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December 17, 2020

What is the Academic Research Enterprise?

At this week’s CNI meeting, we presented findings from several recent studies we conducted about the academic research enterprise (video is available here). Taking an inclusive approach, we offered a broad working definition of the research enterprise: “the systems, services, policy, and staffing for the work of the university to generate knowledge.” In the session, CNI’s Clifford Lynch asked us to probe a little more deeply how this term can be scoped. Here,…
November 5, 2020

In the Eye of the Beholder

What’s a Digital Preservation System Anyway?

Today in celebration of the World Digital Preservation Day (WDPD), we would like to update you on a Ithaka S+R research initiative on the preservation front. Held on the first Thursday of every November, WDPD aims to promote greater awareness of the critical role preservation plays in providing enduring access to knowledge. Times like this further underscore the importance of preservation, given the imperative to archive diverse sources of information about the pandemic–not…
October 21, 2020

Structural Models and Emerging Priorities in Academic Health Sciences Libraries

New Report

How does the organizational structure of an academic health sciences library (AHSL) impact its provision of services? While once AHSLs were established as separate entities, many are now consolidated under a larger university library. Their roles are expanding, particularly in the areas of research support, data management, bioinformatics, systematic reviews, assessment of research impact, and community outreach. In order to explore the impact and consequences of reporting structures, we held interviews with individuals from…
August 19, 2020

Exploring the Effectiveness and Durability of Digital Preservation and Curation Services

Announcing a New Research Project Funded by IMLS 

With generous funding from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS), we are pleased to initiate an 18-month research project to examine and assess how digital preservation and curation systems (DPCS) are developed, deployed, and sustained. Because our cultural, historic, and scientific heritage is increasingly being produced and shared in digital forms, libraries, archives, and museums are increasingly dependent on digital platforms to support the curation, discovery, and long-term management of digital…
July 21, 2020

Senior Research Officers

Evolving Portfolios and Strategic Priorities

A university’s senior research officer (SRO), who may have the title of vice president, vice provost, or vice chancellor for research, can have a variety of responsibilities, including overseeing institutional research safety and compliance, purchasing advanced research equipment, grant seeking and external funding administration, research ethics and integrity, strategic research directions, and procuring research workflow tools. The scope of this role is  broadening as SROs participate in federal and state research-related policy making and develop new partnerships with…
June 15, 2020

Organizational Trends in Academic Health Science Libraries

Over the past 20 years, the organization of academic health sciences libraries (AHSL) has changed markedly. While once medical libraries—as well as libraries supporting schools of nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and public health—were separate entities, many are now consolidated under a larger university library. Have these consolidations and mergers improved the accessibility of health sciences information and other AHSL services? Have they impacted cost or service quality? What new…
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 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…
April 6, 2020

Documenting the COVID-19 Pandemic

Archiving the Present for Future Research

As we go through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we are inundated by articles, images, video, statistics, and graphs through our handhelds and desktops coming from a variety of channels–including social media, news outlets, journals, and preprints. The sources of information expand from governmental agencies to research institutions, from policy makers to advocacy groups. And now archivists and others are asking how we can archive these rich and diverse sources of information–not only for future generations but also for…
March 4, 2020

Project Announcement: Cancelling the Big Deal

As Big Deal spending has come to occupy a greater and greater share of materials budgets, libraries are increasingly questioning the status quo of their Big Deal subscriptions. Recent years have seen a number of prominent cancellations, precipitated by questions about the value of the subscription materials. In 2020 we expect this trend to continue with libraries becoming increasingly assertive in their negotiating stance with publishers. This may yield some interesting compromise agreements,…
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January 30, 2020

Preprints in Biology and Medicine

ASAPbio Workshop and Roadmap

Preprint services have been getting a lot of attention recently. Last year saw a comprehensive review of the landscape by the Knowledge Exchange, two discussions at the Charleston Conference (why preprints, Hyde Park Debate), and a two-day preprints event organized by NISO. On January 20-21, the new decade opened with a preprints roadmap workshop…
October 21, 2019

