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Transatlantic views on the future of scholarly discourse

Traditional methods of scholarly communication are changing swiftly and dramatically and institutions that fail now to respond and adapt to these changes risk their research reputation in the future.

Earlier this year, Jisc and CNI (Coalition for Networked Information) gathered thought-leading experts from across the globe at a horizon-scanning event. They explored how institutions need to respond to the changes in scholarly communications to avoid a crisis in professional recognition of research – and to make the most of the opportunities that digital technologies can bring.

Here, some of those experts share their thoughts on different aspects of the evolution of scholarly research, behaviour and outputs, from the role of the library to the power of collaboration.

Sarah Thomas

Bodley’s librarian and director of the Bodleian libraries at the University of Oxford looks forward to a dynamic, flexible future in which the dissemination of knowledge is more cost-effective, more collaborative and reaches more people.

Clifford Lynch

The director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) considers the significant and striking set of developments around the rise of citizen scholarship and the opening up to the public of participation in scholarly discourse.

Kevin Schurer

For the pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester, the changing research landscape opens up new opportunities through collaboration, allowing synergies to be made and path-breaking research to be undertaken.

Tara McPherson

There are hugely exciting possibilities for big data in the humanities through scale and combining machine analysis with human interpretation, explains the associate professor of gender and critical studies at the University of Southern California’s school of cinematic arts.

Rachel Bruce

Jisc’s innovation director for digital infrastructure outlines the challenges of digital scholarship, from reward and recognition to the skills institutions need to develop and the reputational issues they may face.

Paul Courant

The library has many roles to play in the new digital world, deriving largely from its ability to keep track of things and the provenance of things, says the economist and university librarian at the University of Michigan.

Ian Carter

The University of Sussex’s director of research and enterprise urges everyone within the academic community to take responsibility for encouraging and engaging with the new scholarly communication agenda rather than assuming it rests with the library… and to stop jumping on every bandwagon!

Jeff Haywood

There’s a strong reputational advantage to being open – in research and in learning and teaching, the more your materials are out there and being seen and used and cited, the more impact they have and benefit you get, advises the University of Edinburgh’s vice-principal (knowledge management), chief information officer and librarian.


Read Alma Swan's report from the Jisc/CNI workshop 2012. It distils the event's key issues and discussions, sums up the main barriers and opportunities and offers, for further debate, some of the most significant and promising options for next steps.

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