Re: Librarians and OA advocacy

From: Jeffery, KG (Keith) <"Jeffery,>
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 13:34:00 +0100

All -

The recommendation here is exactly the line we adopted at what was then CCLRC when the library was merged into the IT department. The objectives were to upskill library staff to 'knowledge workers', to provide an OA repository (which we did quickly -, to get it filled (we're doing quite well) and to use it to manage the IP of the organisation in various ways. The project leader for the OA repository project came from the library (but had some IT background) and worked closely with the key software developer (from the IT department side).

In a recent reorganisation the library now sits with our e-Science department which also developed the repository (and metadata standards) for research datasets etc.


Prof Keith G Jeffery Director Information Technology and International Strategy Science and Technology Facilities Council
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-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum [mailto:AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM_at_LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG] On Behalf Of Andrew A. Adams
Sent: 23 April 2007 11:38
Subject: Librarians and OA advocacy.

A recent email discussion stimulated the following comment, which I was encouraged to post here more generally.

Some librarians are engaged in lobbying locally, nationally and internationally in ways which undermine our goal of 100% OA. This is not because they are evil, but because they respond to a different set of pressures than do researchers. It should be recognised that supporting Green OA requires something of a change in emphasis for librarians' roles.
Librarians (along with many other groups in late twentieth century academe) have to some extent lost touch with their principle missions. Academic institutional librarians, as with everyone else in academia apart from those performing research or directly supporting student's learning, are there to provide the members of the university (the staff and students) with the support they need to perform their role (researching/teaching/learning). The increasing managerialism in academia (unfortunately true almost everywhere and not restricted to the UK although it is one of the worst) means that many other groups, not least the managers themselves, have started to see their job as achieving their targets, rather that contributing to the research and teaching mission of universities.

In performing that contribution, it is time that librarians re-assessed their approach. In the past, the job of librarians was to provide access for their own staff to the output of other institutions. A very minor part of their mission used to be providing advice to academics on where to publish, but that role has been increasingly replaced by online access to such information. Other online access has gradually replaced a significant part of the information they have provided in paper form. They need an adjusted mission and this requires a change of viewpoint. That change should include providing the librarianship skill in helping to provide not just an institutional repository, but a repository which helps to maximise the impact of the work produced by their own researchers. The first stage in this is to throw their weight behind the creation of an IR and an OA mandate. There is then significant work for librarians in supporting and maintaining metadata categories in the repository, along with "digital pre
servation" use. IRs will not undermine the need for librarians, but they will require something of a change of role. The move to Green OA is an opportunity for librarians to be instrumental in defining their new role in facilitating two way information exchange between researchers, rather than acting as one way conduits for access to external information.

*E-mail*********  Dr Andrew A Adams
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Received on Mon Apr 23 2007 - 13:56:24 BST

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