This year’s Open Repositories Conference was held at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana and provided an opportunity for international repository managers, information technology professionals, and librarians to examine open access through he lens of sustainability. Past conferences have focused identifying and building or implementing an open repository solution, which a growing number of institutions have already achieved within the past five years. So, the questions and challenges around repository work are shifting from: “how do we build it?” to “how do we make sure that it is visible and relevant to researchers and authors?”
At many institutions, getting the word out about open access repository services means working closely with librarians who liaise regularly with specific departments and disciplines about their research and teaching needs. Librarian liaisons at Dartmouth communicate frequently and directly with faculty and are in positions to share important information about new library tools, resources, and services such as Dartmouth Digital Commons. But, a common challenge across most institutions is that librarian liaisons have a wide range of information to share about library services and resources, and they may be stretched too thin to respond with ease to questions and project ideas surrounding copyright, publishing, and open access. Conversations about work with liaisons shifted this year from: “how do we develop relationships with liaisons and teach them about what the repository can do?” to “what can we do for liaisons to make the work of sharing information easier and more sustainable for them to incorporate into the broad range of messages that they must convey to faculty?”
Within Dartmouth’s Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing Program, keeping liaisons “in the know” about new developments in open access and publishing has come in the form of workshops and roundtable discussions specifically designed for liaisons as they search for talking points with faculty on the topics of copyright, publishing, and the Dartmouth Faculty Open Access policy. I also lead a working group of librarians interested in gaining deeper knowledge about open access called the Open Dartmouth Working Group. This group meets twice each month and collaborates throughout the year on open access education and outreach efforts that span the campus.
This year’s Open Repositories conference offered me some new ideas about how I can help liaisons help me communicate about open access, publishing, and Dartmouth Digital Commons. These ideas ranged from providing “talking point” checklists for liaisons to use during meetings with faculty to providing online forms to help faculty articulate their questions about copyright and sharing one’s work to their librarian liaison. These approaches can help liaisons provide the kind of information back to scholarly communication librarians that is needed to support scholars along their publishing cycles. In the coming year, the Open Dartmouth Working Group and I will explore these new methods for improving how we reach and communicate with Dartmouth scholars about their publishing and open sharing needs and questions. Through this we hope to do our part in making open access initiatives on our campus accessible and sustainable.