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June 1, 2020

Data Communities in the Health Sciences

A Webinar with the Long Island Library Resources Council

Data sharing in the health sciences has never seemed more urgent. The National Institutes of Health, the US’s major health science research funder, has been experimenting with ways to promote data sharing. Additionally, the race to combat COVID-19 has brought the urgency of making patient-level clinical data, as well as other types of health-related data, easily accessible to researchers while still maintaining individual privacy. Against this backdrop, Danielle Cooper and I had the…
May 28, 2020

Project Launch: Canceling the Big Deal

Earlier this spring we announced that we were going to begin a new collaborative project on the impact of Big Deal cancellations on users, including their strategies for accessing content, and their perceptions of the library’s role in providing access. While at the time Ithaka S+R was only just beginning to anticipate the conditions universities and their libraries are facing now, it is already clear that the research is more important than ever. Ithaka S+R…
May 27, 2020

Speeding Up the Dissemination of Scholarly Information 

New Issue Brief on Preprints 

Preprints have been getting a lot of attention recently. Since the pandemic, dozens of articles have appeared in the scientific and popular press about both the role of preprints in accelerating scientific communications and the associated concerns, including in venues such as New York Times, Bloomberg, Economist, Mother Jones.  Ten years ago when I became the…
May 26, 2020

Measuring What Matters

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Academic Library Strategic Plans 

Equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility have become buzzwords across the higher education sector with leaders at many institutions asserting these as strategic priorities and key values. In our most recent national survey of US academic library directors, conducted in fall 2019, we included new coverage of these important topics. And, now, as we face an academic year that will likely be shaped by budget cuts and re-prioritization, we wonder about the degree to…
May 18, 2020

When Knowledge Breaks

As research, teaching, and learning in higher education drastically changed over the course of a few weeks earlier this term, effectively providing campus communities with relevant—yet continually changing—information has been critical. However, as we have documented in a recent multi-institution service planning initiative, students already were facing substantial challenges with navigating the college landscape prior to the pandemic. A few years ago, LaGuardia Community College developed an online platform to provide students with answers related to college services and…
May 14, 2020

Launching Two Projects on Supporting Data Work

Last summer we announced that we were going to begin two new collaborative projects on data, one focused on teaching, and one on research. While we couldn’t have anticipated then the conditions we are facing now, we believe the research is more important than ever. The first project will examine instructors’ support needs teaching with data in the social sciences, while the second project will study the support needs of researchers who work…
May 12, 2020

Leading the Library by Looking Beyond the Library

Library directors face a number of leadership dilemmas. Rising from the ranks, many feel the pull—or the need, given resource constraints—to work shoulder-to-shoulder with front-line employees as a “member of the team.” At the same time, many feel the need to engage with non-library constituencies across the campus and beyond in ways that take them out of the library. Which of these leadership models best positions the library for success? Last month, we released findings from our national survey…
May 8, 2020

Assessment Across Higher Ed

Join Us for a Webinar on May 13

Over the last few months, all units on campus have needed to plan in unprecedented ways for how best to support students, faculty, and other communities in response to the pandemic. As the activities related to teaching, learning, and research continue remotely during the spring term amid incredibly challenging circumstances, understanding the barriers students and faculty face has become more important than ever. Assessing and addressing community needs is also important for developing  appropriate supports for these communities…
May 7, 2020

How Will Postsecondary Education in Prisons Need to Change in Light of COVID-19?

Reflections from an interim report on technological equity for incarcerated college students

The rapid shift to online or distance instruction in the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most pressing and challenging issues for the field of higher education. This sudden, mass migration to online learning has crystallized issues of equity and access, as not all students, instructors, or even institutions are equipped to make this leap. Lacking regular access to computers, and with virtually no access to the internet, incarcerated college students, and the programs that serve them,…
May 6, 2020

Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility

African Memory Institutions and the Response to COVID-19 

The implications and consequences of the COVID-19  pandemic can vary greatly depending on demographic, political, social, cultural and economic factors.  Therefore the regional documentation initiatives–now being undertaken by cultural heritage institutions throughout the world–are essential to capturing local circumstances and experiences. This work is vital to help future generations understand the extent of the pandemic and its vast impact.  To this end, and in collaboration with several international preservation advocacy organizations, UNESCO recently made a public…
May 4, 2020

