The Evolving Scholarly Record Workshop — the San Francisco edition and the series wrap-up

The report, The Evolving Scholarly Record, introduced a framework for discussing the changes in the scholarly record and in the roles of stakeholders.ESR framework

Over the past year, OCLC has conducted a series of workshops to socialize the framework.   You can read about the first three Evolving Scholarly Record workshops on  the Amsterdam workshop, the DC workshop, and the Chicago workshop.

For the fourth and final workshop in the series, we wanted to be more cumulative so we took a different tack from the first three workshops.  Instead of having guest speakers in the morning and small group breakout discussions in the afternoon, presentations by OCLC staff set the context for plenary discussions.  I reviewed the ESR framework and recapped the 3 previous workshops, Constance Malpas previewed the report, Stewardship of the Evolving Scholarly Record: From the Invisible Hand to Conscious Coordination, and Jim Michalko talked about boundaries and internalizing and externalizing roles in managing scholarly outputs.  Slides and videos of these presentations are available.


In the previous workshops, breakout discussions had focused around these four topics:  Selection, Support for the Researcher, Collaboration within the University, and Collaboration with External Entities.  Here are some of the takeaways from those discussions. (There were also discussions under the broad topic of technology, but those have been integrated with the other topics.)

breakout groupSelection

  • Establish priorities: for example, institutional (local) materials, at-risk materials, materials most valued by researchers in specific disciplines.
  • Establish limits: what doesn’t need to be saved? What can be de-selected?
  • Establish clear selection criteria, especially for non-traditional scholarly outputs: for example, blogs, web sites.
  • Accept adequate content sampling.
  • Be aware of system-wide context: how do local selection decisions complement/duplicate stewardship activities elsewhere? Which local collections are considered “collections of record” by the broader scholarly community?

Support for Researchers

  • Offer expertise with reliable external repositories to help researchers make good choices in use of disciplinary repositories.  Provide a local option for disciplines lacking good external choices.
  • Use the dissertation as the first opportunity to establish a relationship with a researcher.  Mint an ORCID and/or ISNI and provide DOIs.  Offer profiling, bibliography, and resume services that save researchers time.  Find ways to ensure portability of research outputs throughout a researcher’s career.
  • Determine how to link various research materials to a project and define for each project what an object is and how to link related bits to the object.
  • Become an integral part of the grant proposal process to ensure that materials flow to the right places instead of needing to be rescued after the fact.
  • Agree on and be explicit about service levels and end-of-life provisions.

Collaboration within the University

  • Use service offerings to re-position the library in the campus community.  Decide where the library will focus; it can’t be expert in all things.
  • Make alliances on campus so you can integrate library services into the campus infrastructure. Help other parts of the university negotiate licensing of data from vendors.
  • Use policy and financial drivers (mandates, ROI expectations, reputation and assessment) to motivate a variety of institutional stakeholders.
  • Create statements of organizational responsibility about selection, services, terms, and which parts of the university will do what.
  • Coordinate to optimize expertise, minimize duplication, rebalance resources, and contain costs.

Chi breakoutCollaboration with External Entities

  • Identify the things can be done elsewhere and those that need to be done locally. Figure out what kinds of relationships are needed with external repositories.
  • Help researchers negotiate on IP rights, terms of use, privacy, and so forth.
  • Determine which external repositories are committed to preservation and which will collect the related materials from processes and aftermaths.  Rely on external services like JSTOR, arXiv, SSRN, and ICPSR, which are dependable delivery and access systems with sustainable business models.
  • Learn how to interoperate with systems such as SHARE. Employ persistent object identifiers and multiple researcher name identifiers to interoperate with other systems.
  • Consider centers of excellence; host one and rely on others.

stewardship report

It is clear that no single institution can hope to gather and manage all of—or even a significant share of—the scholarly record.  This is the starting point for the new report, Stewardship of the evolving scholarly record: From the invisible hand to conscious coordination.

In the fourth workshop we had discussions with all attendees present.  Having started with what came out of the previous workshops, it was easier for them to stretch a little bit beyond that.  Highlights from the plenary discussions are:

Things that institutions should consider doing:

  • Establish when research outputs should be archived locally.  In many cases a citation with a pointer to outputs archived elsewhere will be satisfactory.
  • Decide which materials merit application of preservation protocols.
  • Embed data capture requirements in the researchers’ workflow and see that metadata is created early in the flow.
  • Partner with the sponsored projects office to communicate about data lifecycle.
  • Explore with the Office of Academic Affairs if there are opportunities to work together on collecting assets for promotion and tenure.
  • Do ongoing analysis on Data Management Plans to provide fundamental planning data.
  • Use the library’s space and its “power to convene” to foster critical cross-campus conversations.
  • Develop practices for library assignment and management of ORCID, ISNI, DOI…  Identifiers are crucial.
  • When other units are licensing services (such as those from Elsevier), help with the negotiations and help to ensure that the various campus systems will interoperate.
  • Establish a relationship with HathiTrust and others who can share the stewardship workload.
  • Think about what else you will archive, beyond your institutional output.

SF workshopThings to consider as a community

  • Assemble case studies of successful faculty engagement.
  • Decipher and interpret impact calculations in different systems.
  • Develop models for above-campus infrastructure, with shared investment and governance.  For instance, instead of allowing commercial providers to mine and share our data, develop Open Source tools and retain our data and mine it ourselves.
  • Identify a way to coordinate selection decisions with those of other institutions.
  • Develop shared goals and criteria to influence vendors to improve tools:  Aggregate information about researcher workflow preferences and what the potential is for their tools interoperating with other systems.  Prioritize vendor metadata interoperability requirements for selected tools to allow machine-readable acquisition.
  • Assess the reliability of external repositories.
  • Develop best practices for agreement language, such as preservation commitments with repositories and exit plans with vendors.

The four workshops gave us a chance to not just socialize the framework, but to really hear about the concerns of libraries and other stakeholders, learn what is being done, and begin to think about what lies ahead.  In the near future, we’ll be synthesizing all this and considering next steps.