications developed at our latest Big Brain meeting. Two new initiatives Ronin in Languages and the Library of Ronin are introduced by members Alex and Keith. And please check out the World is Your Oyster for details and registration information for the joint Ronin-IGDORE Scholarship Values Summit

Finally you may notice that we are no longer listing members' publications in Kitsune. With so many coming in each month, we thought everyone would be better served if all those publications were available in one place. We have two opportunities to do this, the upcoming scholarship section on our website (which will be powered by a new Zotero library - see how to get involved, below) and the new #achievements_announcements channel on Slack. Now you can share more than academic publications because we recognized that there are many kinds of scholarly and non-scholarly successes to celebrate.  


What's new?
Ronin in language 

Институт Ронин

Multilingual Ronin Institute crowdsourcing naming project

Alex Lancaster and Keith Tse

Research Scholars, did you know you that you are also all members of the 浪人獨立學者學會, possibly the Институт Ронин, or even the สถาบันโรนิน?  That’s “Ronin Institute” translated into Chinese, Macedonian and Thai, respectively. As we are becoming a more truly international and multilingual community, the Communication and Infrastructure Working Groups are helping crowdsource translations of our name into as many languages as possible. You can see our continuing efforts on our Translations of Ronin Institute spreadsheet, and we are looking for more help!  You can comment on the sheet to provide either missing translations, or comment on an existing translation, but please provide your name.  Our plan is to eventually use these translations in other places like our wikidata profile. To get more involved - e.g. if you’d like to be able to edit directly - please drop into the #wg-communications Slack (if you are a Ronin Scholar), or contact Alex Lancaster or Keith Tse.

If you want to know where we come from, take a look at our membership. We are growing and as we do we are becoming increasingly international. 


Help build our library of Ronin Institute scholarship! 


Alex Lancaster

We are building a library of scholarship by all Ronin Institute Research Scholars and we need your help!  We have set up a group library that is powered by the open-source bibliographic software, Zotero. If you’ve used Zotero before (or even if you haven’t!), you already know how easy it is to add citations, and we’d love your help keeping this library up to date with the latest Ronin Institute scholarship. We are particularly keen to have contributors who will proactively add scholarship that they find from other Research Scholars - in line with our “pay-it-forward” principle. Conferences, posters, pre-prints, journal articles, blog posts...we cast the net pretty wide. We are also wiring up the Zotero library to our website to soon display the Zotero library publicly in various forms, e.g. showing a running ticker of scholarship (this will alleviate the burden of the Kitsune team in manually curating for the newsletter). To learn more, contact Alex Lancaster on Slack or drop a line on the Infrastructure Working Group Slack (#wg-infrastructure) if you are a Ronin Scholar!




From our blog

Plenty of informative and fascinating posts have been published in our blog. In case you've missed it...

The Big Brain thinks about publications

Notes from the Big Brain Collective as summarized on our Blog by Research Scholars Emily Monosson and Arika Virapongse.

The intention of the Ronin Institute Big Brain is for participants to share knowledge, experiences, advice and opinions. Topics flow from one meeting to the next. When we discussed Success in our last Big Brain, questions about Publishing emerged.

In this Big Brain, we created an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to collect questions and answers about: Where do we publish? Why? How? Books, journals, blogs or other, how do we choose what goes where? What about Peer-review? We are grateful for the nearly twenty Ronin Scholars who shared their wisdom and questions over the course of two different meetings. Participants contributed information from how to publish and polish articles for a blog post, to the pros and cons of peer review, and thoughts on Impact Factors and how best to spread the word about your new publication.

Below are some questions that participants provided. If you want to see the responses, check out the full FAQ.

  • Can self-published books be placed in bookstores?
  • How do I choose which book publishers to approach?
  • Does impact factor [for peer reviewed journals] really matter?
  • What to do about page charges [for peer reviewed journals]?
  • If I publish in a preprint, why isn’t there a problem with “re-print” in a peer reviewed journal? 
  • How many types of OA [Open Access] are there? How should this affect our publishing decisions?
  • What prompts people to publish an idea?
  • How to attract readers?


Get to know a Ronin Scholar

Let's get to know each other! Every issue of the newsletter will feature a randomly chosen Ronin Research Scholar! In this issue: Sheilamae Reyes Ablay

What do you do as a Ronin scholar?

I study Global South migration to Turkey and the Filipino diaspora in new destination countries.

What do you do as a non-scholar Ronin?

Explore Turkey with my husband and two young kids, read fiction, learn to play Beethoven's piano sonatas, and I do freelance research consulting that I'm hoping to turn into a full-time job.

What is the last thing you’ve done that you are most happy about?

