Download the 2019 Review

RLUK has published its annual review covering the 2019 calendar year. The review provides an overview of our work undertaken as part of our current strategic plan, Reshaping Scholarship.

Highlights from the year include:

Digital scholarship: The Digital Scholarship Network (DSN) held its first meeting in January bringing together over 70 colleagues from across the RLUK membership with an interest in the development and delivery of digital scholarship services. The DSN undertook a survey to establish the nature and extent of digital scholarship services offered across the RLUK membership, the infrastructural, skills, and funding requirements of these, and how RLUK members compare to institutions in North America and Ireland. The results from this work were published in the report, Digital scholarship and the role of the research library, which was formally launched at an international symposium in October to formally launch the report. The symposium was hosted by The British Library, and brought together representatives from the international research library community, funders, and academics to discuss areas of potential cross-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration, and the routes and networks through which this might be achieved.

Licensing and copyright: RLUK was an active member of the Copyright for Knowledge Group and the Library and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA), both of which have lobbied Government and the Intellectual Property Of ce for scholarship-friendly copyright reform. RLUK took an active role in supporting LACA’s campaign regarding the loss of the orphan works exemption in the event of a no-deal Brexit and RLUK has been a co-signatory of ministerial letters outlining the importance of the exemption to research libraries. RLUK has also facilitated LACA’s survey of the archive and library community regarding their copyright concerns through their presence at DCDC19 and via its member networks.

Licensing and copyright: We have been active in supporting sector research, including the current use of the CLA licence amongst academic libraries the results of which were published in Understanding the value of the CLA licence to UK higher education. RLUK also supported LIBER’s survey into the copyright and licensing implications of Text and Data Mining via circulation and the collation of responses from its Digital Scholarship Network. RLUK continues to support the development of the UK Scholarly Communications Licence (UK-SCL) as a means of implementing the requirements of Plan S. This has included supporting the establishment and work of four task and finish groups, including in relation to copyright and licensing, and participating in a cross-sector workshop.

Supporting open infrastructure: RLUK has liaised with its members to develop a common position on Plan S by cOAlition S and the review of the UKRI open access policy, and has fed into both initiatives through written submissions, face-to-face meetings, and policy workshops. We have worked closely with IARLA colleagues to coordinate a consistent approach internationally. We also commissioned research to model the costs and financial implications of different open access scenarios for members. A tool has been developed that individual members can use for their own circumstances and which also allows us to provide indicative costs for the whole UK HE sector. This work will feed into our response to the consultation on the UKRI open access policy review.

Digital shift: RLUK has been exploring and establishing the current experiences of our members regarding the digital shift in their collections, operations, and audiences, and creating a long- term vision for the research library. RLUK has been an active partner in the Global Dataset of Digitised Texts project, an AHRC Research Network led by the University of Glasgow, and the Jisc-led Digitisation for Digital Scholarship. RLUK created the Collections Strategy Network (CSN) as a forum through which colleagues can come together to explore the implications of the digital shift on the modern research library collection. A digital shift working group was created, and who are currently working on a ‘manifesto for change’ which offers a vision of the research library in 2030, and a number of tangible actions that RLUK can undertake in order to help members’ realise this vision.

RLUK Space Programme: the Space Programme is an informal programme of events and resources, with an aim to develop a forum where RLUK members can engage in open dialogue and share their knowledge and experience around spatial redesign and capital builds. The first meeting took place at the National Library of Scotland in July 2019, and provided an introduction to the spatial redesign and capital-build work being conducted across the membership, reflecting an increased focus on user experience and a demand for flexible, multi-purpose environments for supporting curriculum and audience engagement activities.

Special Collections Programme: In March, RLUK published the report, Evidencing the impact and value of special collections, which examined the role that unique and distinctive collections play in enabling research libraries to meet their impact goals, and investigated the ways impact resulting through relevant services and activities is evidenced.  In October, the Special Collections Programme webpages were launched on the RLUK website with updated content on the programme activities and its networks. RLUK hosted The Funders Marketplace at DCDC19, which included a panel session that threw a spotlight on three cases of fruitful collaboration between funding and cultural organisations, such as libraries and archives, that led to successful grant applications for supporting collections.