These community-based actions portend several possible realignments within the academic community and its stakeholder groups that should also be considered as efforts move forward.
Academic and Research Libraries
Within academic institutions, there is need for realignment between libraries and the rest of the institution. Library professionals live and breathe data and information flows every day, and have a unique opportunity to contribute their expertise. In addition, there is a clear need for the senior administration to identify the leaders who will organize these actions, and librarians could well lead some of them. In order to do so, however, libraries will have to upgrade their project management competencies, and become comfortable mobilizing resources from outside their traditional core activities (for example, from legal, ethics, economics and business experts).
The second realignment is within the broader research community. Historically, funding bodies and academic researchers have worked at arm’s length, and some of that separation will have to continue (particularly in the grant approval and review processes). However, at a broader level, the issues posed by data analytics portend a much closer and aligned relationship between funding bodies and academic institutions, as they both share some of the objective of keeping research data infrastructure open to competition.
As new partnerships and financial arrangements that ensure greater alignment with community values are considered, the role of scholarly societies might also be reexamined. Historically, the relationship between academic institutions and scholarly societies has been complex and sometimes disconnected, as many academics consider their society to be their primary affiliation before their institution. Additionally, scholarly societies have been perceived, for right or wrong, to be among the least enthusiastic supporters of open scholarly practices, given their concerns over the potential revenue loss in a transition to open access.
In the development of community-owned infrastructure, the relationship between academic institutions and societies might be productively reexamined and realigned to support mutual interests. The development and management of community owned infrastructure requires many functions, including some that are largely dependent on disciplinary expertise that societies alone possess. New kinds of direct fee-for- service arrangements may offer an alternative source of revenue to societies, while supporting direct community control of the communication of research outputs. Similarly, as more institutions invest in open educational resources, scholarly societies are poised to play a potential role as a service provider for vetting or publishing educational materials.
“For example, a number of learned societies have established the Society Publishers Coalition. This is, effectively, a “coalition of the willing” with the aim to establish closer working relationships with academic institutions and funding bodies and may help taking the initial steps to establish more collaborative relationships between the academic community and societies.”