Re: Librarians and OA advocacy

From: FrederickFriend <>
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 17:24:40 +0100

This view is very unfair to many members of the library community, who are
already doing what Andrew Adams suggests. Many institutional repositories
are already being managed by librarians and many library directors are
working with their university management to secure mandates. The quantity of
content in repositories would not be as high as it is now were it not for
the efforts of librarians. To criticise allies and potential allies does not
help the cause of OA. All librarians have to work within the policies of
their institution and some do not have as much freedom of action as others,
but many understand and have no problem with the way in which their role is

Fred Friend
JISC Scholarly Communication Consultant
Honorary Director Scholarly Communication UCL

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew A. Adams" <A.A.Adams_at_READING.AC.UK>
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 11:38 AM
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 preservation" 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
> **snail*27 Westerham Walk********** School of Systems Engineering
> ***mail*Reading RG2 0BA, UK******** The University of Reading
> ****Tel*+44-118-378-6997*********** Reading, United Kingdom
> ****
Received on Mon Apr 23 2007 - 18:25:26 BST

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