Monday, 24 February 2014

Transformation: the institutional perspective

Russell Burke, Royal Holloway
The first afternoon session at the Association of Subscription Agents conference provided the institution perspective on transformation. Russell Burke, Information Consultant at the Bedford Library, Royal Holloway University of London opened by outlining the two complex landscapes: for publishing and HE students.

Students need to easily navigate through information literacy landscape and the online landscape is more complex than print was. Even if students have good information literacy skills they still need to know what is changing and is new. They rely heavily on agents and publishers for information and consider whether to pass on direct or repackage via own support tools.

One of the good things about library search is the at-a-glance view of what they can get access to. They don't push it as a tool for researchers. But it can be used for a summary research survey. They also provide literacy training for all levels of users and use social media and other awareness tools to try and ensure whole range of students know what's available.

Where does open access fit in with this? With students, they focus on basic issues (do I have to use the library?) as bringing in OA too early could be problematic. To be fully information literate, users need to know the source of all references in their research and study. They need to understand if from a pre-print or published article. the challenge is to identify what users need to know and then ensuring they understand what htey need to know at right time.

Jill Emery, Portland State University
Jill Emery is Collections Librarian at Portland State University. They are a relatively young university, founded in the 1940s post-war, diverse in subject areas. They don't have the resource of an Ivy League institution. The commodification of HE, internationalisation and split purchasing between subscription/one-time purchases have impacted on them. They need to prove value of investment to those paying the bill (parents, endowments, etc).

Today's reality is focused on purchasing and the big deals remain. They are looking at PDA/Article purchasing and an 80/20 split between subscriptions/one-time. Staff attrition and open access are affecting them. So they are looking at new services.

Anything will be considered to lessen the student costs including DIY and stacks replaced by collaborative work areas. They are committed to local library publishing and are looking at monograph publishing and have developed 21st century collections which are highly curated, locally focused with the aim of global impact (e.g. Dark Horse comics, Films on Demand). They are trying to support local authors and make content out of the university available globally. They also try to supply as many resources as possible in mobile  environment.

Rob Johnson, Research Consulting
Rob Johnson, Director at Research Consulting, spoke about UK open access activity. While the UK is a big influencer within global research (and the government has understandably tried to take a lead with policy making in this area) out of 2.2 m globally research articles published per annum, it only publishes c.140k articles or 6.4% of the total. So what happens to the rest of global research output?

When reflecting on what intermediaries can do he suggested they can explore:
  • transaction management - including publisher pre-payments
  • improved author experience (but perhaps not yet?)
  • data, data, data (streamlining processes for managing compliance; promoting adoption of standard metadata forms and unique identifiers).
Chris Banks, Imperial College
Chris Banks, Director of Library Services from Imperial College London, outlined how they have a particular interest in open access due to the profile of their institution: 14k students of which 6k are postgraduate, c. 3k academics = lots of high level of research. She also noted that c. 92% of their budget is spent online.

The Finch Group findings 'at the time' were believed to be the best way to achieve a step change. The resulting push for Gold open access has created some interesting developments. Within the university, they have set up some interesting new working relationships. The research office is interested in library services as they have keen interest in compliance with funders and in some instituions they are managing funding of APCs.

Some library services are developing submission forms which seek to minimise the complexity for academics. The finance office are interested in the accountability for spend of Wellcome/BIS/RCUK/Institutional funds. There is a focus on raising awareness amongst academics and increasing understanding of the new RCUK mandates; information about journal compliance; copyright and licensing awareness; Green vs Gold open access, etc.

Banks finished by considering both old and new players in the aggregation industry. Is there another point where agent/aggregator could work with research information systems with the SHERPA data/ CRIS data nodes perhaps?

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