Beyond Innovation: Emerging Meta-Frameworks for Maintaining an Open Scholarly Infrastructure

There are numerous free and community-based academic and cultural resources that are designed and built on open source or open access principles. Undertaken by not-for-profit mission-driven organizations, such services and technologies aim to introduce innovation to various stages of scholarly communication from designing research projects to publishing results.  Today, amid growing concerns about their long-term durability and agility, there is renewed interest in sustainability, business models, revenue, and maintenance. In our previous post, we looked back at some…
October 1, 2019

Sustaining the Open Sector: A Brief Look Back

During the last two decades, we’ve seen the emergence of several open source (OS) and open access (OA) initiatives designed to support the academic and cultural community’s needs for more effective, versatile, and cost-efficient tools. Since 2006, Ithaka S+R has explored the sustainability requirements of these resources, investigating both the factors that lead to success and the reasons behind setbacks and failures. Today, amid the failure of several cross-institutional “open” initiatives and the broader search for funding to…
June 6, 2019

Legacy Missions in Times of Change

New Issue Brief on Library Collections

Regardless of the rapidly changing information and technology landscape, collections continue to be at the heart of academic libraries, signifying their role in providing access to our cultural heritage. But in an increasingly networked, distributed, licensed environment, how do we define the library collection? What do collections imply? What is involved in building a collection?  The purpose of the brief…
May 8, 2019

The Usability of Research Data: If We Curate, Will They Reuse It?

During the last seven years, Ithaka S+R has conducted in-depth qualitative analyses of the research practices of academics in several fields. While the studies have highlighted disciplinary differences in research data sharing and reuse decisions in various academic communities, it is striking to observe that most of the scholars described similar requirements and roadblocks when it comes to reusing data. For instance, in their recent report on the changing research…
May 7, 2019

CNI Spring Meeting Presentation on Scholars as Collectors

Video Recording Now Available

At CNI’s Spring Meeting in April, we had the pleasure of presenting some of the highlights from the recent Ithaka S+R brief on scholars as collectors and discuss the implications, benefits, trade-offs, and other key questions that must be taken into account when considering different models for supporting scholarly collecting. It was one of the talks selected for recording and is now available on CNI’s…
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February 21, 2019

Reflections on PASIG

Advancing Digital Preservation Through Community Cultivation

From February 12-14, I attended the PASIG Conference where 150 individuals from 12 countries gathered to share experiences and insights on organizational, technical, social, business, and political aspects of digital preservation and archiving. Digital preservation involves the management and endurance of digital objects to ensure the authenticity, accessibility, and usability of content over time in the face of technological and organizational changes. Since 2007, the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (…
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January 9, 2019

CNI Fall Meeting Presentation on the State of Digital Preservation

Video Recording Now Available

At CNI’s Fall Meeting in December, we had the pleasure of presenting some of the highlights from the recent Ithaka S+R brief on the state of digital preservation. It was one of the talks selected for recording and is now available on CNI’s YouTube and Vimeo channels. At CNI, we shared some of what we have learned to gather feedback and additional perspectives…
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November 28, 2018

New Issue Brief on Scholars as Collectors

Today we publish an Ithaka S+R issue brief that is aimed at reframing how academic research support is conceptualized to better address scholars’ needs. Research support services in university settings are currently focused on aiding scholars as they work on specific research tasks or content, which is largely diffuse and often insufficiently funded. We contend that research support services would be more effective if designed to holistically reflect how scholars work. Looking to scholarly practices in a…
October 29, 2018

Perspectives on the Changing Ecology of Digital Preservation

New Issue Brief

A significant portion of our educational, cultural, and communication activities take place online, as the web has become the primary hub for information, inspiration, entertainment, and social interactions. But digital information is both pervasive and ephemeral at the same time–by some estimates the average lifespan of a website is between 44 and 100 days–and in dire need of preservation. The challenge is not only preserving the bits of digital objects but also being able to transition over time…