August 17, 2021Nancy Adams
Intersections is an occasional series where community members reflect on what they are seeing in other parts of their professional world and what library publishers can learn from it.
By Shawn Martin, Head of Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing, Dartmouth Library
What are transformative agreements changing exactly? Are they promoting open access? Are they shifting the way libraries access and pay for collections? Are they good for small private institutions as well as large public systems? The answers to these questions are incredibly difficult, but as the head of scholarly communication at the Dartmouth Library, they are issues I need to contend with on a regular basis. Fundamentally, I believe that transformative agreements are about the values not only of open access, but also of individual colleges and universities. Values can be implemented in many ways and may vary depending on local conditions. Dartmouth is perhaps not representative of academic libraries broadly speaking. Nonetheless, Dartmouth Library has characteristics of both smaller liberal arts colleges and research universities that, I think, could help a variety of different institutions think about how they work through implementing the values of open access within the economic context of a transformative publishing agreement.
Dartmouth is, comparatively speaking, smaller than its Ivy League peers and is proud of its model for blending the qualities of a research university and a liberal arts college. The scholarly communication program itself is situated within the digital strategies unit, meaning I report to the same Associate Librarian who also oversees the library’s IT infrastructure and digital scholarship initiatives. Because of the library’s small size, however, I have the privilege of working with our collections team and being part of the collection steering committee, which determines how our collection budget is spent. I also meet regularly with the Associate Librarian of the unit overseeing collection strategies. Additionally, I have sat on committees at the Dartmouth Library that evaluated the functionality of databases used for scholarly metrics such as SCOPUS (Elsevier) and Web of Science (Clarivate). I have led discussions within the collection steering committee about the analytics that Unsub provides and how it might need to be supplemented in order to make data-driven decisions managing new budget. In other words, discussion of open access and scholarly communication at Dartmouth has been a hybrid of both a collections and an IT conversation (among others). (more…)