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How publishers and librarians can support early career researchers in a changing publishing landscape

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Charlotte Mathieson University of Surrey

Early career researchers (ECRs) are keen to publish their work for many reasons, from becoming established in the field to improving employability in a competitive job market. At the same time, they face many and changing challenges, such as understanding the different routes into publication; having the time and resources to research and write; and navigating wider contexts such as the Research Excellence Framework and Open Access requirements. Publishers and librarians are well-placed to support ECRs, and in turn can benefit from better understanding the ECR experience of the publishing landscape, and in this talk I will suggest strategies for successful partnership.

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How publishers and librarians can support early career researchers in a changing publishing landscape

  1. 1. Supportingearly career researchers in a changing publishing landscape Dr Charlotte Mathieson University of Surrey c.mathieson@surrey.ac.uk @cemathieson
  2. 2. OVERVIEW  The broader context:  Early career researcher experiences  Challenges:  Identifying and partnering to overcome  Examples of best practice:  Successful strategies for the future
  3. 3. 1.THE BROADERCONTEXT Early career researcher experiences
  4. 4. What is an early careerresearcher?  Funding council definitions = up to 8 years (e.g. AHRC, ESRC)  Postdoctoral fellowships = 3-5 years (e.g. Leverhulme, British Academy)  REF 2021= output reduction from overall pool determined by meets the core eligibility criteria for category A staff (“significant responsibility for research”) and started careers as independent researchers – i.e. undertaking self- directed research rather than e.g. research assistant – on or after 1st of August 2016.
  5. 5. What is a typical ECR path? My background  2007-10: PhD, University of Warwick (viva 2011)  Jan 2011 – Oct 2012: hourly-paid teaching, marking, invigilation, academic writing and 1-1 tuition, A-level tuition, short term research fellowship, research assistant on project bid, work on University projects supporting ECRs, freelance proofreading, etc etc…  Oct 2012 – Sept 2013: 0.6 FTE project fellow at Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick; plus hourly-paid teaching  Sept 2013 – Sept 2015: 2 years further in post at 100% FTE  Sept 2015 – July 2016: 10-month teaching fellowship at Newcastle University  August 2016 – present: Lecturer in English Literature at University of Surrey, permanent R&T position
  6. 6. Thechallenges of ECRcareerpaths Key points  A highly competitive job market;  A period of precarity is common, and increasingly longer;  Multiple, short-term contracts across institutions are typical; posts are often teaching rather than research focused;  Competing demands of long-term goals (publishing, funding) vs short-term needs (staying employed);  Readjustment period into permanent post: becoming institutionalised; increased teaching and admin responsibilities; capacity for long- term planning; opportunities for collaboration.
  7. 7. Motivations for ECRs to publish What are the priorities?  Employability: obtaining and sustaining;  Becoming known and established in the field;  Creating and becoming part of networks;  Making research visible.
  8. 8. 2.Challenges of ECRpublishing Identifying and partnering to support ECRs
  9. 9. Challenge1: publishing strategy What/when/where to publish ECRs are balancing decisions that all researchers face around:  quality (peer-reviewed, high impact/prestigious publisher)  speed of publication (publisher turnaround)  quantity (overall publication profile)  the REF…
  10. 10. Challenge 1: publishing strategy continued… Key changes from REF 2014 for ECRs:  Decoupling: output reduction applies at unit rather than individual level;  Output requirements/adjustments therefore less clear at individual level;  Portability: in place this time but…proposed changes for next cycle will have big impact on ECR publishing strategy. What does REF 2021 mean for ECRs?
  11. 11. Challenge1: publishing strategy continued… REF complicating factors…  Employability and REF integrally bound up;  But: not a straightforward mapping of REF requirements onto employability expectations:  Publishing expectations vary across disciplines  Arts & Humanities: monograph + 1-2 articles  Sciences & Social Sciences: articles in high-impact journals  ECR REF reduction vs. competitive job market;  Different institutional REF strategies;  ECRs may receive conflicting/confusing advice and lack time and resources to fully understand.
  12. 12. Challenge1: publishing strategies continued… So what do ECRs need?  Clear and accessible/understandable information relevant to career stage, and not institution specific;  Information about Open Access with a focus on how-to;  Advice that looks at how to map the REF against other publishing factors (quality, quantity, timing);  Information about the timescales and practices of different publishers;  Advice from “those in the know” as well as peer experiences of the process.
  13. 13. Challenge1: publishing strategies continued… Could you…  Provide resources around the REF and open access, e.g.: online resources, running a workshop, hosting a virtual Q&A?  Offer one-to-one support e.g. a publishing clinic or drop-in sessions?  Provide resources for ECRs on the publishing process at your publisher, or advice from book series/journal editors on getting published, or experiences of your authors on their first publication?
  14. 14. Challenge2: time and resources The challenge…  ECRs need publications for employability but lack the time and resources to get them written…  Time: fixed-term posts often teaching heavy with little time for research; applying for jobs is time consuming;  Resources: access to library resources can be difficult for non-affiliated ECRs/those moving frequently;  Costs for publication e.g. images can be prohibitive if at the researcher’s own cost.
  15. 15. Challenge 2: time and resources continued… Could you…  Provide a small research grant for work towards specific publication output e.g. article for your journal?  Help ECRs identify sources of funding for research and writing?  Help with access to resources e.g. library affiliation?  Provide small grants to cover publication fees?  Use virtual platforms to support ECRs in carving out research time e.g. run a weekly “just write” session or a troubleshooting online chat?
  16. 16. Challenge 3: getting work visible The challenge…  ECRs have the skills to research and write but don’t necessarily know how to make their work visible;  Visibility is important for increasing publication impact for all researchers, and especially so for ECRs looking to increase employability;  ECRs can benefit from guidance and training in maximising the reach and impact of their publications.
  17. 17. Challenge3: getting work visible continued… Could you…  Provide resources around maximising publication visibility e.g. how to increase title/keyword impact, using social media channels effectively, and similar strategies, perhaps through a workshop or online resources?  Direct ECRs who publish with you towards resources or tips for publication visibility?  Create networking opportunities for ECRs and established colleagues e.g. bringing together authors around a similar theme such as a book series, or providing an online forum sharing best practice ideas?
  18. 18. 3. Examples of bestpractice
  19. 19. Wiley Author Services https://authorservices.wiley.com/author-resources/index.html
  20. 20. Wiley Author Services: webinar https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/11201/221041
  21. 21. Palgrave Macmillan ECR hub https://www.palgrave.com/gp/why-publish/early-career-researcher-hub
  22. 22. Royal Historical Society http://royalhistsoc.org/early-career-historians/
  23. 23. Thank you & questions Dr Charlotte Mathieson c.mathieson@surrey.ac.uk @cemathieson

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