Open Discovery and a Vision for Innovations

Towards the end of May 2011, the Wellcome Trust hosted an event to reflect on the work of the Resource Discovery Task Force so far.

This was an opportunity for JISC Involve to invite the participants at the core of the work to present their thoughts, for there to be a launch of the Discovery site, ready for Phase 2 of the project, with the newly drafted Open Metadata Principles prominent to coincide with their launch at this conference. While the day was self-contained, my week as a whole had also given me a useful introduction.

The day before, I attended another event, hosted by Mobile VCE as a workshop on future business models for mobile environments. It became apparent that the stakeholders in the development of these environments had all seen quite quickly that old rules and old models for sustaining innovation and business were just not applicable anymore, and had to be ripped to shreds so that new answers could be found, so that collaborators, colleagues, competitors and ‘enemies’ alike could see where the opportunities lay – to the long-term advantage of everyone.

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Research and the Scholarly Communications Process

Searchlighter was commissioned in March 2009 to work as a partner on the Research and the Scholarly Communications Process project.

This was set up by the Research Information Network (RIN) to create an online resource to enhance the development of scholarly communications policy and practice.

The broad aim of the project was to support effective scholarly communications by challenging and supporting key stakeholders (especially funders, higher education institutions, libraries and publishers) to apply seven common principles set out in the RIN’s Research and the Scholarly Communications Process: towards strategic goals for public policy.

The means was the production, promotion and dissemination of a resource to be:

  • an aid to developing institutional policy in line with the principles set out in the RIN statement
  • the product of research and consultation, developed with and tested by stakeholders
  • designed to be dynamic and easily updatable.

The project was based in a belief that an articulation of the goals enables key players to develop a clear policy framework to support effective scholarly communications as a means to underpin high-impact research and effective knowledge transfer. The project addressed the challenge of the application of the seven identified principles.

The challenge was to devise a process to develop the resource’s content in concert with potential users, then devise and produce an appropriate format for delivering the content to those users. It sought to provide information not just for discrete groups of stakeholders but also to encourage reflection on how the agendas of different stakeholders might be aligned behind common goals and so resolve conflicts of interests.

The chief purpose for the resource was to provide guidance for relevant stakeholders concerning each of the identified principles constituting the Statement of Principles within RIN’s Research and the Scholarly Communications Process: towards strategic goals for public policy, and their roles in applying them. This included information on the state of current practice or the legacy of experience, or examples of innovative and effective practice. It left open the option to create a tool to enable self-auditing, for which users would be able to identify current practice by referring to defined benchmarks.

The Research and the Scholarly Communications Process document built on discussions which the RIN initiated with a range of stakeholders, notably from the library, publishing and research funding communities, with the purpose of identifying the fundamental goals for public policy relating to the scholarly communications process.

Currently, the Research Information Network are considering opportunities to publish and launch the work in the context of their current workload.