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Research Report
August 30, 2021

Public College and University Consolidations and the Implications for Equity

Across American higher education, institutional consolidations are on the rise. In particular, multiple state systems have proposed or completed mergers of regional universities and/or community colleges with the stated goal of increasing efficiency. The conditions prompting these consolidations have been mounting for years—among them a long-term downward trend in state support for higher education and demographic shifts away from traditional-aged college students, especially in rural areas where numerous public institutions are located. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting recession…
Case Study
August 30, 2021

Consolidating the University of Wisconsin Colleges

The Reorganization of the University of Wisconsin System

In 2017 to 2018, the University of Wisconsin (UW) System undertook a major consolidation, removing its two-year college campuses from a standalone sub-system known as the UW Colleges and merging them with nearby four-year UW institutions. The system-level motivation for doing so, in a state undergoing a demographic shift with an aging population, was ultimately budgetary, even if specific savings were not promised. The receiving universities followed several different models for their mergers, some of which appear to have been…
Issue Brief
February 25, 2021

Academic Research Budgets

A Look Ahead with Special Emphasis on Research Enablement and Support

The United States university sector’s research enterprise is an important national asset. It is highly competitive and highly innovative in ordinary times, and during the past year plagued by coronavirus it pivoted quickly to conduct urgently needed research on a new threat. Beyond its national and international significance, the research enterprise is also an enormous asset—intellectually and financially—for each of the individual universities with a major stake in it. At the high level, the pandemic may seem not to have…
Research Report
December 1, 2020

The Senior Research Officer

Experience, Role, Organizational Structure, Strategic Directions, and Challenges

The research enterprise continues to grow more complex, competitive, interdisciplinary, and interinstitutional. Although academic research often is conducted in a distributed and grassroots manner, the senior research officer (SRO) plays an increasingly central and unifying role in stewarding research activities and shaping institutional policies and strategies. The SRO—who often holds the title of vice president, vice provost, or vice chancellor for research—typically holds responsibilities including overseeing external funding, institutional research safety and compliance, core research facilities, and research ethics and…
Issue Brief
October 28, 2020

Scholarly Societies in the Age of COVID

As membership organizations with revenues typically derived from a combination of publications, meetings, and dues, scholarly societies have faced distinctive challenges, as well as opportunities, in navigating the pandemic. To explore these, we spoke with chief executives and chief publishing officers at 12 large and small societies, some focused on the humanities and social sciences, others on the STEM fields. We were interested in how the various sources of activity and value for scholarly societies were being impacted…
Issue Brief
October 27, 2020

Global Science and the China Split

The practice of science has always been a fundamentally international activity. Even during periods of substantial geopolitical splits—such as the Cold War—science has broadly continued its international communication and even collaboration. In the post-Cold War period, science has globalized to a substantial degree. However, the looming geopolitical split between China and many of the liberal and democratic nations including Australia, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as European Union members, raises questions about…
Research Report
October 26, 2020

The Impacts of COVID-19 on the Research Enterprise

A Landscape Review

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated disruptions have had a major impact on the US academic research enterprise. This report provides a landscape review of what is known about these impacts, from March through mid-October 2020, with an aim of identifying gaps that should be addressed. Our focus is on externally funded research, and therefore we emphasize STEM fields almost exclusively. As a result, we also focus on the largest research universities, which conduct an outsized share of this research and…
Issue Brief
January 23, 2020

It’s Not What Libraries Hold; It’s Who Libraries Serve

Seeking a User-Centered Future for Academic Libraries

In 2018, OhioLINK engaged its membership to envision a constellation of platforms and applications that would take the next step beyond “next-generation” commercial integrated library systems (ILS). This paper is the result of that process. The business of higher education, as it relates to libraries, is amid continued and drastic change. Managing collections is now but one aspect of library management. Libraries support teaching, affordable learning, and innovative research. They are managing services and products, online and off, amid expanding…
Issue Brief
January 22, 2020

Copyright Education in Libraries, Archives, and Museums: A 21st Century Approach

A Summary Report of Roundtable Discussions at Columbia University

On July 11-12th, 2019, with the generous financial support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and together with project partners Ithaka S+R and LYRASIS, Copyright Advisory Services at Columbia University Libraries held roundtable discussions as a second phase of research to determine how to structure and implement a professional development copyright education initiative for cultural heritage professionals working in libraries, archives, and museums. In particular, the purpose of these discussions was to examine whether there might be a way to…
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Issue Brief
November 6, 2019

What Do Our Users Need?

