The scholarly communications environment in Canada is complex, diverse, and evolving quickly as digital scholarship becomes more prominent in almost every field. The stakeholders are equally diverse including researchers, publishers, scholarly societies, academic libraries, information technology organizations, high performance networking groups, funding agencies and a host of others.
It’s not just complex, it’s also confusing. And as a result it is sometimes hard to see where the issues, challenges and opportunities reside.
Scholarly communications in Canada is not broken, but it is at a critical period of it’s development. Key decisions must be understood and taken to advance Canada in the global research and academic sphere.
An initiative like the Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure has advanced these objectives by bringing together many of the key participants (e.g. CANARIE, Compute Canada, CARL, CUCCIO, CRKN, the funding councils, VPRs, and leading researchers) to focus on vision, policy, roles, and actions with respect to research data and the overarching digital infrastructure (DI).
The Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) has played a unique and vital role in advancing research in Canada by forging a sustained partnership between academic libraries and the research enterprises of the member institutions. The primary tactic has been the consortial purchasing of digital scholarly content, and the impact has been substantial.
Arising from the recent CRKN Strategic Plan 2013-2016, the Board and the members authorized a project to explore the digital scholarship in more detail and to identify opportunities for CRKN (and others) to advance scholarly communications in Canada.
The Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem (IDSE) project is being launched today and I am pleased to be the Project Manager. Working with Sabina Pagotto as Project Analyst, we will create an environment scan of the Canada scene, and work with CRKN members and a broad array of stakeholders to document and explore issues, challenges, and opportunities in the digital scholarship ecosystem.
From the IDSE website, here’s a more formal description:
The Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem (IDSE) is an initiative to advance research in Canada by understanding the complexity of the digital landscape and by seeking opportunities to align key stakeholders and providers around a series of shared objectives. The ecosystem combines capabilities and infrastructure beyond content to seamlessly harness the work of diverse organizations that contribute to digital scholarship.
Specifically, the IDSE is:
a map of the existing state of digital scholarship in Canada;
a lens through which to foster collaboration and coordination;
a platform to implement and sustain key services, programs, or projects;
a results oriented initiative that serves faculty, students, and staff at research institutions as well as supporting inquiry-based research by all Canadians;
an ongoing and evolving process that must be flexible and agile in order to respond to the changing nature of the digital environment and scholarly directions.
There is much work occurring around digital infrastructure, research data, and the state of scholarly communications in Canada. The IDSE project from CRKN hopes to make those activities and initiatives more visible and to highlight the interconnected and interdependent nature of the ecosystem. Collaboration and coordination are at the centre of the project, and alignment is a key objective.
A major part of the initiative is to reach out and talk with people about their concerns and aspirations. We will be making every effort to engage with interested individuals and groups. We can be contacted through the website or by email directly to me (firstname.lastname@example.org)