Making sense from chaos: our global context

Our work in scholarly communication is necessarily global, and the two of us in Dartmouth’s Scholarly Communication, Copyright and Publishing Program are involved with international conferences this year, the Open Scholarship Initiative which is to be held in the U.S. and the Open Repositories meeting which is to be held in Australia. The order from our current government regarding travel has a real impact on both these international endeavors. In addition, a focus of our program is expanding access to the results of Dartmouth scholarship and research, and the role of the federal funding agencies is critical to that work. So we are taking stock of the situation. 

Within the scope of copyright, intellectual freedom, and open access, chaotic statements and actions from government officials have caused librarians and scholars to be concerned. As we watch what develops in the next days and weeks, it is important to know that organizations representing and supporting open scholarship in a global context have clear statements about their core values and mission. These statements and their steady language about working with colleagues, policy makers, and administrators internationally can provide reassuring frameworks to help us all navigate transitional and turbulent times.

Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)

“OSI is a global collaborative effort between all major stakeholders in scholarly publishing to improve the future of how research information gets published, shared and accessed. The foundation of this effort is a 10-year series of annual meetings where high-level stakeholder representatives work together to solve important issues. Collaboration outside these meetings will also occur.”

SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

“SPARC is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC empowers people to solve big problems and make new discoveries through the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education.”

Dartmouth is a member institution of SPARC, and we are actively engaged in conversations and developments within that community of scholarly communication professionals.

“SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) works to enable the open sharing of research outputs and educational materials in order to democratize access to knowledge, accelerate discovery, and increase the return on our investment in research and education. As a catalyst for action, SPARC focuses on collaborating with other stakeholders—including authors, publishers, libraries, students, funders, policymakers and the public—to build on the opportunities created by the Internet, promoting changes to both infrastructure and culture needed to make open the default for research and education.”

SPARC’s 2017 Program Plan emphasizes the important role that their organization and their member scholars and information professionals play in the global landscape of scholarly publishing, open scholarship, which is the backbone of efforts to share important research with one another and further society. This statement, in particular, is an important one to consider as we see transitions happening globally:

 “SPARC is a catalyst for action. Supported by 200+ members in the U.S. and Canada, and with international affiliates active in Africa, Europe and Japan, our pragmatic agenda focuses on collaborating with stakeholders in the global community to encourage new norms, practices, and policies that promote equitable access, sharing, and use of scholarship.”

Library Publishing Coalition (LPC)

Melanie Schlosser, the Scholarly Communications Program Leader at the Educopia Institute, on behalf of the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC), expressed concern about the impact on LPC members. Dartmouth is a member of the LPC, and the Scholarly Communication, Copyright and Publishing Program is active in LPC. One of us is presenting at the annual Forum this year. 

“We at the Library Publishing Coalition and our host organization, the Educopia Institute, are following recent political developments in the United States carefully, and we join with our colleagues at ARL and the AAUP in noting the broad implications of recent federal policy for libraries, publishers, and scholarship as a whole. …. We are cognizant of the fact that some of these developments – namely the recent executive order on immigration and refugees – may directly affect our members’ ability to participate in in life of the LPC. Please know that we are committed to representing the needs of our international membership, and to providing a variety of opportunities for participation in the community, and that we will be taking this into account as we plan future events.” 

Core values are in the background of our minds, guiding our major and minor decisions, but it’s true that they should also serve as our stable framework when facing turbulent times. As developments emerge surrounding issue of open scholarship, we will try to provide those we serve nationally and internationally with solid perspectives and facts to help stabilize us within shifting landscapes.

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