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Libraries On Quicksand : In Search of a Stable and Sustainable Scholarly Environment

Libraries On Quicksand : In Search of a Stable and Sustainable Scholarly Environment

Keynote in ICOLC 2020 European virtual meeting, 23-25 November 2020.

Our world is going under major changes. The current pandemic has shown how fragile are the current establishments, but at the same time it appears as an opportunity to review their efficiency in a post-pandemic world. Libraries have been challenged as well in many aspects, but the profound challenge lies in the fact that the whole scholarly communication system, which influences many of their operations, appears to be a quicksand, an unstable surface that no step can be determined and no decision can be certain. This affects also the research communities that are in search of a new, safe and promising, scholarly communication habitat to trust their work. This talk will address some of the facts that form this unstable situation and, based on experiences from the European, as well as from the Greek context, will illustrate how libraries and their consortia can continue to work for the benefit of their communities.


Giannis Tsakonas

November 23, 2020


  1. Libraries on quicksand in search of a stable and sustainable

    scholarly environment Giannis Tsakonas Library & Information Center, University of Patras LIBER Executive Board | HEAL-Link Board of Directors @gtsakonas ICOLC 2020 European -Virtual- Meeting, November 23-25, 2020
  2. no covid How we see the system with (now) and

    without (later) covid. How things run and where are we heading. How stable is the ground we step on.
  3. 1 the brain

  4. It is not the amount of knowledge that makes a

    brain. It is not even the distribution of knowledge. It is the interconnectedness. James Gleick The Information: 
 a history, a theory, a flood, 2011
  5. entities A system where many agents take part: libraries, publishers,

    societies, funders (and their invisible clusters). Working in a context of limited resources; a context where everyone feels 'endangered.'
  6. links Depictions of reality carry our understanding: vertical structures to

    show rules and power; horizontal to show processes and stages; circular to show repetition. The world as a -multi-layer- network.
  7. motive Openness: considerable growth; far from the desired outcome; with

    reason. Publishers Conservation Consolidated market Broad activities Funders Restoration Agenda opening Instruments of change Scholars Expectation Scholar-led initiatives Support diversity Sustain
  8. None
  9. 2 migration

  10. Not all desires lead to freedom, but freedom is the

    experience of a desire being acknowledged, chosen and pursued. John Berger Hold everything dear, 2007
  11. in motion Migration from one 'area' to another. A new

    scholarly habitat. Flows differ by country, field, area, college, instutition, etc.
  12. Pull (awareness, training, national legislation, funder policies) and push factors

    (impact, prestige, funding, opportunity). in motion National legislation and OA policies in EU (not Horizon2020) by LIBER OA & CLM WGs
  13. sustainability Viable* Simple Rewarding

  14. viable SCOSS (Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services) 2020

    Consortia & State level Funders: Canadian Research Knowledge Network, CAN (24 institutions) Council of Australian University Librarians, AU (11 institutions) FinELib, FI (15 institutions) Unit, NO (26 institutions) French Open Science Committee, FR
  15. LIBER Open Science Roadmap ...all libraries can do something and

    any step - no matter how small - is a step in the right direction. It is no longer a question of if but how.
  16. None
  17. 3 the Greeks

  18. They are a most iniquitous and intractable race, and you

    may take my word as the word of a prophet, when I tell you, that whenever that nation shall bestow its literature upon Rome it will mar everything. Cato Plini the Elder, Historia Naturalis
  19. economy of scale • Economy of scale for access to

    e-content for more than 20 years. • Understand the landscape; broaden scope; join intelligence; ιnstruct to sustain. • Over the years, the consortium has developed systems; now develops common infrastructures and services.
  20. the Greek openness HEAL-Link strategically serves the purpose of Open

    Access and Open Science. OA elements in its agreements; memberships; other possibilities. Suggests to the Council of Rectors and the HQs of Funding Bodies policies that advance Open Science. Partners with every organization that substantially advances openness.
  21. the Scholarly Communication Unit The newest Unit of the consortium;

    operating in Patras. Follow developments; suggest actions; inform responsibly; promote OA. Report on OA progress; first official report to be presented in two weeks. Draft of the first HEAL-Link OA report.
  22. None
  23. .conclusions

  24. This open access to knowledge, these unlocked doors and signs

    of welcome, are a mark of a freedom as fundamental as any. They give a freedom to resolve difference by converse, and, where converse does not unite, to let tolerance compose diversity. J. Robert Oppenheimer Science and the Common Understanding, 1953
  25. beyond covid Library consortia are well placed and well linked.

    Increase intelligence, bottom up and top bottom, to address challenges. Communicate with others; clear the channels and understand. Avoid prejudice and arrogance; one size does not fit all. Test of time.
  26. thank you for your attention.