Academic Library Futures in a Diversified University System

Authors: Lorcan Dempsey and Constance Malpas

Abstract: Dempsey and Malpas consider the future of the academic library in the context of a diversifying higher education system. The academic library is not fixed. It is changing as it adapts to the changing research and learning behaviors of its home institution, which are the principal drivers of the library service. Dempsey and Malpas explore ways in which libraries are responding to the transition from a collections-based model to a more diffuse services-based model. This is in parallel with the evolving influence of the network on student, teacher and researcher practices and with the shift from print to digital. They describe diversification of the higher education system, around poles of research, liberal education and career preparation. Academic libraries similarly will diverge, with different service bundles depending on the type of educational institution they serve. This means that the model of excellence for libraries also will need to be plural, based on strategic fit to the needs of the institution they serve and not on collection size or gate count.

Citation: Dempsey L., Malpas C. (2018) Academic Library Futures in a Diversified University System. In: Gleason N. (eds) Higher Education in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.


Source: Academic Library Futures in a Diversified University System

Sustaining Scholarly Infrastructures through Collective Action: The Lessons that Olson can Teach us

Author: Cameron Neylon

Abstract: The infrastructures that underpin scholarship and research, including repositories, curation systems, aggregators, indexes and standards, are public goods. Finding sustainability models to support them is a challenge due to free-loading, where someone who does not contribute to the support of an infrastructure nonetheless gains the benefit of it. The work of Mancur Olson (1965) suggests that there are only three ways to address this for large groups: compelling all potential users, often through some form of taxation, to support the infrastructure; providing non-collective (club) goods to contributors that are created as a side-effect of providing the collective good; or implementing mechanisms that lower the effective number of participants in the negotiation (oligopoly).

In this paper, I use Olson’s framework to analyse existing scholarly infrastructures and proposals for the sustainability of new infrastructures. This approach provides some important insights. First, it illustrates that the problems of sustainability are not merely ones of finance but of political economy, which means that focusing purely on financial sustainability in the absence of considering governance principles and community is the wrong approach. The second key insight this approach yields is that the size of the community supported by an infrastructure is a critical parameter. Sustainability models will need to change over the life cycle of an infrastructure with the growth (or decline) of the community. In both cases, identifying patterns for success and creating templates for governance and sustainability could be of significant value. Overall, this analysis demonstrates a need to consider how communities, platforms, and finances interact and suggests that a political economic analysis has real value.

Citation: Neylon, C., (2017). Sustaining Scholarly Infrastructures through Collective Action: The Lessons that Olson can Teach us. KULA: knowledge creation, dissemination, and preservation studies. 1(1), p.3. DOI:


Source: Sustaining Scholarly Infrastructures through Collective Action: The Lessons that Olson can Teach us

Fair Use in the Visual Arts: Lesson Plans for Librarians

Authors: Alexander Watkins, Bridget Madden, Alexandra Provo, Danielle Reay, Anna Simon

Abstract: The authors guide art information professionals in crafting learning experiences that empower students to understand copyright and take advantage of fair use in their art, design, and academic practices. The College Art Association’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts, endorsed by ARLIS/NA in 2015, is a key document that has the potential to transform the use of images in the visual arts. Education will be an essential part of the integration of the Code into the visual arts, and art information professionals are well positioned to teach fair use and the Code. This book was created to further ARLIS/NA’s mission to support the evolving role of art information professionals, which increasingly includes copyright and fair use instruction. The lesson plans in this book will help those new to copyright instruction teach the Code through engaging activities and assignments. The lesson plans are also meant to inspire teachers experienced with fair use instruction through creative ideas and new ways to integrate copyright instruction into art classes, digital humanities projects, and design education.

Citation: Watkins, Alexander, Bridget Madden, Alexandra Provo, Danielle Reay, and Anna Simon, eds. Fair Use in the Visual Arts: Lesson Plans for Librarians. Occasional Paper no. 17, ARLIS/NA, 2018.


