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The role of the university as publisher: Implications for skills development


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Presentation to 5th African Digital Scholarship and Curation Conference, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, 26 June 2013

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The role of the university as publisher: Implications for skills development

  1. 1. The role of the university as publisher: Implications for skills development African Digital Scholarship Conference University of KwaZulu-Natal, 26 June 2013 Michelle Willmers Project Manager: OpenUCT Initiative CC-BY-SA
  3. 3. Principle change in global scholarly communication practice: Change from predominance of journal article/book as sole artifact of knowledge production and scholarly communication > In which publishers were the purveyors of knowledge > and Impact Factor as sole measure of impact to Dynamic, object-driven knowledge exchange facilitated by internet, new tools and new approaches to scholarship > In which institutions play active role in knowledge dissemination > And there is a broad range of new tools, methodologies and metrics for generating data on downstream use and impact
  4. 4. This revolution in scholarly communication playing out against backdrop of intensified global competition in higher education, with students and publication units as central commodities. In this system, scholarly communication and content profiling has become a core strategic objective. > Reflected in new global ranking systems > The rise of the university as publisher
  5. 5. Scholarly communication is the creation, transformation, dissemination and preservation of knowledge related to teaching, research and scholarly endeavors.
  6. 6. New model of scholarly communication Conceptual frameworks Literature Reviews Bibliographies Proposals Data sets Conference papers Audio recordings Images Interview transcripts Books Reports Journal articles Technical papers Notes Presentations Lectures Interviews Image CC-BY-SA Laura Czerniewicz
  7. 7. Rise of the enhanced journal (Holl 2012) 1. Extensive linking of external resources • Reference linking (usually via CrossRef) • Object linking (subject-specific databases link back to journals) • Underlying data linking (data has own metadata and unique identifier – usually DOI from DataCite) 2. Multimedia content •Incorporation of animations, simulations, sound, video •Features particularly in digital humanities publishing 3. Ancillary tools •Third-party data visualisation tools allow users to interact with data (e.g. Astronomy: CDS Aladin Sky Map) 4. Post-publication material •Additional post-publication peer review (of all composite elements) •Errata
  8. 8. Rise of open science Replicable (transparency in method) Reusable (results free for re-use and appropriation) Replayable (tools available for appropriation) Immediacy (more speedily available) Granular in approach
  9. 9. These new scholarly communication models operate on principle of knowledge generation and exchange taking place through the linking and organisation of semantic building blocks > Components of articles can be accessed and used independently of the whole > Figures, tables, data and other composite elements carry own identifiers, which means they can be linked and searched independently Move towards more granulated, object-oriented communication and sharing structure > Institutions have a role to play in facilitating academics’ engagement in this space (in collaboration with publishers and third-party service providers)
  10. 10. In this semantically driven, object oriented scholarly communication paradigm, metadata is the passport to participation. In order for content to be findable and correctly contextualised, it needs to be curated. This is the job of both the academic and the institution. We want to store things and put them somewhere safe so that they are easy to find and when people come across them they know what they can do with them. That’s curation. Reviewing, curating and sharing. That’s publishing.
  11. 11. What needs to be in place in order for academics to be able to participate in these new scholarly communication frameworks? 1. Objects need to be curated 2. Objects need to be open and licensed (to people and machines) 3. Institutional support structures need to be in place > To support the curation of knowledge objects is to support the scholarly communication process
  12. 12. Foundational principles 1. Openness is a principle mechanism for optimal participation and functionality 2. Academics need institutional support to engage in new kinds of scholarly communication activity
  13. 13. So: Where do we invest / position this support?
  15. 15. 1. Develop strategic research management “The field visits that were conducted as part of our country visits confirmed that most universities, including the most research active, do not have adequate research management infrastructures in place. Most universities in the region do not have well developed and well functioning research directorates.” (Mouton et al. 2010) > Policy guiding these new scholarly communication endeavors needs to be embedded in and linked to institutional research policy framework
  16. 16. 2. Acknowledge and support skills development of institutional support structures and intermediaries
  17. 17. Scholarly Communication Stakeholders (Fairy & Owen 2013) • Central IT – Storage – Computing resources – Networking – Programming / development – Database – Security • Faculty Deans – Budget input / allocation – Researcher buy-in – Reportage / R&I integration • Legal counsel – Guidance on IP, ethical and privacy considerations • Library / IR – Classification and ingestion • Computing services – Links to storage options and consortia – Provide information on cost to institution • Other – Projects – Sponsored programmes – Institutional support structures
  18. 18. Extract from summary overview:
  19. 19. Source: University of Oxford DataPool Project
  20. 20. 2. Insert Library in the research process
  21. 21. • Consult and share best practice guidelines • Promote the use of data citation with DOIs • Introduce academics to new tools and platforms • Consult early in the research process at grant and proposal stage • Develop new posts that reflect the changing research environment (e.g. Scholarly Communication Officers) • Extend librarianship beyond service provision role (promote conference attendance and scholarly engagement) Librarians will need to demonstrate new services and value-add to academics
  22. 22. 4. Explore regional collaboration and shared e-infrastructure Skills > capacity > scalability
  23. 23. Peer-reviewed research publications of eight African universities (2007 compared to 2001) Source: Bunting & Cloete (2012)
  24. 24. Regional structures provide a solution (Banda et al. 2012) • Eastern and Southern Africa in transition – Becoming more interconnected – Bandwidth prices going down • Research and education community becoming more organised – NRENs, UbuntuNet Alliance, AfricaConnect project – Establishment of large-scale, federated e-infrastructure – Access, collaboration, data sharing, resource sharing – South Africa has already made significant investments in a wide programme of e-Infrastructure for science, TENET/SANReN, SA NREN, CHPC, VLDS, SAGrid – Grid sites and/or HPC clusters in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and many others in West and North Africa > We need to build the capacity for engaging with these structures at institutional level and develop more regional cooperative structures
  25. 25. References Banda T, Ngwira M & Becker B (2012) e-Infrastructures and Applications in Sub Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities. CHAIN-REDS Presentation. Bunting I & Cloete N (2012) Cross-National Performance Indicators: A Study of Eight African Universitites. Cape Town: Centre for Higher Education Transformation Fairy & Owen (2013) Developing an Institutional Research Data Management Plan Service. ACTI EDUCAUSE Report, February 2013 Holl A (2012) Enhanced Journals: A Case Study with General Remarks. SURF Foundation Proceedings. Available at: Mouton J et al. (2010) The state of public science in the SADC region. Johannesburg: Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) Patrick M (2013) Survey results: Research data management knowledge and training needs among University of Oxford research support staff. Blog post, 14 June 2013. Available at: training-needs-among-university-of-oxford-research-support-staff/
  26. 26. @scaprogramme