Minutes of January 28, 2005 Meeting

Dess, Gaunt, Jantz, Langschied, Niessen (recorder), Sewell, Womack

The entirety of the meeting was devoted to the strategic planning discussion. We began with a clarification of the key committees dealing with aspects of the repository in RUL. DAWG (the Digital Architecture Working Group) is concerned with the technical framework of the repository, and the DRRC (Digital Repository Review Committee) assesses projects whose ingestion into the repository involves the investment of RUL resources (personnel and technology) in their development. Womack noted that as originally conceived the DRRC was not concerned with whether projects would be brought into the repository. Now, it must consider whether the anticipated data will be structured in a way that is suitable for the repository. The repository is a platform for preservation as well as access for everything digital that we create. A dynamic, ie changing website may therefore not be suitable for the repository. An e-journal adds content over time unless it is "dead", ie the editor chooses to take the journal with him if he leaves; but issues or modules, once added, are preserved as is.

Langschied suggested there may be too many committees dealing with overlapping functions and objectives. Our efforts in the area of scholarly communication may be better served by reorganizing them and consolidating these groups into fewer units and clarifying or redefining their missions.

The discussion moved at this point to a whiteboard exercise to conceptualize all the areas of scholarly communication in which RUL has agency. We outlined these as follows:

  1. Collection development and preservation of digital media
  2. Technology: research & development, implementation, architecture, sustainability
  3. Policymaking on the use of the repository: what goes in, who contributes, who owns it, who adds and removes objects or metadata
  4. Library publishing: journals, books, reports
  5. Public services: interface, portals, OAI, public access
  6. Advocacy/education/outreach/PR to the non-library faculty
  7. Creation services: librarians' roles are changing as they become midwives of publishing

Gaunt reminded us about the genesis of these proliferating functions. Simply stated, our focus on scholarly communication was initiated because we couldn't afford to buy everything that was published. The motivation for the original Scholarly Communication Steering Committee was to educate the research community about this pricing dilemma, increase awareness about new, less costly publishing alternatives, and encourage researchers to switch to these cheaper publishing outlets.

Gaunt and Langschied clarified for the committee the distinction between the concepts of Digital New Jersey and New Jersey Digital Highway. DNJ is at this time a proposed arrangement whereby RU would preserve the records of some departments of state government; NJDH already has a formal statewide agreement whereby RUL will archive in perpetuity the material digitized by participating institutions.

Langschied suggested that RUL as a system needed something like an institute of library faculty and staff, perhaps with an advisory board of persons from outside the library, to bring together all that RUL does in the area of scholarly communication research & development, or item 2 in the list compiled above:

  1. providing access to digital data
  2. archiving digital information
  3. building databases
  4. interoperative access and preservation across all information resources
  5. instruction and training with respect to these changes

The discussion moved next to a definition of scholarly communication: it is the process of what scholars do: research, publishing with peer review, and consumption of others' research. RUL's role is to advocate, even lead the process of change, and contribute to it by also acting as a publisher in its own right.

In discussing other planning goals, all those present reached consensus that it was desirable to provide a linkage between scholarly communication advocacy and any serials cancellations that we are obliged to undertake. We should be publishing serials pricing information, discipline by discipline and within discipline, so that members of the university community are aware of this information. In this way we can turn an unpleasant exercise into a positive opportunity to distinguish above- and below-average prices and stimulate interest in open access options. If we offer to host new e- journals, it was asked, were there limits to how many could we host? Jantz and Langschied replied that there is no immediate or pressing limit; significant limitations are not technological, but in staff time but may be minimized by the ability of the platform to push most activities out to the editor.

The committee discussed ways of enhancing its advocacy role on campus. Niessen noted that the New Brunswick Faculty Council has been without a home since the fall fire in Brower Commons; it was agreed that we will invite the NBFC to hold one of the three remaining meetings for which it does not yet have a venue, March 25, April 15, or May 6 from 1:30 PM, in the Teleconference Lecture Hall and see if Dan Fishman can place a demo and discussion of our publishing platform on the NBFC agenda. We will reserve the TLH for each of these dates and contact Fishman and NBFC chair Jim Miller to see if this can be arranged.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Gaunt stressed that our planning document should identify five-year goals for scholarly communication in RUL, not simply goals for this committee. The document should have an introductory sentence defining scholarly communication, and then bulleted points identifying specific things RUL should do. The committee agreed these bullets should include organizational change, outreach and advocacy, development of technical vehicles or platforms, the tie-in with collection development, and data curation and preservation for the Rutgers community

Niessen volunteered to write a first draft of the document for the consideration of the committee.

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/scholarly_communication/minutes/scholcom_05_01_28.shtml
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