An Evidence-Based Approach for Designing New Services

In the face of evolving user needs, many academic libraries are reimagining the services they offer. As instruction moves online, how can libraries best provide support for teaching and learning? As research becomes more reliant on data, computation, and collaboration, where can libraries best add value? As colleges welcome more diverse student populations and greater contingent faculty labor to campus, what is the library’s role? As budgets shrink, how should a library prioritize which resources and services to provide?…
Research Report
July 10, 2019

Organizing the Work of the Art Museum

The career trajectory of art museum directors typically gives them deep exposure to, at most, a handful of institutional settings. While museum directors connect through leadership meetings such as those we host at the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and thereby learn from one another, few have the opportunity to assemble a system-wide perspective on how changes in strategy might, or perhaps should, affect their institutional leadership. Given the strategic transformations that many art museums are undertaking or considering,…
Issue Brief
March 6, 2019

Restructuring Library Collaboration

Strategy, Membership, Governance

Academic libraries typically serve individual higher education institutions, yet their objectives require that they achieve greater negotiating power, more efficient distribution of collections, and stronger systems and services than even the largest academic library can provide itself. As a result, academic libraries have sought for more than a century to generate cross-institutional scale. In this paper, I examine efforts to generate that scale, including consortia and other membership organizations, which collectively I term “collaborative vehicles.” Yet collaboration is not good…
Research Report
January 29, 2019

Library Acquisition Patterns

The Library Acquisition Patterns (LAP) project was undertaken with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with the aim of examining trends in US academic libraries’ book purchasing. The findings of this report consist of two distinct areas: 1) an analysis of library book acquisitions within the specified sample for fiscal year 2017 at 124 US academic institutions, and 2) a trend line analysis of print and e-books acquired within the specified sample, the university press presence in these…
Research Report
January 28, 2019

Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey 2018

In order to gauge the extent to which progress has been made since 2015 towards increasing staff diversity in art museums, in 2018 we undertook a second iteration of the demographic survey. At a high level, the study has found some meaningful progress in the representation of people of color in a number of different museum functions, including the curatorial. We also found an increase in the number of women in museum leadership positions from 2015 to 2018. Nevertheless, the…
Research Report
September 20, 2018

Interrogating Institutional Practices in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Lessons and Recommendations from Case Studies in Eight Art Museums

In 2015, a demographic survey of the staff of North American art museums conducted by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and Ithaka S+R found that the staff composition of museums in the United States is not remotely representative of the country’s population....In 2015, a demographic survey of the staff of North American art museums conducted by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), American Alliance of…
Research Report
July 19, 2018

Library Acquisition Patterns: Preliminary Findings

Several years ago, we set out to better understand how both library acquisition practices and the distribution patterns of publishers and vendors were evolving over time.[1] Within the academic publishing community, there is a sense that academic libraries are acquiring fewer and fewer books and that university presses are struggling amid declining sales. The latter may certainly be true—a recent UK study found that between 2005 and 2014, retail sales of academic books dropped by 13 percent…
Case Study
January 23, 2018

An Engine for Diversity

Studio Museum in Harlem

The Studio Museum in Harlem is a contemporary, culturally specific, artist-centric museum located in New York City that has played a singular role in defining and promoting the art of African Americans and the African diaspora. The museum has contributed substantially in bringing this art into the canon and equally in providing opportunities for African Americans to gain access to the cultural sector, especially for artists and curators. Through its collections, program, and employees, the Studio Museum’s impact has come…
Case Study
January 23, 2018

“I Recommend Dancing”

Brooklyn Museum’s History of Inclusion and Moment of Transition

Brooklyn Museum Façade Photo by Brittney Najar The Brooklyn Museum has pursued a number of unconventional directions to address its community’s current and emerging needs. It practices a contemporary approach to its encyclopedic collection, allowing intersectional feminist theory and critical race theory, for instance, to inform and problematize ancient works. It has opted for accessibility rather than grandeur in its facade. Many Brooklyn residents are introduced to it through its crowded Saturday night parties, rather than its substantial collections of…
Issue Brief
January 4, 2018

Big Deal: Should Universities Outsource More Core Research Infrastructure?

Research universities have developed in symbiosis with a robust set of commercial providers that serve their needs. From food service providers to run dining halls to private equity firms to manage parts of the endowment, outsourcing has allowed universities to remain more focused on their core educational and research functions. But universities have also at times elected to outsource academic infrastructure. Commercial firms have developed a major role in several significant university functions, including scientific publishing, library management systems, and…
Research Report
August 30, 2017

Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity: Members of the Association of Research Libraries

Employee Demographics and Director Perspectives

The library community considers diversity to be a core value.[1] But, the academic library sector has struggled with addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion. One key shortcoming has been in its efforts to ensure representative numbers of library employees of color.[2] In recent years, many academic librarians and observers of academic libraries have worked toward understanding this issue and the shortcomings of efforts to diversify, focusing on staffing, library education, and advocacy for diversity and social justice…