Open not shut case (1 of 2)

September 27, 2012

I disagree with your interpretation of Moving towards an Open Access Future: The Role of Academic Libraries ("Working on borrowed time?", News, 13 September). The report does indeed indicate changes in the future role of academic librarians, many of which are already being addressed by the profession: however, it certainly does not predict their redundancy.

Librarians are already adopting new roles, such as managing open-access repositories, explaining publishers' charges and embargoes, considering the nature of "collections" in a global context, and advising on what the report calls "the broader information chain". Research Libraries UK is currently sponsoring several strands of work in these areas.

Open access is one of many changes in the publication process for scholarly information and has been supported by librarians for many years as a result of the benefits it offers research.

Librarians are able to advise on the questions that matter: which are the "best journals", what are their publishing models ("green", "gold", hybrid), what are their charges, do they comply with funding body mandates? Increasingly, they are working collaboratively to reduce the routine administrative work in libraries so that they can focus on the unique, distinctive collections that universities hold but that are as yet anything but open, because they have never been catalogued: the creation of metadata for such collections is essential to make them known.

Librarians do not choose a "quiet life", but they do want an open one.

Janet Peters, Chair of Research Libraries UK, Director of libraries, Cardiff University

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