RLUK Conference: OCLC RLP workshop on “open”

This is the first in a series of three blog posts about the 2019 RLUK Conference in London.

In March, OCLC staff attended the RLUK Conference in London. As in previous years, we held a workshop for members of the OCLC Research Library Partnership and invited others as we examined topics related to “open.”

Dimity Flanagan, Scholarly Communication Lead from the British Library kicked things off with an overview of some of the many ways that the BL is leading in open: improving discovery, developing a repository, working on the OA button, and convening the library community through a series of events.

Dimity Flanagan, Scholarly Communication Lead from the British Library presenting at the OCLC RLP workshop on “open”

We spent most of our time taking an early look at the findings from the recent OCLC Global Survey on access to open content – with a focus on open access and beyond. The conversation around tables was lively, reflecting a high level of engagement with these important topics.  Some high points from these discussions follow:

  • Discoverability and ease of access for open content is key:  libraries are big fans of open content and open science but struggle with why publishers still require users to register to access free content.
  • Do end users and the public at large understand the concept of open access and benefits? Do they understand the OA symbol and recognize it as a signifier of “free content”?  Workshop attendees felt that further education is needed, especially to explain OA content in a discovery layer.
  • Regarding repositories, consistency in implementation of identifiers is key. There is also a role for education around use of identifiers, particularly as we start to link repositories together. 
Participants at the OCLC RLP workshop on “open”

Some other observations: Unsurprisingly, digital preservation is a leading issue. And workshop participants were not clear on the value of linked data.

The OCLC RLP workshop on open was a good way to start the conference as open continued as a major theme over the following days. It seems that “Open First” has replaced the “Digital First” mantra of the last few years.

You can check out the slides we shared during the workshop. A full report on the survey will be available later this year.

Many thanks to OCLC staff who helped to run the workshop and contributed to this blog post: George Bingham, Fiona Carr, Andrew Hall, and Fiona Leslie.