Went to the hospital by myself (well with my two kids) for my 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine and did it all in Turkish.

What are you looking forward to right now?

A full time remote position doing the kind of things I already do and like to do (e.g. data analysis).

Favorite comfort food?

Filipino chicken adobo, with a can of coconut milk and spicy chili peppers (my twists).

What do you listen to these days?

Beethoven's sonatas. Specifically, no 15 the Pastoral sonata. I also listen to regular old whatever are the top hits music when I'm driving.

What is the last book that you’ve read or listened to? Or what was the last thing you watched on TV?

I just finished Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. On Netflix I recently finished watching Ethos/Bir Baskadir--the only Turkish series I've been able to bear watching.

What’s the best thing you did last weekend?

Watched a whirling dervish show at the hotel we stayed at in Cappadocia.

Where do you currently live or spend most of your time? - can you share a photo?

Zelve open air museum. View of fairy
chimneys/hoodoos from inside a cave.

What is the world / political issue that worries you most these days?

Political polarization in Turkey and climate change.

In an alternative life, what different career / path would you have liked to explore?

Professional pianist or novelist.

When is your favorite time for writing?

Early morning and late night.

What is your morning ritual like?

Wake up at crack of dawn when my kids wake up, coffee and kids breakfast, and try to sit at my desk when my head is clearest.

Dogs or cats?


Are you a coffee person?


Are you writing a paper at the moment? What is it? If not, what have you written last?

I have several ongoing papers about migrants in Turkey.

If the genie in the lamp gave you one wish, what would that be?

To live in southern California near my family.

One question you wish we had asked? You can answer that one too if you wish.

What's cool about where you live? I currently live a short drive away from Cappadocia.


Did you know?

From the Wayback Machine, Kitsune's first Issue, edited by Jon Wilkins:

The name Kitsune comes from the multi-tailed foxes from Japanese folklore, who serve as messengers for the Shinto spirit Inari. My hope is that they will also be willing to serve as messengers for the Ronin Institute.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Public domain,
via Wikimedia Commons

The world is your oyster

Bringing to you news from the world.

Meeting announcement! 


Scholarship Values Summit: 

Creating healthier and more equitable systems that support scholarship

Hosted by: The Ronin Institute and IGDORE

DESCRIPTION: This unconference provides a space for participants to identify harmful scholarship-related systems that no longer work, and to define shared values in scholarship as a basis for creating new healthier systems that are more supportive of scholarship goals. 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Anyone who considers themselves a scholar. 

WHAT TO EXPECT?: Unconferences are participant-centered. Therefore, we’ll have a mix of short seed talks to help us kick off, a schedule board that participants will use to list a topic they want to discuss, break out groups around proposed topics, collaborative writing and creating, reflection breaks, and informal time to chat and meet each other.


You will need to register for each session separately . You are welcome and encouraged to attend more than one session--we hope you will come to all of them! 

Session 1: Identify harmful systems in Scholarship 

Goal: To identify the scholarship-related systems and actions that scholars participate in that lead to exploitation and harm. 

Date: Sep 14, 2021

Time: 3:00-5:30 PM US Eastern Time / 19:00-21:30 UTC (in your local time)

Session 2: Propose shared values for Scholarship

Goal: To define and propose a set of values for scholarship that can help scholars begin to extract themselves from exploitative and harmful systems, and engage in efforts that align better with our values and our current socioeconomic and environmental context.

Date: Sep 15, 2021

Time: 9:00-11:30 PM US Eastern Time / 01:00-03:30 UTC (in your local time)

Session 3: Communicate our values 

Goal: Develop strategies for communicating and normalizing our stated values and proposed new systems. 

Date: Sep 16, 2021

Time: 9:00-11:30 AM US Eastern Time / 13:00-15:30 UTC (in your local time)

Click here to register for the summit!


Useful links

Calendar is where Ronin Research Scholars can find times and dates of meetings and seminars
Slack is where Ronin Research Scholars can interact with other Scholars, and join any number of Slack channels from Governance, to Membership to ig-covid19-biology. For those of you who are new to Slack or have any questions about on-boarding, contact @vesselin 

You can also reach out to us editors on Slack too: @emilyM

About the Ronin Institute

The Ronin Institute is dedicated to building an alternative model of academic scholarship outside of the traditional university system. To learn more, visit our website or send us an email.

We depend on public support. If you are in a position to do so, please consider making a donation. The Ronin Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so your donation will be tax deductible to the full extent permitted by applicable tax law.

If you know someone who might be interested in the Ronin Institute, please feel free to forward this newsletter on to them. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Contact Kitsune and let us know!


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