Wednesday 29 June 2016

Can you hear me now? Ongoing conversations with the “researcher of the future”

Lettie Conrad, Executive Program Manager for Discovery & Access at SAGE Publishing reflects on the recent early careers researcher seminar.

"A lively full-day ALPSP seminar in London last month featured a most productive knowledge exchange among early-career researchers, publishers, librarians, and other experts in scholarly communication. Our focus was to raise awareness among information providers about the experiences and needs of today’s researcher – and we gathered a packed roomful of engaged and eager participants to hear from a panel of doctoral researchers and students.

We heard about their frustrations with peer review, their thoughts about open access, and the ways in which faculty play a starring role in shaping their publication and career decisions. We then heard about how librarians and publishers are working to integrate an understanding of the researcher experience (RX) into their innovative solutions and programs.

But, Dear Reader, we managed to achieve something else that we hadn’t expected. The researchers came away with their own lessons and insights into the realities of today’s information provider! 

What a bright light to see such excitement from scholars at being asked for their input and realizing the ways in which we symbiotically need one another along the supply chain of academic publishing and research! What a refreshingly collaborative and solutions-oriented response to such a stimulating event!

These insights punctuate the importance of publishers and libraries being vocal and eloquent and proactive about communicating our value within the research workflow and broader scholarly enterprise, in everything we do, great and small. Let this serve as a call to each of us actively engaging on a routine basis with those academics who want to maintain an open dialogue about scholarly communications.

And this type of discussion and collaboration represent a growing trend within scholarly communication community – from joint research efforts, events geared toward education and open conversation, user-centered design projects, and longitudinal studies. In part, these efforts are answering the call for greater cooperation across the academic supply chain and greater sensitivity to the user experience.

This ALPSP seminar gives me hope that a collaborative movement is well underway and includes a deeper understanding of the experiences of librarians and publishers too."

Lettie Conrad chaired the seminar Are you ready for the Researcher of the Future? Understanding the researcher experience in London last month. You can follow her on Twitter via @lyconrad.

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