Posted for Elena Maceviciute and Kersti Nilsson
The kick-off meeting of the Management Committee for the E-READ project was held on November 28, 2014. Twenty-six countries sent their representatives and, as each country could have two representatives in the Management Committee, there were over forty people in the meeting. Some of them were old acquaintances and colleagues whom we knew quite well from previous collaboration. However, the interdisciplinary nature of the action brought together many different researchers from education, psychology, neurology, information technology, publishing studies, library and information science, literature and language research. The main purpose of the first meeting was to solve the initial issues related to the governance, organization, coordination, and planning. The meeting acknowledged the commitment of the initiators of the project by unanimous vote for Dr. Anne Mangen (Stavanger University, Norway) as a chair of the action and Prof. Adriaan van der Weel (University of Leiden, the Netherlands) as a vice-chair. Stavanger University became the Grant Holder. The budget and the plan for the first year have been approved by the Management Committee. The plan includes the first workshops in Ljubljana in April of 2015 and Szeged in October, a training school in Berlin on experiential and neuro-cognitive methods in September of 2015, and short-term scientific missions. The training school in Berlin attracted so much interest that the Management Committee has reallocated resources from the regular workshops to increase the number of attendees to Berlin.
Though the first meeting was mainly devoted to official and administrative matters, it is worth presenting here the main goals of this COST action, which make it interesting to our project. This part of the post is based on the text from the Memorandum of Understanding and the presentation made by Anne Mangen (thanks for sharing the slides, Anne). As we are investigating the impact of e-books on a small language market and culture, it is impossible to eliminate the reading issues from it. We are looking into the social aspects of reading through the SOM institute surveys, but also into the behaviour of different reader groups in relation to the adoption of e-books in Sweden. The COST action is mainly concerned with the impact of digitization on reading and seeks to develop an aggregate measure of reading in any environment (on paper or on screen) based on the integrative model of reading. The integrative model of reading includes ergonomic, perceptual, cognitive, phenomenological and socio-cultural dimensions. That is why it is expected that researchers from different disciplines collaborating within this project will help us to increase understanding of reading process and the changes brought about by the spread of digital technologies. Support for different people in different contexts for coping with the new demands on reading is seen as one of the pragmatic outcomes of research activities in E-READ. Our project fits into the research of socio-cultural dimensions of reading and to some extent to the experiential and perceptual dimension research. We also expect to develop other research projects related to E-READ.
COST actions support the networking activities, but not research; therefore, the E-READ will be used for coordination of existing reading research projects, building collaboration between social sciences, humanities and natural sciences, and creating new interdisciplinary projects, including those fitting the Horizon 2020 framework. The action also includes considerable publicity measures, especially, communication with the main interest groups, such as educators, publishers, hardware and software agencies, reading promoters, policy makers, and citizens of European countries.