Constructive Disruption in Higher Education

Every college and university is having conversations about what to do for the fall term, if not the summer, and considerations and decisions are slowly being made public, with understandable caveats. Even as approaches emerge, one thing should be top of mind: institutions have the opportunity to reconsider the familiar modes of both teaching and learning, and in doing so, improve the efficacy of both. This is not…
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April 30, 2020

Leading a Library Today

How Library Directors Are Approaching the Challenges of the Current Moment

Over the past two weeks, Ithaka S+R has organized five roundtables for academic library leaders to help support their leadership during this time of disruption and uncertainty. In total, 40 library directors and two associate university librarians attended these sessions, representing every four-year institutional type. Participants introduced themselves by describing what has been working well for their libraries, the challenges they are facing, and their budgetary expectations. The discussion that followed–with minimum facilitation–then focused on the participants’ most…
April 29, 2020

Announcing the COVID-19 Faculty Survey

Available for Implementation May-June

Throughout the spring term, faculty across the country had to swiftly transition from in-person to remote instruction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the term comes to a close, what can institutions learn from their experiences as they begin planning for the fall? We have partnered over the past month with dozens of colleges and universities to provide much needed student survey data in real time to inform intervention, retention, and…
April 28, 2020

Five strategies for humanely conducting surveys in higher ed during a global crisis

The world has changed drastically in the last few months and so have the challenges that are facing our communities. Decision-making informed by evidence, gathered and acted upon quickly, is as important—if not more important—than it has ever been for higher education leaders. These are not normal circumstances for conducting research, let alone working or living. Under normal circumstances, my colleagues and I might start the development of a major survey by building an advisory board…
April 27, 2020

Online Learning During COVID-19

Digital and Educational Divides Have Similar Boundaries

In 2018, nearly 78 percent of households in America had a desktop or laptop computer and 74 percent had a broadband Internet subscription, a significant increase in digital access over the last two decades. Yet, millions of Americans are without access, and the distribution is wildly uneven across geographic regions (as well as demographic subgroups). A digital divide has existed in America for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed it and made it more relevant than ever…
April 24, 2020

The “Viral Pandemic Exclusion” Clause in Business Interruption Insurance Policies

After one month of quarantining to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the economic impacts of closing small businesses and cultural centers are becoming apparent. In the weeks and months to come, affected organizations will seek relief from numerous institutions for these sacrifices, which were necessary to comply with local orders, decrease the burden on the healthcare industry, and save lives in their communities. The form that relief will take remains to be seen. In cases where cultural organizations…
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April 23, 2020

Going Test-Optional with Equity in Mind 

Colleges and universities across the nation are revisiting nearly every aspect of their operations in order to best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of SAT and ACT administration changes and cancellations, at least 70 colleges and university systems have implemented test-optional policies, which either eliminate the requirement for prospective students to submit standardized test scores or…
April 22, 2020

Student Experiences During COVID-19

Actionable Insights Driving Institutional Support for Students

Update April 29, 2020: we are also offering a COVID-19 faculty survey for implementation in May and June. Last week, we began launching our COVID-19 student surveys as part of an initiative to address the pressing needs of the community as colleges and universities have pivoted to online instruction. The survey covers several key topics, including the effectiveness of course formats, the resources students are using, institutional communications, general wellness,…
April 21, 2020

Research Library Digitization Has Found Its Moment 

Long-term Investments Pay Off and Provide Lessons for the Future

Academic libraries have been on the leading edge of universities’ digital transformation for two decades. As a result, they were prepared for this moment of crisis. The broader lesson here, not just for libraries but for the entire higher education sector, is to continue investing “just in case” in enabling capacities—rather than, in this time of looming cutbacks, budgeting narrowly for today’s immediate needs only.  Recent weeks have seen the collapse of…
April 17, 2020

State Higher Education Policy is Essential to Economic Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis has massively disrupted our health, our society, and our economy. State policymakers are appropriately focused on addressing the most urgent needs of their residents. Soon, though, policy and budget decisions will arise that will affect the economic prosperity of states for years to come. Ensuring the vitality of public higher education must be core to those decisions. Public higher education is very much at risk. In the shorter-term, many public colleges and universities will face severe declines…