Martha's Update - February 16, 2018

Post Date:
Feb 16, 2018

I love those moments when a reader’s mention of a book conjures up fascinating stories, particularly when it’s a book in our library! That happened in the fireplace chat we hosted on February 2, featuring visiting York Professor Debra Britzman and Queen’s Professor Laura Cameron. At one point in their engaging conversation, Dr. Cameron held up a book she had brought from our stacks, a science fiction novel titled Men Are Like Animals by Donald MacPherson. It was a new fact to me that Donald MacPherson was a pseudonym for George Humphrey, who joined Queen’s in 1924 as Charlton Professor of Philosophy. Humphrey introduced experimental psychology into the curriculum and began the separation of psychology from the philosophy department. Dr. Cameron, whose most recent book is the highly acclaimed Freud in Cambridge, talked about connections between Humphrey and Cambridge, and Humphrey’s views on psychoanalysis as seen in the novel and in the foundation of the psychology department. And this was just an interesting sidebar in the event, which ranged through various aspects of the speakers’ research interests. It was so engaging that there’s now talk of a series of such fireside chats bringing together researchers across disciplines.

As well as that wonderful moment of reflection, I've appreciated seeing several good developments relating to the research realm in the past two weeks. Kudos to our colleague Vice-Principal (Research) John Fisher, and a core writing team, for the listening and thinking undertaken in producing a draft of the revised Strategic Research Plan, which we’ll now respond to from the perspective of the library’s leadership role in ensuring there are the information resources and services necessary for high impact research. Relating to that role:

  • Last week the Library Leadership Team discussed a project charter that articulates details for developing a training program to support the full research lifecycle (e.g. data management plans, data deposit, open access publication options, ORCID, DOI).
  • We were delighted to hear from external partners that a very interesting project is ready to move ahead. Our external partners are the Confederation of Open Access Repositories and Sir Timothy Gowers, Royal Society Research Professor at the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge. Internally, our department of Mathematics and Statistics has expressed strong interest, and liaison librarian Wenyan Wu and Scholarly Publishing Librarian Rosarie Coughlan are on the project group. The project supports the exploration of a community-based scholarly communications model for the publication of high-quality peer-reviewed journals. It focuses on the model of creating open access “overlay journals” that draw content from preprint and repository services, with full moderation and peer review functionality, and no payment of fees from the author or its employing institution. 
  • On behalf of the Digital Scholarly Record Working Group, I’ve been giving presentations to many different groups, highlighting key aspects of the group’s discussion paper. The presentation is titled “Research Impact from Research Outputs” and it provides an opportunity to engage research stakeholders in all three of the library-wide objectives under Strengthening Our Research Prominence in our Strategic Priorities. This was the topic focus at the Senate Library Committee meeting last week, and other presentations so far have included the Senate Advisory Committee on Research, the Associate Deans Research, the Graduate Student Executive Council and the Engineering and Applied Science Faculty Board. Presentations are planned with other faculty boards and Senate. We’ll be presenting it at the All Staff Meeting hosted by the CIRV project group on February 28. Please plan to attend!

Last weekend was bookended by two very interesting opportunities – on Friday, a Digital Inclusion Summit that helped me consider ways to support Queen’s priorities in both digitalization and diversity and inclusion, and on Monday a day on Parliament Hill with CARL colleagues to meet with MPs and government staff regarding the Copyright Act review. Mark Swartz, in his role as part-time program officer with CARL, participated in those meetings as well.

There’s a whole other topic I’d like to update you on but I think I’ll save that for next time. Since December, I’ve been working closely with our new Associate Vice-Principal (Information Technology) and Chief Information Officer and others to begin developing a digital planning framework. The framework will establish planning principles and a governance structure in 2017-18, to enable the future development of a digital strategy, including specific goals and objectives, through stakeholder engagement in 2018-19. There’s some intensive work happening behind the scenes, including arranging for focus groups in April and an informative web page. More on this in weeks to come.

Enjoy the long weekend!

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