Cocreating an advocacy toolkit using a writing sprint

Advocacy is a vital part of scholarly communication. It helps researchers and institutions get their message out to the wider world and engage with the communities that matter to them. But creating effective advocacy materials can be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to create something that’s useful to a wide range of institutions.

The UK ORCID Consortium is a group of UK institutions, led by Jisc, working together to promote the use of ORCID and develop best practices for implementing it in their institutions. ORCID is a non-profit organization that provides a unique identifier to researchers and other contributors to the scholarly communication process. ORCID helps researchers to maintain their research output and publishing history, and to connect with other researchers and institutions.

One of the challenges faced by the UK ORCID Consortium was to create a toolkit of advocacy materials that anyone could use. It needed to be generic enough to address the needs of different audiences, across multiple institutions and be wide-ranging. The goal was to create a living resource owned by the community and created with their active participation.

In the following sections I’ll describe the co-production of the UK ORCID Advocacy Toolkit and share the lessons learned, along with ongoing plans for the future.

Stage 1 – Resource Gathering

The first stage of the project was to gather existing materials from the community. This had been going on for many years, and the team was able to build on a wealth of experience and knowledge. By collecting existing materials in a Teams space, they were able to get an idea of what was already out there and what was still needed.

They also had discussions about goals and identified different audiences for the toolkit. These included institutional audiences as well as those with different levels of expertise. With this in mind, they considered the types of materials that would be needed to meet the needs of these audiences.

Stage 2 – Writing Sprint

With the resources gathered, the team was ready for the next stage: the writing sprint. But before that, they did some pre-work to get things set up. This included creating scaffolding and setting up an idea padlet where participants could share their ideas. Information about what people might want to work on was gathered via the padlet and used along with other pre work outputs to make a proposal for a writing sprint structure.

The writing sprint itself was a one-day event with a detailed agenda published in advance. The day involved an overview and introduction (recorded so that others would have access to the introductory material), two content sprints, and a roundup. The detailed agenda published in advance allowed attendees to drop in and out, but they did need to come to a complete session. There were breakouts within this on different themes with a facilitator for each session.

After the writing sprint, there was one week of curation / tidy-up time for the contributors. Then, the toolkit was opened for input by the wider community.


The UK ORCID Consortium CoCreation project resulted in the creation of a living resource – a Wikibook! The ORCID Advocacy Toolkit is available at

The Wikibook is a living resource that can be updated over time. This means that it can continue to be relevant and useful even as the needs of the community change.

As a co-creation / coproduction, an outcome was the active participation from the community, which will ensure that the toolkit is owned by the community itself. This means that it’s more likely to be used and valued by those who need it most.


Of course, there were lessons learned along the way. One of the key takeaways from the project was the need for more time on structure. Participants were often focussed on how to structure the resource and so spent less time actually writing. This highlights the importance of setting clear expectations and guidelines for the writing sprint. But with more time and a clearer structure, they were able to create a valuable resource that met the needs of the community. The team could have scheduled separate sessions to discuss the structure of the resource in more detail, so that the writing sprint could be more focused on creating content.

Another lesson learned was the importance of scheduling. The team needed to have a clear timeline and schedule for the project to ensure that all the necessary work was completed within the allocated time. But also, awareness of other occasions occurring at the same time – in the end the sprint ran into conflicts with several key community events occurring on the same day and drawing participants away.

Virtual rooms were also found to be very useful in the sprint. They allowed the separate subject groups space to work remotely and collaborate effectively.


Creating an advocacy toolkit that’s useful to a wide range of institutions is a challenging task. But by bringing together members of the community and using a structured approach, the UK ORCID Consortium was able to create a living resource that meets the needs of the community

In conclusion, the UK ORCID Consortium CoCreation project was a success in creating an advocacy toolkit for ORCID that is a living resource owned by the community. The project demonstrated the power of co-creation and community engagement in creating resources that are widely applicable and useful to many institutions.

Get involved: Join the UK ORCID community

See Natasha’s blog for more on managing collaborative content projects.

Image credit: Miguel Amutio on Unsplash

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