Ink on Our Hands: Mapping the Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem


Kimberly Silk
Canadian Research Knowledge Network

Abstract

The Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) is a consortia of Canadian university libraries dedicated to expanding digital content for the academic research enterprise in Canada. Two themes in the CRKN strategic plan are to 1) collaborate to advance scholarship, and 2) engage members and stakeholders. The Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem (IDSE) project addresses these themes by mapping activities in the Canadian digital scholarship landscape, with a view to understanding the complexity of the landscape, and identifying opportunities to align key stakeholders and providers around a series of shared objectives. This article describes the IDSE project, and how the mapping exercise will provide a lens through which to identify opportunities for stakeholders to coordinate efforts and collaborate on tools, services, programs, and projects.

Keywords: Academic libraries; Collaboration; Coordination; Digital scholarship ecosystem

Kimberly Silk, MLS, is Special Projects Officer at the Canadian Research Knowledge Network, 301-11 Holland Avenue, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1Y 4S1. Email: ksilk@crkn.ca


Introduction

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 stakeholders around a series of shared objectives. Specifically, the IDSE project will inventory and map the existing state of digital scholarship in Canada, and be used as a lens through which stakeholders will foster collaboration and coordination, and implement and sustain key services, programs, and projects. The goal of the IDSE project is to serve faculty, students, and staff at research institutions by maximizing stakeholder value and contributions, and reducing threats such as duplication, overlap, unclear policy, insufficient funding, inadequate expertise, and diffuse focus, which reduce Canada’s impact in the global digital scholarship arena.

CRKN background

The Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) is a partnership of Canadian universities dedicated to expanding digital content for the academic research enterprise in Canada. Through the coordinated leadership of librarians, researchers, administrators, and other stakeholders in the research community, the CRKN undertakes large-scale content acquisition and licensing initiatives in order to build knowledge infrastructure and research and teaching capacity in Canada’s universities. The IDSE project is consistent with the CRKN’s mandate by identifying the wide range of projects, programs, and services across the Canadian academic environment, along with the significant and broad range of expertise that supports these activities.

Conceptualizing the Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem (IDSE)

The concept of the Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem (IDSE) arose out of the CRKN’s 2013–2016 strategic planning process, where the objective to “collaborate to advance digital scholarship” (Canadian Research Knowledge Network, 2013) was first proposed. At the 2013 annual general meeting of the CRKN, members endorsed a proposal to develop an Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem (IDSE) by coordinating and complementing a number of existing and emerging Canadian initiatives.

At its inception, the IDSE project had the following objectives:

  • To advance research capacity and innovation in Canada;
  • To create an integrated digital scholarship ecosystem by coordinating and complementing a number of existing and emerging Canadian initiatives; and
  • To build on demonstrated success in leveraging investment to the Canadian academic community with an agile organizational structure and outside funding.

During 2014, extensive research and consultations were conducted to examine the ecosystem and to contextualize these objectives. A preliminary report in March (Ridley & Pagotto, 2014a) and a final report in July (Ridley & Pagotto, 2014b) identified issues and made observations detailing the CRKN’s opportunities to make a difference in the ecosystem, given that academic libraries are central to digital scholarship and are taking on even larger roles as new technologies, processes, and partnerships emerge. In September 2014, the CRKN Board of Directors responded with “Putting the ‘I’ into IDSE: Roadmap Towards the Vision of the Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem” (CRKN Board of Directors, 2014), which provided the following core recommendations and specific tactics:

  • Prepare a roadmap based on the Board’s vision and member priorities as expressed.
    • TACTIC: Strengthen current and develop new stakeholder relationships.
    • TACTIC: The CRKN will provide a forum for ongoing exchange with and among members.
  • Pursue key opportunities in the areas of open access, digital content, digital stewardship, digital tools, and digital leadership.

With the hiring of a project manager in April 2015, implementation of the IDSE roadmap and associated opportunities was begun.

Understanding IDSE: The IDSE flywheel

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.

The IDSE flywheel (see Figure 1) is a graphical representation of the ecosystem. Existing initiatives can be identified across six categories: commercial e-books and e-journals; spatial and numerical data; digital preservation; research data management; Canadian documentary heritage; and open access e-books and e-journals. Each initiative can also be associated across six attributes: scholarly production; creation, dissemination, access, and discovery; research and development; policies and frameworks; tools and services; and joint ventures. All initiatives comply with four foundational assumptions: robust and sustainable, seamless access, perpetual access and leadership, expertise and technology. Finally, collaboration and coordination are at the centre, and are the hub of the ecosystem.

Figure 1

Identifying and building on community strength

The Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) is a consortia of academic libraries in 75 universities across Canada. Our voting members are the university librarians for each institution, and the CRKN’s many committees and task groups are led by librarians knowledgeable in all areas of academic research, and who collaborate daily with faculty, students, researchers, and senior administrators. Today’s academic library is no longer simply a digital warehouse or procurement service; CRKN librarians possess deep expertise across a broad range of areas, including scholarly communications, copyright, open access, collection development and preservation, and research data management. Academic librarians are uniquely positioned to advance research in Canada by identifying common goals and working together to develop and deliver services and programs to support and strengthen Canadian academic research activities.

