New Scholarly Communication Librarian
As of December 1, I became the new Scholarly Communication Librarian at Boston College. When I announce this to colleagues and faculty, a perplexed look often crosses their faces. I suspect they are thinking:
What is that? What will she be doing? Why do we need one?
My new position will involve working with faculty, administration and students across the university to facilitate, harvest and showcase the intellectual output of Boston College.
The Libraries’ new strategic plan articulates this goal:
The Libraries create and maintain a unified and distinguished digital library of institutional assets to enhance the reputation of the University and to support users’ research and scholarship.
Key strategies to reach the goal include converting unique holdings in special collections to digital formats; collecting, preserving and making as openly accessible as possible the publications and research data of faculty and research centers; providing campus leadership and expertise in e-publishing initiatives; and facilitating state-of-the-art digital scholarship and innovation by Boston College faculty and students.
Some of this work has already begun. The Libraries manage a research repository for digital work, called eScholarship@Boston College. Most Boston College theses and dissertations are deposited there and made discoverable and accessible. Some faculty deposit articles or books they have authored. The Libraries host five open-access, peer-reviewed journals; the newest is Catholic Education: a journal of inquiry and practice. Several new high-profile digitized collections have been made available, including the striking Bobbie Hanvey photographic archives. And we are currently working on our first project to archive and make accessible faculty research data with all of the associated publications.
I plan to begin my efforts by teaming up with the subject liaison librarians who work closely with the faculty in the academic departments. We will do a comprehensive scan to determine community needs for a repository to house scholarship and for digital display and broad dissemination. We want to discover the unmet needs for deposit, preservation and access, and then create a world-class repository to meet those needs. We will be approaching faculty with such questions as:
- Would your department or program like to publish an open access journal?
- Where are you publishing now?
- Are you an editor of a scholarly journal? What are the journal’s policies on access to articles?
- Do you have research data on your hard drive that should be preserved?
- Do you want to make your scholarship available to the world without economic barriers?
Once we have a firm sense of the needs of the community, we will be able to create a program with infrastructure and allied services that make stewardship of university output and resources a priority. Our goal will be to provide services that make this process seamless for faculty and gain the greatest possible impact for university scholarship.
As the Scholarly Communication Librarian I will also serve as an initial point person for intellectual property issues that commonly arise in digitization projects, research repositories and day-to-day scholarly work. I have worked on copyright issues in libraries for several years and have a law degree from Boston University. My role will be to spot the questions that can be easily resolved and to refer others to University Counsel. Our Scholarly Communication Committee has recently created a research guide on Copyright and Scholarship to provide basic resources on copyright, author rights and open access.
I hope to help Boston College participate in the regional and national academic conversations on open access to scholarship. This is an important and lively debate that will affect future access to publications and the creation of new knowledge. Many universities have new open access policies and some grant-funders have open access requirements, with more in the proposal stage. As Enid Karr states in her article in this newsletter, the Boston College Libraries have long supported open access initiatives in the sciences. My job will be to facilitate conversations about the benefits of open access for authors and researchers on the Boston College campus.
If you have questions about eScholarship, a place to deposit your work, an intellectual property issue or open access, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 617 552-4481. I look forward to meeting you on January 20.
Scholarly Communication Librarian