I’ve been having conversations lately about the importance of a research agenda.
To me, it seems very closely to the discussion of goals that pops up from time to time. Some of my professional friends swear by goals, others swear by taking opportunities as they arise. (My answer, in that debate, is much less about a specific goal and more about choosing activities and opportunities that mesh with my mission.)
Similarly: do you have a single, clear focus for your research projects, or do you take opportunities as they arise? So far, in my professional life, I’ve had a broad topic that I’d classify as my “research agenda” but I also publish on the things I’m doing in my work to help share the ideas that have worked in my experience. I also take opportunities that arise, as well, often writing or preparing talks based on a request someone has made (which is often rooted in either my research agenda or the work that I’m doing).
That means my publishing and presenting is all over the map. I have dealt with instruction, design, and technology most often, because I try to build in a chance to write or speak into any new project I take on and a lot of my work has been in those two realms. I also have written about epistemological connections to library issues, which is closer to my research interest. I have been asked to write on issues related to feminist theory and information ethics, probably due to my academic background in those areas and how I wrote on related topics throughout library school. There doesn’t appear to be a focus in my work but that’s largely because “work” is too broad of a bucket. Some professional involvement is about (essentially) reporting, some is about my research agenda, and some is basically responding to an information need that I’ve been requested to fill.
I’m not sure I’d want it to be more focused than that. I like framing the work this way. It does make me think that perhaps some kind of indicator on a CV could help committees understand more of what they are looking at and the research and professional areas of interest of a given individual.
What do you think? If you’re in libraries: does your research agenda match your job? How much do you feel the pull to stick to your specific research agenda?
Today my place of work had an inter-library workshop on Scholarly Communication. Yay!! So, in the spirit of professional development reporting, here are my notes:
- Molly Keener kicked off with an explanation of the committee and workshop.
- The material (podcast, links, etc) will be on the library website.
- Molly and Sarah Jeong gave an introduction to scholarly communications.
- Defining scholarly communication: “the process through which researchers and faculty worldwide find, build, disseminate and collect now information.
- Papers, presentations, posters, as well as blogs, wikis, data sets, what faculty produce in the classroom with students
- Need to not only think of scholarly communications only in terms of what the library can collect, but also in a broader sense.
- Crisis in scholarly communication: skyrocketing journals pricing, growing number of resources/growing number of researchers/rising costs of materials/some decrease in funds, scholarly communication is still heavily tied to tenure and review
- Core set=highest impact (those that tenure track must publish in)
- Journal cost rising more quickly than CPI.
- We’re often charged more for electronic journals.
- Shouldn’t be complacent with status quo… calling for us to disseminate information
- Changes: publisher mergers, shift to electronic resources and licensing, course websites/CMS/e-reserves, copyright management, calls to revise and strengthen peer-review, new publishing and full-text archiving
- Sarah Jeong gave an overview of open access
- OA is digital, online, freely available, and free of many restrictions
- Dates back to 1990 with Bryn Mawr Classical Review. (Interesting that it’s a humanities publication!!)
- Stovan Harnad recommended self archiving.
- Discussed Gold, Green, and Hybrid OA.
- Molly continued with recent developments
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute agreed to cover costs for their researchers who wanted to publish in OA journals.
- NIH Public Access Policy of 2008 requires that journal articles produced as result of NIH funding must be freely available in PubMed Central.
- Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences unanimously voted to make their research available freely through Harvard’s soon-to-be created repository.
- WFU Libraries are working on creating an institutional repository and Reynolda campus fund for paying open access publication fees.
- Open Access fees: Interestingness that some disciplines have to pay huge costs to publish their work, others might even get paid a little bit to publish.
- Misconception that open access is not peer reviewed. Smacks of vanity publishing. But it’s not…. open access can be peer reviewed and accepted for traditional publication.
- Pointed out scientists have a good reason to negotiate for open access due to NIH. Perhaps an ethical argument would be helpful for humanities and social sciences.
- Kevin Smith, Scholarly Communications Officer at Duke University, spoke on Copyright Management for Scholarly Publication.
- We are experts in dissemination of scholarship and use of digital resources.
- Usually the de facto copyright experts on campus.
- Librarians have history of reading IP licenses in acquisitions, which is helpful for OA.
- We have a chance to help define our future. Scholarship is going online. We can create our place in the scholarly process.
- Copyright, digital access, and business models for publishing are all under debate.
- Librarians can help authors understand their rights and retain them.
- Can improve quality by making it more usable, getting higher impact.
- OA can improve a work’s ability to be cited, commented on, and interconnected with other works.
- Studies show that OA improves impact and improves it sooner than traditional publishing.
- Most OA Journals are peer reviewed.
- Copyright really protects publishers, but publishers will say it’s for the author.
- Discussed a “copyright shower” we feel as we put notes to paper (or type on a computer)
- Could make an argument that scholarly publication is a work-for-hire since it’s done as part of the paying job, but many universities state it belongs to the faculty member. This means faculty have to negotiate their own contract.
- No one else is going to help faculty understand what they’re signing away when publishing. We need to do it.
- Most publication agreements are now modified to allow faculty to retain certain rights, but they’re not all the same. Must read each one.
- He walked us through a clause with a generous rights retention policy as well as a clause that restricts authors rights retention.
- OA is the library’s problem: when author signs away copyright without knowing it, they may be unable to contribute to repository even if required.
- Need derivative work…. most faculty do this. Either building on former writing or creating a monograph.
- Non compete clauses limit authors ability to continue producing within the field.
- Journals get the content for free. In some ways we have the upper hand. We can negotiate with them as an academic community.
- NIH actually says deposit upon acceptance. This could be way before publication.
- Things Duke has done to help with NIH compliance: created a submission letter notifying of NIH requirements and contract addendum with NIH requirements.
- And he wrapped up with Creative Commons (fabulous)!
- Creative Commons protects our faculty better than our copyright system. This is because it protects attribution. Helps build reputation and recognition.
- The way to go is to help faculty understand this is good for them, not to mandate it.
- Marian Parker concluded the session with a session on Institutional Repositories
- IRs exist to collect content in a single location, self-archive, and to store and preserve institutional digital assets including grey literature.
- Who is doing what: directory, columbia, cornell, duke law, rice, vanderbilt
- IRs are joint projects between libraries, office of sponsored research, IT, faculty
- What is included? Just final products of faculty scholarly publications? Professors’ class materials? Websites?
- Open Source options: DSpace, ePrints, Fedora; Proprietary options (which seems antithetical): CONTENTdm, DigiTool
- Technical Issues: Interoperability & extensibility, digital objects & metadata, ingest & maintenance
- Still sounds like there are a lot of policy decisions to make. Those will be interesting discussions!
Fabulous workshop! Thanks to Molly and the committee for the opportunity!