In a rapidly evolving world, academic and research institutions must think about becoming agents of change, with greater flexibility and responsiveness than ever before. Part of this change is a shift away from the notion that researchers simply conduct research and produce publications, but rather the research community itself must begin to take on responsibility for ensuring research outputs are widely and openly disseminated, properly curated, and preserved. In this sense, the institution becomes one node in a larger, interconnected network of content producers and stewards.
There are both challenges and opportunities inherent in this new role. For instance, how do we create a seamless global research network in which all countries and researchers can participate? How can we evaluate research outputs based on their quality, and not on whether they are attached to a prestige publication? How can we manage increasingly large and complex data to support new modes of science and innovation? And how can we ensure that content is appropriately licensed, annotated and preserved to allow it to be re-used and integrated with other related content? Clearly, libraries and institutions must forge new partnerships, nurture new skills and competencies, and develop new organizational structures.
This conference, co-hosted by SPARC and COAR, will address some of the important challenges facing our libraries as we attempt to re-define our roles in an age of constant flux.