S+R Blog

Addressing the current issues that impact higher education.

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December 19, 2014

Innovation in Teaching and the Freedom to Teach

Last year the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released a statement on the freedom to teach which asserts several rights for faculty, including the right to determine the texts and assessments within their courses. While recognizing that “common course syllabi and examinations are… typical,” the statement emphasizes that these “should not be imposed by departmental or administrative fiat.” 
 
Our newest issue brief, “Exploring the Contours of the Freedom to Teach,” considers the potential impact of AAUP's statement on the Read More...

December 19, 2014

Lawrence S. Bacow

December 17, 2014

Does Online Learning Have a Role in Liberal Arts Colleges?

Liberal arts colleges are known for low professor to student ratios, intimate seminar classes and highly personalized undergraduate experiences. On the surface, it is not obvious how online learning fits with this picture. But these days liberal arts colleges face many of the same pressures as larger universities – resource constraints, the growth of non-traditional students with more extracurricular responsibilities, even uncertainty about how a liberal arts education should evolve to stay relevant in a digital world. There is an urgent need Read More...

December 17, 2014

Rebecca J. Griffiths

December 11, 2014

Harnessing the Power of Technology at Public Research Universities

Public research universities face financial, legislative, and academic pressures to increase access to higher education, make it more affordable, and improve the learning outcomes of their students. Can technology help these institutions meet these challenges?
 
Our researchers at Ithaka S+R, with funding from Lumina Foundation, undertook a study over the course of the 2013/2014 academic year to understand the current environment for public research universities. We interviewed 214 individuals, including academic administrators, directors of Read More...

December 11, 2014

Deanna Marcum

December 10, 2014

What Role(s) Should the Library Play in Support of Discovery?

This week's CNI meeting featured a variety of thought-provoking sessions on the digital issues facing academic libraries today, including privacy and preservation. I facilitated a session on Monday afternoon on discovery, using my recent issue brief on the topic to ask the question, “What Role(s) Should the Library Play in Support of Discovery?”
 
While participants shared mixed views about the value of indexed discovery services at their institutions, with some expressing the sense of their real value especially for undergraduates, no doubt Read More...

December 10, 2014

Roger C. Schonfeld

November 25, 2014

Shaking It Up!

Yesterday, I attended a symposium sponsored by Digital Science, Harvard, Microsoft, and MIT, called “Shaking It Up: How to thrive in – and change – the research ecosystem.” I made the trip to attend this event in person because I am focusing some attention on serving the sciences right now, and the sessions featured a remarkable array of mostly new initiatives in support of scientific research and scholarly communication. 
 
The opening keynote featured an appropriately pointed but ultimately inspirational talk by CrossRef’s Geoffrey Bilder, Read More...

November 25, 2014

Roger C. Schonfeld

November 20, 2014

The Spaces Between—Notes from the Charleston Conference

At the Charleston Conference, Ithaka S+R hosted a session on “The Spaces Between,” which was intended to explore our communities’ needs for research that fall between the traditional boundaries of library, publisher, and vendor. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, these spaces can prove themselves to be cracks into which important issues fall unnoticed, or opportunities to build connections between communities with ultimately many shared interests.
 
Our panel consisted of Joe Esposito, an independent publishing consultant, Susan Stearns, Read More...

November 20, 2014

Deanna Marcum

November 20, 2014

Upcoming Evidence-Based Decision-Making Workshops

Ithaka S+R offers a program of workshops to support libraries that wish to make evidence-based decisions on some of the biggest issues they face. These workshops support libraries in structuring strong decision-making processes that incorporate a diverse base of evidence, including survey findings, qualitative research, usage data, budget information, and other evidence. In the coming months, we are offering these in New York City, Chicago during ALA Midwinter, and Portland, Oregon before the ACRL conference. Follow the links below for more Read More...

November 20, 2014
November 18, 2014

Studying Sales/Acquisitions Channels

Last week, Joseph Esposito announced on The Scholarly Kitchen a new research project in partnership with Ithaka S+R to study changing channels through which publishers sell to libraries and libraries acquire from publishers. We believe that the mechanisms for book sales/acquisitions are changing to some degree, especially at smaller libraries, with real implications both for the print and digital marketplace. We are thrilled to be launching this project in partnership with Joe, and grateful to the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Read More...

November 18, 2014

Roger C. Schonfeld

November 16, 2014

The Meaning of Collections: Ownership, Access, and the Scholarly Ecosystem

A couple of weeks ago, while attending the Harvard Library Visiting Committee meeting, I participated in an amazing discussion of collection development strategies. I heard Harvard librarians saying that Harvard can no longer collect everything, indeed, shouldn't collect everything, and needed to build strong collaborative relationships so that Harvard scholars and students would be able to find the resources they need to do their work. This view—access is more important than ownership—is not new among other academic and research libraries, Read More...

November 16, 2014

Deanna Marcum

November 13, 2014

Information Literacy and Research Practices

Yesterday, ACRL released the third draft of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and called upon the community to provide additional feedback. 
 
Against this backdrop, our latest issue brief is particularly timely. In "Information Literacy and Research Practices," Nancy Fried Foster, Ithaka S+R's senior anthropologist, demonstrates how "researchers in the wild" are adhering to many of the goals described in the draft Framework. While recognizing that the move away from the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Read More...

November 13, 2014

Nancy Fried Foster

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