Research is more than publishing a pdf — thoughts from the Charleston Conference

Charleston Conference 2015

Calhoun Mansion in Charleston, SC. Photo credit: Maveric149, Wikimedia Commons. CC-BY-SA

By Deric Corlew, VP of Business Development at Research Square

Last month, I attended the Charleston Library Conference in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina. As in years past, the Charleston Conference provided a great chance to reconnect with colleagues in the publishing world and to make some exciting new connections. But while networking is central to the conference experience, we also took away a few key insights about what’s happening with the communication of research and other information:

  • Researchers share their research. One panel led by Meg White from Rittenhouse Book Distributors focused on the topic of whether researchers share their work and how they do so. The short answer, as anyone with familiarity with academia would expect, is yes. Email is the top method of sharing, with at least 82% of surveyed researchers mentioning that they share their papers this way. Social research sharing sites like ResearchGate were second. Authors have not yet entered this realm in full force because there are a number of such sites, and academics do not necessarily know which is best for them. A second panel outlined new tools for authors and described the use of a Research Marketing department at the University of Huddersfield – an example of how universities continue to find ways to support the sharing of research results. Understanding how and why researchers share their work is essential to knowing how we can help that process, enabling the importance of research to be understood by the widest possible audience.
  • Video content is on the rise. Throughout the conference schedule and the vendor area, there was plenty of evidence that video content is a thriving new way to share information. Several sessions dealt with how libraries could manage streaming video, and several video content platforms like Kanopy and SAGE Video were in attendance. At the moment, videos are a nice change of pace from the written word, but we’re likely to see them become more commonplace soon. At that point, the challenge will be creating effective and engaging video content at the vast scale of the scholarly research that’s done each year.
  • Libraries continue to drive innovation. As budgets shrink and the complexity of electronic tools and resources increases, librarians continue to facilitate change in the university and find creative ways to support researchers. Researchers are faced with challenging decisions about how to disseminate their work – decisions that extend far beyond the basic question of open access versus traditional publishing – and librarians are often the resident experts in publishing and promoting research. The conference also introduced several other publishing innovations coming from universities, including two new approaches to open access by the University of California Press: Collabra, an open access journal that compensates peer reviewers, and Luminos, an open access option for scholarly monographs.  Both efforts work toward a sustainable open access model by contributing a portion of the publication fees toward a fee waiver fund.

There were tons of other great sessions, and you can check out slides from some of them on SlideShare. We’re looking forward to returning next fall to keep an eye out for what’s new with sharing research.

Deric CorlewDeric Corlew is Vice President of Business Development at Research Square. Deric works with the academic and publishing communities to find new ways to partner with researchers and improve the process of disseminating research results. He has a bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology from the University of Washington and a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.