08 October 2018
Posted by: Gus MacDonald
Open research needs library support
Open research needs library support
LIBRARIANS and researchers from across the world are working together on a project that could help unify Open Scholarship for the digital age.
The Open Scholarship Strategy brings together HE librarians and researchers to look at opportunities and challenges in Open Research – the broad term for research that is conducted in the spirit of openness. The idea is that data sets as well as research outcomes are released to the research community, enabling others to replicate and build on research. The ethos echoes open-source technology and is widely regarded as beneficial.
The Open Scholarship Strategy assesses the current position of Open Research and will look to build on that, offering new ways of working with open research and supporting researchers. It has recently produced a first version of its publications, but is looking for more input before a final version is released.
Fiona Bradley, Scholarly Communications Librarian at University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), Australia, and part of the project’s drafting committee, said: “The purpose of this document is to provide a concise analysis of where the global Open Scholarship movement currently stands: what the common threads and strengths are, where the greatest opportunities and challenges lie, and how we can more effectively work together as a global community to recognise the top strategic priorities.”
The document, which is available in a variety of formats, includes the opportunity for library and information professionals to contribute directly through GitHub. The team is keen to hear from contributors from all regions and will produce a final draft by the end of the year, based on comments received over the next few months.
The report highlights a multi-disciplinary approach to Open Scholarship, but points to librarians and libraries as being crucial advocates and drivers of change. It points to actions that can be taken – from individuals right up to national and international organisations – saying stakeholders across the board need to act to push the movement forward.
“Research funders and libraries hold most of the purse strings,” according to the report’s authors, “and further engagement on this front is essential, especially in defining their relative roles in developing or funding scholarly infrastructure. Simply channelling more money into the existing system, with perverse incentives and skewed power dynamics, is clearly no longer sustainable for research.”
The notion that open access publishing is changing the face of research is another driver for the project. And while it is keen to see a shift in the research publishing model, it also recognises the importance of publishers in helping to deliver change.
Ultimately, it sees all the current stakeholders having a place in the new model but recognises that there will not necessarily be consensus as to the best way of working.
It says: “There is clearly a need for different fields to discuss what is culturally appropriate for themselves; however, this strategy can provide a foundation for guiding those discussions.
“With this, one of the principle goals for this strategy is to create communities that reciprocally support each other through learning and training. These communities will have the best insight into real life barriers, and how to overcome them, and be able to identify new realities at the different hierarchical levels, which can then be incorporated into decision making processes.”
PHOTO Credit: Multi-license with CC-BY-SA-3.0 and GFDL Author: Tim Houlihan