09_Scholarly_Communication

Scholarly Communication

Designing a flexible outreach program for scholarly communication and copyright services

A modular roadshow for the University of South Florida

LeEtta Schmidt is copyright and Intellectual property librarian, email: lmschmidt@usf.edu, and Jason Boczar is digital scholarship and publishing librarian at the University of South Florida, email: jboczar@usf.edu

Much the same as many other academic libraries, the University of South Florida (USF) developed scholarly communication and copyright services in response to community demand and to fulfill perceived institutional needs. The services initially established connections through liaison librarians and referral, when faculty patrons intuitively approached the library with a query. Growth of the services was slow. A new method of outreach for copyright and scholarly communication services was needed. The DSS Roadshow, named after the library department Digital Scholarship Services, aimed at providing a menu of modularly configured presentations to faculty and graduate students at the university. Based on two different tracks, scholarly communication or copyright for instruction, the DSS Roadshow was designed to help deliver the services directly to departments around campus.

A key difference between previous outreach activities and the DSS Roadshow is the use of the USF Libraries Research Platform Teams (RPTs). RPTs are clustered teams lead by librarians for specific departments or disciplines.1 The departments served determine the makeup and characteristics of each team. Team members are deeply embedded in department activities, sometimes retaining an office within the department. The deeply embedded nature of the RPTs provided a perfect opportunity for the DSS Roadshow to tailor discussions and instruction on copyright and scholarly communication to the needs of individual departments, meet them within their space, as well as form new partnerships. This article will address the creation of the DSS Roadshow and how the it fits within the framework of the new RPTs.

Background

USF is a metropolitan, Preeminent,2 doctoral university with Very High Research Activity (per Carnegie Classification). It serves a population of more than 45,000 full-time students, made up of more than 31,000 undergraduates and more than 2,500 faculty. The focus of this article will be on services provided by the USF Libraries on the Tampa campus, excluding those provided by Shimberg Health Sciences Library.

The USF Libraries launched RPTs, a liaison model, in 2017, after an extensive study on the effectiveness of the local and peer liaison models. The “model creates a series of librarian-led teams tasked with establishing deep relationships with faculty and graduate students in either an academic department to provide targeted, focused, collaborative services that emphasize active participation (as opposed to support) in research, grants, teaching, and publication.”3 RPTs would involve and work closely with functional specialists in the library, like the copyright and intellectual property librarian and the digital scholarship and publishing librarian.

Problem statement

The digital scholarship and publishing librarian and the copyright and intellectual property librarian had little institutional history to guide the development of their services. The incumbents of the new positions initially focused on incorporating themselves into the library structure and connecting with the RPTs. However, faculty on campus were still mostly unaware of the breadth of scholarly communication and intellectual property services available to them at the libraries. The librarians were challenged to develop new methods of outreach to encourage increased adoption of the services offered.

Background work

Departmental visits

The main method of outreach for the institutional repository, copyright issues in research, and other scholarly communication services relied on liaison librarians and visits to department meetings. This is where the digital scholarship and publishing librarian could solicit researchers to email their curriculum vitae (CV) or publication list. The library received the largest number of CVs and faculty participation when the chair of the department encouraged faculty to participate. Department meetings similarly supplied the copyright and intellectual property librarian with the opportunity to start conversations with faculty that would continue to develop in one-on-one sessions. Some departments were more likely to participate in either of these visits than others.

The copyright and intellectual property librarian was also able to make connections with faculty departments through working with the University’s instructional design unit, an academic support unit outside of the library. Through involvement in the process of creating new online courses, faculty would be connected with the library for copyright questions. These interactions often became requests for group sessions or class visits. However, this outreach was limited to departments working closely with the university’s instructional design unit. The strongest responses to copyright services occurred when a departmental chair saw value in the services and arranged a dedicated faculty session for copyright instruction.

Connections with research platform teams

The RPTs provided a new and additional avenue to reach faculty for both the digital scholarship and publishing librarian and the copyright and intellectual property librarian. The RPTs’ insights into departments served, allowed for greater customization of messages from scholarly communication and copyright services. The deep integration of the RPT librarian into their department also provided a stronger conduit to communicate library services.

Convening a group to develop a program

Inspired by Jennifer Duncan, Susanne K. Clement, and Betty Rozum,4 the digital scholarship and publishing librarian and the copyright and intellectual property librarian convened a small group, including the coordinator of library operations, who has expertise in open access publishing, to brainstorm how USF Libraries might launch an outreach program similar to the DSS Roadshow discussed in the article. Outlines of instructional sessions dedicated to scholarly communication and copyright in instruction were developed based on needs observed in the librarians’ previous outreach and service delivery activities. The outlines formed the basis of a complete presentation program, visuals, and a menu that explained what each session covered. The menu would be used in outgoing communication and included on a web page that could be linked to for easy referral.