IDSE in context: Scanning and mapping the digital scholarship ecosystem

Canada is a large country with a small population, and, in comparison to other global regions, a relatively small number of universities. Canadian academic institutions are publicly funded, which is why collaboration is so critical; public dollars go further and achieve more when the community works together and coordinates to reduce duplication and overlap, and increase impact. Due to how geographically dispersed Canadian institutions are, it’s challenging for the CRKN community to be aware of all the digital scholarship activities in progress across the 75 institutions. To address this challenge, the CRKN’s IDSE project is building an inventory of digital scholarship activities across Canada, and mapping these activities to six categories and associated types of outputs (see Table 1).

Table 1A

The first step required to build an inventory is to conduct an environmental scan to identify activities in the ecosystem. For the IDSE project, the environmental scan process involved building on the considerable catalogue of initiatives that had been identified during the research and consultation phase in 2014. In 2015 and 2016, the environmental scan continued with a goal to discover as many initiatives as possible, acknowledging that capturing all activities is difficult, and maintaining the inventory is an evolving and ongoing process.

During the summer of 2016, the catalogue is being converted to a relational database that will be accessible via a public-facing website offering a searchable, sortable index of digital scholarship initiatives in universities and related organizations across Canada. This website, known as the IDSE Map, will identify how stakeholders currently interact, where new opportunities for coordination and collaboration can be realized, and where duplication of effort can be reduced. The IDSE Map is a tool to identify the connections and relationships among these initiatives and the people and organizations that make them happen.

IDSE in action: CRKN initiatives on the IDSE Map

The Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) undertakes a number of member-driven initiatives that contribute to the digital scholarship ecosystem. Identifying CRKN initiatives on the IDSE Map helps to understand the relationship among the groups participating in these initiatives, and helps to discover areas of expertise, ways to reduce overlap, and identify opportunities for CRKN members to work together.

It is important to note that while this article focuses on CRKN initiatives, CRKN is only one organization of many that are included on the IDSE Map. Organizations include professional associations, industry groups, funding agencies, publishers, scholarly associations, regional consortia, stakeholder groups, and many others. The CRKN initiatives described below (see Table 2) are selected examples of activities in the IDSE Map.

 Table 2A

Table 2B
Table 2C

Future directions

The digital scholarship ecosystem continues to evolve at a rapid rate, and there is an opportunity for academic libraries and librarians to take on an expanded role in the ecosystem. Academic libraries are central to digital scholarship and are taking on even larger roles as new technologies, processes, and partnerships emerge. The IDSE Map is a tool to understand the Canadian ecosystem and to identify opportunities to collaborate, reduce duplication, raise the visibility of expertise in the community, and increase the level of impact in the ecosystem. Increasingly, geography and political borders are no longer limits to collaboration, and even greater impacts can be realized when countries and regions work together toward a common goal. The IDSE Map may evolve to reflect these developments at a global scale.

Conclusion

Through the creation of the IDSE Map, stakeholders who advance and support Canadian research will have a much-needed overview of all the “moving parts” in the ecosystem. By identifying the resulting gaps, challenges, and opportunities, the CRKN can advance initiatives that strengthen the landscape and present shared solutions for common problems. By understanding the IDSE, CRKN will be best able to lead or support in a manner that strengthens Canadian research and furthers the objectives of its members.

Acknowledgement

This article was presented at the January 2016 Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) conference, “New Knowledge Models: Sustaining Partnerships to Transform Scholarly Production,” in Whistler, BC.

References

CRKN. (2013). CRKN Strategic Plan 2013-2016. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Research Knowledge Network.

CRKN. (2013). Institutional mobilization toolkit. Canadian Research Knowledge Network. URL: http://crkn.ca/imtg  [July 7, 2016].

CRKN. (2016). Canadian national digital heritage index. Canadian Research Knowledge Network. URL: http://cndhi-ipnpc.ca/ [July 7, 2016].

CRKN Board of Directors. (2014). Putting the “I” into IDSE: Roadmap towards the vision of the integrated digital scholarship ecosystem. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Research Knowledge Network.

Library and Archives Canada. (2015). Documentary Heritage Communities Program. Ottawa, ON: Library and Archives Canada. URL: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/documentary-heritage-communities-program/pages/dhcp-portal.aspx [July 7, 2016].

Ridley, M., & Pagotto, S. (2014a). Canadian Research Knowledge Network Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem preliminary report. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Research Knowledge Network.

Ridley, M., & Pagotto, S. (2014b). Canadian Research Knowledge Network Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem information gathering & opportunities for consideration report. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Research Knowledge Network.

SCOAP3. (2016). What is SCOAP3? Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics. URL: https://scoap3.org/what-is-scoap3/  [July 7, 2016].


CISP Press
Scholarly and Research Communication
Volume 7, Issue 2, Article ID 0201249, 8 pages
Journal URL: www.src-online.ca

Received August 17, 2016, Accepted July 7, 2016, Published November 8, 2016

Silk, Kimberly. (2016). Ink on Our Hands: Mapping the Integrated Digital Scholarship Ecosystem. Scholarly and Research Communication, 7(2): 0201249, 8 pp.

© 2016 Kimberly Silk. This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.