Business Case Planning for Research Support Services


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The library community has redescribed its roles in the information lifecycle by building on the extensive knowledge base we have developed through buying published research and organizing and archiving information. With a growing sense of urgency, libraries have defined publishing and archiving services as critical to 21st century research institutions, but dysfunctional in the current environment. Our research and IT colleagues trust Libraries to address these needs that cannot be readily met through existing publication channels or through the existing research infrastructure. But how do libraries effectively operate these services when both short- and long-term costs are not well understood?

This presentation provides a research update on Business Cases for New Service Development in Research Libraries, a CLIR/DLF-funded research project to recommend methods for effective service planning in research libraries, adapting processes from the business as well as the not-for-profit sectors. Our research will examine how business planning methods can be applied in our not-for-profit contexts, and we will recommend some best practices that may be adopted. We will also research and write up to six case studies based on the development of campus-based publishing programs and research data management services. Our presentation at DLF will recap the goals of this project, present our planning model and outline our plans for case studies. We wish to solicit feedback on how our project can best meet the community’s needs.

This presentation was made by Mike Furlough & Elizabeth Kirk on November 1, 2011 at the DLF Forum in Baltimore, MD. The slides served as the basis for a similar presentation by Carol Hunter & Judy Luther on November 4, 2011 at the Charleston Conference in South Carolina.

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  • The marks and logos on the screen here represent just SOME of the ways we have responded to those in Libraries and Higher Ed. They are better known because they have been successful in various ways. And they have inspired a host of us to adopt their tools o methods to provide similar services on our campuses.Institutional repositories Digital scholarship support services Library or campus-based publishing servicesExploration of e-research support & data-curation servicesInitiation of large-scale & multi-institutional collaborations to preserve digital data & establish shared print repositories. There are many others, including re-thinking the definitions of “library collections” as well as the nature and purpose of library spaces.All of these responses have taken place against the backdrop of a soaring economic market that then tanked spectacularly.
  • Perhaps the Broader Context for our work is most starkly embodied by this quote from John that he may have tossed off for laughs but which rings uncomfortably true. Our community has put renewed emphasis on assessment and on demonstrating our value to the University.  (ACRL REPORT)  If we are going to DEMONSTRATE VALUE, how do we plan to do so? How do we invest in new services that respond to changes in how research is conducted, how can we plan for them adequately so that they will thrive.  In the ITHAKA report on the right, there's an important quote:  Much attention is given to making material available and very little attention is given to doing the work to make sure that people will become aware of it, that they can find it, andif they do find it that they will actually use it. We find that few digital resource projects have devoted substantial financial or intellectual resources to understanding user needs, preferences and behaviors.[TRANSITION TO NEXT SLIDE]
  • This quote from Ithaka is based on a report about “online academic resources,” and seems to focus primarily on researcher-led projects. But, this rings true for many of us in libraries too.Libraries good at identifying space to innovate and try things out.  But taking the step from innovation and experimentation to long-term sustainability is not something most of us figured out. The old missions aren't going away and the budget isn't growing. Perception: libraries can't make hard decisions When in doubt, we must return to what is best for our users.  Our work is intended to help us clarify what that may be.
  • Business Case Planning for Research Support Services

    1. 1. Business Case Planning for Research Support Services A Progress Report to the DLF Forum Mike Furlough & Elizabeth Kirk, November 1, 2011
    2. 2. Responsibility and Credits Ted Fons, OCLC Mike Furlough, Penn State Elizabeth Kirk, Dartmouth College Carol Hunter, University of North Carolina Judy Luther, Informed Strategies Michele Reid, North Dakota State University CLIR/DLF sponsors this work MediaCommons will host results of our work Beverly Lynch, Director, Senior Fellows Program, UCLA introduced us
    3. 3. Context for the Project
    4. 4. Our goal is to provide the Library/Higher Educationcommunity with processes, tools, best practices, andexamples to enable successful planning for libraryservices to support new scholarly communicationspractices.
    5. 5. Transformation: Drivers Consumer technology and user expectations The marketplace for academic publishing The open access/copyleft movement The emergence of digital scholarship in humanities & social sciences The emergence of computationally-driven data- intensive science Mass digitization …
    6. 6. If you can’t persuade me that the work you’re doing is going to make us more famous, we’renot going to be interested in investing in you…. Is that wise and profound and good? No. It’sstupid. But that’s the way it is…. --John V. Lombardi, President of Louisiana State University at the October 2011 ARLMeeting.
    7. 7. Recommendations:Business Planning for Emerging Services
    8. 8. Recommendations for Success We need a toolkit for making informed decisions about creating new services Diagnose organizational and institutional readiness Develop a business case “A culture of discipline is not a principle of business; it is a principle of greatness.” (Jim Collins on non- profits)
    9. 9. Organizational readiness In your DNA, or a radical shift? Are the climate and capacity ready for very different kinds of services? Four steps:  Understand if you are mission-ready  Know your risk tolerance  Determine outcomes that promote impact and sustainability  Make sure that you can put resources in the right places
    10. 10. Mission and risk Do proposed new services “fit”? Create a balance between allowing change and maintaining identity Are the library and the institution comfortable with new service development? Is risk-taking rewarded or is maintaining the status quo essential? Is there an understanding of the importance of revenue and a willingness to keep services financially feasible?
    11. 11. Outcomes and resource allocation Social enterprises balance social and economic values Outcomes must promote high mission impact and high viability Is the moment right? Environmental scan: are all of the essential pieces in place?
    12. 12. Developing a business case What happens if… ? Multiple steps  Create a basic outcome statement  Identify options and analyze them  Pinpoint and test  Write your implementation plan
    13. 13. Outcomes and options Define what a service will accomplish Tie desired outcomes to library and institutional strategic goals Brainstorm every possible option for action, then narrow the list Gather data and analyze the options  Benefits, viability, costs  Should you really do this alone, or as part of a distributed effort?  Timeframes Talk to key stakeholders early and often (marketing)
    14. 14. Pinpoint, test, implement Find the sweet spot Identify and plan for risk Be realistic: avoid best-case scenarios Rewrite the outcome Write an implementation plan Action items and timelines Value proposition and marketing
    15. 15. Further considerations: Test. Build. Assess.Rebuild. To pilot or not to pilot? Project management skills required Creativity and freedom to fail Execution and assessment And more assessment The cycle of change and assessment
    16. 16. Go/No Go 3. Launch Decision 2 2.2 Pilot 4. Periodic 2.1 Business Reassessmen Case t Development Go/No Decision Go 3 Decision 1 5.1 Service 5.2 1. Modification ExitOrganizational Assessment Time Business Planning Lifecycle
    17. 17. Case studies and timeline
    18. 18. Why Case Studies Explore planning processes employed by libraries "on the ground" Can we identify best practices? Refine and extend initial work Publish examples from practitioners to provide models
    19. 19. Recruiting 6 Participants The commitment:  Initial questionnaire on baseline data  1.5 day on-site interviews about planning & managing the services  Follow ups & write ups  Respond by November 15 This is NOT A CONSULTING SERVICE
    20. 20. Timeline By end of 2011:  Publish our initial report via Media Commons for public comment  Identify pool of case study sites First half of 2012:  Conduct case study research September 2012:  Publish final results
    21. 21. Questions Email address of today’s speakers  Mike Furlough:  Elizabeth Kirk: Suggest a case study subject