Jisc and CNI plan library leaders conference

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Jisc and the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), a joint project of the Association of Research Libraries and Educause, have revealed the line-up of keynote speakers for their online summer leaders conference.

The three speakers will be: Rachel Bruce, Head of Open Research at UK Research and Innovation; Francine Berman, Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Dan Cohen, Vice Provost/Dean of the Library and Professor of History at Northeastern University.

The overarching conference theme, ‘At the Frontier of Research Practice – the University Library as a Catalyst’, will explore the pivotal role the library plays in supporting the university’s research enterprise to adapt to new technologies and workflows and realising the potential any disruption it will offer.

There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the research landscape: forcing collaborations to take place virtually, limiting access to fieldwork and labs and disrupting access to libraries, special collections and other research materials essential to many disciplines. Improvements in technology and scholarly communications practices over the last quarter-century has positioned universities to meet these challenges.  

As organisations continue to face an increasingly uncertain and disruption-prone future, attention must turn to improving the resilience of the research enterprise more broadly.  

What impact will the emerging important developments have? The convergence of big data with technologies such as machine learning, robotics, and ubiquitous connectivity offers the potential for new kinds of at least partially automated research at a vast scale, as well as raising important ethical questions. Open research can enable reproducibility and transparency helping to build trust and integrity in the research process while simultaneously helping to broaden participation in it. However, the transition to a scholarly communications environment that supports open research continues to pose challenges for authors, institutions, policy makers and publishers. 

For many libraries their relationships with researchers and the research process continues to change. Moving from ‘service provider’ to active ‘research partners', and ‘pioneers’ of new processes and platforms. So, are libraries ideally paced to act as catalysts to this change?

Clifford Lynch, CNI’s executive director, said: ‘There is no doubt the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has reshaped the research landscape. Through the conference theme, “Frontiers in Research Practice – the University Library as a Catalyst’, we will be exploring topics such as research continuity, data science, open scholarship, future research environments and evolving research collections.’

Neil Grindley, Jisc’s director of content and discovery services, added: ‘Improvements in technology and scholarly communications practices have positioned universities to meet the challenges of the pandemic. As we continue to face an increasingly uncertain and disruption-prone future our attention must turn to improving our resilience more broadly. This year’s Jisc and CNI conference offers insights on how these organisations can equip themselves and respond.’

Underpinning the overall conference theme are the following breakout topics: 

  • Data science and the role of libraries;
  • Monographs and long-form scholarly works; 
  • Open and faster scholarly communication in a post-COVID-19 world; 
  • How research collections are evolving?; 
  • Researcher environments of tomorrow; and 
  • Research continuity and resilience. 

What should delegates expect? 

  • A three-day programme of keynotes, panel debates and breakout sessions delivered by library and research thought leaders and experts, from the UK and US;
  • A rich exploration of issues and innovations in digital scholarship, leading practice and policy with peers from a wide range of different universities and research organisations (more than 80 in 2018) from countries across the world (12 different countries in 2018) and
  • Virtual networking opportunities and on-demand content.

Who should attend? 

Leaders and senior practitioners in libraries, research, academia and organisations supporting digital scholarship, research and scholarly communications within higher education, including: 

  • Library directors and senior library managers;
  • Pro vice-chancellors for research and senior research managers;
  • Heads of open research;
  • Heads of scholarly communication and open access;
  • Heads of university presses;
  • Research service providers; and 
  • Academic publishers.

The Jisc and CNI leaders conference will take place online from 7 to 9 July 2021. Tickets are on sale now at www.jisc.ac.uk/cni-conference

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