Description of program

The initial incarnation of the DSS Roadshow program was made up of two tracks. The first track, focusing on scholarly communication issues and led by the digital scholarship and publishing librarian, covered the research lifecycle, author rights, open access, the institutional repository, and open educational resources. The second track, focusing on copyright issues in teaching and led by the copyright and intellectual property librarian, gave information on the basics of copyright law and relevant exceptions as well as tips for finding openly licensed content. Each track had a small area of overlap in subject matter designed to introduce and involve the nonlead librarian. For example, the session focusing on copyright included a couple of slides devoted to open access, creative commons licenses, and open educational resources. The digital scholarship and publishing librarian would take over speaking for these slides if both librarians could be present at a departmental meeting. Each set of presentation materials was designed with the idea that they may need to be mixed and shuffled to best suit the needs of departments. A handout encapsulated the most salient information for each track.

The side of the DSS Roadshow handout devoted to research and scholarly communication included a graphic of the research lifecycle that had been developed for Scholarly Communication Services.

The side of the DSS Roadshow handout devoted to research and scholarly communication included a graphic of the research lifecycle that had been developed for Scholarly Communication Services.

The side of the handout devoted to copyright in instruction included the top tips discussed in the Copyright in Instruction track of the DSS Roadshow.

The side of the handout devoted to copyright in instruction included the top tips discussed in the Copyright in Instruction track of the DSS Roadshow.

After the initial planning, the group introduced their program to the RPTs and asked for support in arranging a beta test of the program. Feedback from the RPTs was positive and indicated that the program would be of interest to the RPT department. A beta test was arranged with the English department, focusing on Copyright in Instruction. Initial meetings with the English RPT regarding the beta test highlighted a need for intense flexibility on the part of both the session presenters and the sessions developed. It became clear that scheduled sessions would have to fit into windows of varying time, determined by the departments existing meeting agenda. Based on the questions received back from departments in response to outreach messages, knowledge of the session topics was vague enough that most departments who expressed interest were more inclined towards an overview of the roadshow rather than an in-depth instruction session. At this point the outline was re-examined to increase modularity and enable more mix-and-match functionality to best fit department interest, individual information needs, and time constraints.

In the 2019 spring semester, the dean of the USF Libraries sent an announcement to the deans of the colleges on campus announcing the roadshow. This announcement generated interest and questions that led to further refinement of the roadshow programming. A short, overview program was created to introduce the roadshow as a segment in regularly scheduled department meetings. The overview also pulled out the salient points of both programs as an introduction to the two, more in-depth, tracks. The librarians in charge of the roadshow emphasized in their responses to departmental questions about scheduling, that the length and depth of information could be customized to suit departmental needs, and that the program would be brought to them at whatever gathering or prescheduled meeting would be most convenient. This emphasis on flexibility resulted in a short spot within the semesterly faculty meeting for the College of Education. After that meeting, ten CVs were sent from the faculty of education to the digital scholarship and publishing librarian.

Conclusion

The development of the RPTs immediately before the genesis of the DSS Roadshow provided a way to work with librarians and discipline experts who were embedded within a department. The future expansion of the RPTs should facilitate expansion of scholarly communication and copyright services, as well. The overall response to the sessions offered has been positive. Mitigating circumstances created by institution-wide reorganization resulted in a low uptake by the deans and chairs in the sessions offered to their departments after the announcement was sent by the dean of the libraries. At this juncture, the DSS Roadshow has been provided to only a few different groups. Further departmental meetings and assessment need to be arranged to provide an adequate view of the success of the program. In addition to working closely with the expanding RPTs, the two librarians in charge of the DSS Roadshow will look carefully at the best time to schedule future announcements as well as create personal contact lists from faculty who have used DSS library services in the past.

The DSS Roadshow used the connections that library liaisons had already formed with departments across campus in order to communicate a message about available services, and compliments other forms of outreach at the USF Libraries, such as the DSS website,5 short tutorial videos, and word of mouth. The Roadshow is about taking the message directly to colleges and departments, at either established meetings or specially arranged sessions, and customizing the content to fit the audience needs. Both tracks of the DSS Roadshow, copyright and scholarly communication, are designed to be modular. It is hoped that this format will facilitate conversations about these services in a way that best fits the researcher’s needs and schedules.

Notes

  1. Maryellen Allen and Todd Chavez, “The University of South Florida Libraries’ Evolving Service Model: From ROLES to Research Platform Teams,” Research Library Issues no. 294 (2018): 31-38, https://doi.org/10.29242/rli.294.4.
  2. Mark Schreiner, “Breaking down What USF’s Preeminence Means,” WUSF News, July 3, 2018, https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/breaking-down-what-usfs-preeminence-means.
  3. Maryellen Allen and Todd Chavez, “The University of South Florida Libraries’ Evolving Service Model: From ROLES to Research Platform Teams,” Research Library Issues no. 294 (2018): 31-38, https://doi.org/10.29242/rli.294.4.
  4. Jennifer Duncan, Susanne K. Clement and Betty Rozum, “Teaching Our Faculty: Developing Copyright and Scholarly Communication Outreach Programs,” Common Ground at the Nexus of Information Literacy and Scholarly Communication (2013): 269–85, https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/lib_pubs.
  5. See https://lib.usf.edu/dss/dss-roadshow/and https://guides.lib.usf.edu/c.php?g=5784&p=25779.
Copyright LeEtta Schmidt, Jason Boczar

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