Fake news to open access: 5 librarians respond to the changes affecting the information industry

Following the annual UKSG conference, a core platform for librarians, publishers, and  information professionals  to discuss the changing academic landscape, we  caught up with five of the SAGE travel grant recipients to get their thoughts on the biggest influences currently affecting both the role and environments of  information professionals.

Amanda Brennan- Academic Liaison Librarian, Glasgow Caledonian University

“While it’s not precisely a change, I think that the recent near ubiquitous focus on fake news presents an exciting opportunity for librarians to take a leading role in combating a very immediate challenge. The nature of our responsibilities as librarians and information professionals was a recurring question that emerged from UKSG 2017 and was a major theme of the final plenary session led by Professor Charlotte Roueché, who stressed that as well as teaching users to find information, we also need to protect access by making good quality knowledge open and accessible to all. Teaching students and other library users to find, evaluate and use information in a critical, ethical manner is something that’s always been at the core of our profession. In the current climate however, this task has become increasingly urgent.”

Mary Murray- Librarian, Leyton Sixth Form College, London

“After three days of being in the company of publishers, librarians and vendors I realised that the most exciting change within in the community is the wide range of roles available to MLIS graduates. From bibliometricians to marketing consultants, the vast range of job titles attending the conference opened my eyes to the different directions I could take if I wanted a change of career. With advancements in scholarly publishing like Open Access, there are opportunities for librarians to upskill and partake in continuing professional development courses in order to work collaboratively with researchers and publishers and be the link between the two.”

Hannah Broadbent- Library Services Assistant and Information Services Librarian, Leeds Beckett University

“In the age of post truth and fake news there is a challenge as to how librarians play their part in the need to disseminate information that is truthful and honest. Charlotte Roueché gave an impassioned talk stating that the chained library is in the past and linked open data is the future, as when reading research, you need to be able to openly access all of the information that is connected to it. The debate after highlighted the need for trusted identities in this world where fake news is prevalent and not just ORCiD but ORCiD credentialing and passporting will be required to be safe in the knowledge that the research is scientific and academic. We need to be ahead of the game and able to see and guide students past visual rhetoric, so much so that it was thought that students may need to be taught discernment so to avoid gullibility and be subversive.”

Amy Campbell- Principal Information Assistant in Collections Maintenance, Leeds Beckett University

“The most exciting changes taking place within the library community include the unstoppable progress of Open Access as a method of enabling all communities to benefit from research.  Related to this is the changing skillset needed by library professionals to support researchers to produce and access these online resources. This gives professionals opportunities to use their IT and analytical skills but in a people-orientated way, which will be challenging and rewarding in equal measure.”

Dominic Walker- Research Support Manager, University of West London

“With the rapid expansion of the range of scholarly communication services, alongside the increasing  number of open access mandates and policies, the librarian’s skillset and knowledge is also shifting. The library community is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities offered by new services (such as altmetrics services, collaborative authoring tools, and pre-print servers). In helping researchers to navigate these, and identifying the most useful and cost-effective, librarians become even more essential in the scholarly landscape.”

Taking place this year in Harrogate (10th-12th of April 2017), UKSG is key conference for the scholarly communications community and SAGE Publishing have been a proud sponsor for over 9 years.  With this sponsorship we are also delighted to be able to offer six travel grants for early career researchers, facilitating their inclusion within industry debates.

Find out more about SAGE’s support of our library partners here.

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