Source: Fair Use in the Visual Arts: Lesson Plans for Librarians

What researchers want

Author: Martin Feijen

Abstract: A literature study aiming to understand how researchers currently handle research data storage and access, what problems they encounter, and what their needs are. Unlike many reports that address these issues from the library, institution, or other service provider’s perspective, this report outlines key findings about the motivations and interests of researchers, and provides guidance to libraries and universities about how to shape their services to meet the researchers where they are.

Citation: Feijen, Martin. What Researchers Want. SURF Foundation. Feb. 2011.


A model open access journal publication agreement

Author: Stuart Shieber
Abstract: This blog post from 2014 provides language that can serve as a model for publication agreements between an open access journal and authors submitting their work to it. Rather than the traditional approach requiring the author to grant all rights in the work to the journal, this language has the author granting only what the journal needs to publish, and keeping all other rights for the creator of the work. The post explains what each paragraph in the agreement aims to do, and how it will protect the interests of both the author and the publisher while making the work open access. The comment section below the post also has useful discussion that further explains the reasoning behind some of the clauses.
Citation: Shieber, Stuart. “A model OA journal publication agreement.” Blog post. The Occasional Pamphlet. Harvard Blogs, 19 February 2014.


The rise of reading analytics and the emerging calculus of reader privacy in the digital world

Author: Clifford Lynch

Abstract: This paper studies emerging technologies for tracking reading behaviors (“reading analytics”) and their implications for reader privacy, attempting to place them in a historical context. It discusses what data is being collected, to whom it is available, and how it might be used by various interested parties (including authors). I explore means of tracking what’s being read, who is doing the reading, and how readers discover what they read. The paper includes two case studies: mass-market e-books (both directly acquired by readers and mediated by libraries) and scholarly journals (usually mediated by academic libraries); in the latter case I also provide examples of the implications of various authentication, authorization and access management practices on reader privacy. While legal issues are touched upon, the focus is generally pragmatic, emphasizing technology and marketplace practices. The article illustrates the way reader privacy concerns are shifting from government to commercial surveillance, and the interactions between government and the private sector in this area. The paper emphasizes U.S.-based developments.

Citation: Lynch, Clifford. “The rise of reading analytics and the emerging calculus of reader privacy in the digital world.First Monday [Online], 22.4 (2017): n. pag. Web.


Source: The rise of reading analytics and the emerging calculus of reader privacy in the digital world

Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research

Author(s): Fyfe, Aileen ; Coate, Kelly; Curry, Stephen; Lawson, Stuart; Moxham, Noah; Røstvik, Camilla Mørk

Abstract: Since the Second World War, academic publishing practices have had to cope with enormous changes in the scale of the research enterprise, in the culture and management of higher education, and in the ecosystem of scholarly publishers. The pace of change has been particularly rapid in the last twenty-five years, thanks to digital technologies. This has also been a time of growing divergence between the different roles of academic publishing: as a means of disseminating validated knowledge, as a form of symbolic capital for academic career progression, and as a profitable business enterprise.
This briefing paper aims to provide a historical perspective that can inform the debates about what the future of academic publishing should look like. We argue that current policy regarding open access publishing, and many of the other proposals for the reform of academic publishing, have been too focused on the opportunities and financial challenges of the most recent changes in digital communications technologies and have given undue weight to commercial concerns.
We show that the business practices and the cultural significance of academic publishing have been significantly transformed since the late nineteenth century as increasing government funding drove the expansion and professionalization of the research community, a process that accelerated rapidly after the Second World War. We examine how academic publishing practices have responded to the increasing number of researchers and publications worldwide, the changing expectations of academic workloads and outputs in the higher education sector, and the new business models in the publishing industry.
A key phenomenon has been the growing importance of published works as career-defining tokens of prestige for academics. Although the new technologies that emerged in the late twentieth century offer great potential for improving the speed and efficiency of scholarly communication, the publishing model has been relatively slow to change.
The key themes of this briefing paper are:

  • the business of academic publishing
  • the role of publishing in academic careers
  • and the tangled and changing relationship between them

Citation:Fyfe, Aileen, Coate, Kelly, Curry, Stephen, Lawson, Stuart, Moxham, Noah, & Røstvik, Camilla Mørk. (2017, May 25). Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research. Zenodo.