The Ronin Institute is creating a new model for scholarly research that recognizes that the world outside of traditional academia is filled with smart, educated, passionate people who have a lot to offer to the world of scholarship. We aim to transform the way that scholarly research is coordinated and funded. Ultimately, we want anyone who is interested in pursuing high-quality scholarly research to be able to do so. Moreover, we want these people to be able to pursue their research in a way that is consistent with all of their life’s priorities. But how does that actually work?

This FAQ contains answers to some common logistical questions (click the question to expand the answer). For answers to questions about the purpose and necessity of the Ronin Institute, check out our Why Ronin? page.

  1. What fields does the Ronin Institute represent?
    All of them! Our Research Scholars hail from all across the academic spectrum, from physics to biology to history to philosophy. You can check out some of their self-described areas of interest on our Research Scholars page.

  2. Do you have departments?
    No. Many of our Research Scholars decided to pursue independent scholarship specifically because their research interests did not align well with a traditional academic department. As our numbers have grown we have begun to identify a number of “affinity groups” of Research Scholars with overlapping and complementary interests. Unlike departments, these labels are descriptive, not prescriptive. When a Ronin Institute Research Scholar is required to provide the name of their department (e.g., for an inflexible web form), we recommend “The Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things”.

  3. Does the Ronin Institute have a library?
    Unfortunately, no. Access to library resources remains one of the most significant challenges to the independent scholar. Access to most paid library resources, such as databases and paywalled journals, far exceeds the resources of many smaller institutions, including Ronin. We have collected a set of approaches that our Research Scholars have taken to address this problem.

  4. What if my work requires large equipment or lab space?
    The Ronin Institute does not possess physical lab space. Some Research Scholars whose work involves laboratory-based experiments also have an affiliation with a university or research institution with those facilities. Others work with collaborators who have access to lab space. In certain metropolitan areas, there are now also facilities where you can rent access to lab equipment on a short-term basis (e.g., bio-hacker spaces).

  5. Do Research Scholars have different ranks?
    No. The only academic title at the Ronin Institute is “Research Scholar”. We are deeply committed to a flat, egalitarian institutional structure. This means you can’t tell at a glance who is a “prestigious” or “senior” researcher, but we think that’s a good thing. For more detail on why, check out our Why Ronin? page.

  6. Do Ronin Research Scholars hold other academic affiliations?
    Yes, in some cases they do. Research Scholars can hold dual (or multiple) affiliations with traditional academic/research institutions, or with other research organizations (like IGDORE). Holding multiple affiliations is consistent with our mission: facilitating scholarship in whatever mode works best for each individual Research Scholar. In many cases, holding a traditional academic or other research institute appointment alongside their Research Scholar position may be the best way for a scholar to support their research. For more details on multiple affiliations see Q7 on Why Ronin?

  7. What does “scientiam consecemus” mean?
    The Ronin Institute motto, scientiam consecemus, is Latin for “Let’s chop up some knowledge”.

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