Every other year the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee publishes a scan of the higher education environment with a focus on implications for academic libraries. The 2017 Environmental Scan builds on last year’s Top Trends in Academic Libraries and the 2015 Environmental Scan, which discussed other notable topics of interest to the academic librarian community, including student success measurements and open educational resources. Therefore, we have chosen not to repeat those topics in this year’s data. The topics discussed and reviewed in this year’s Environmental Scan include higher education funding and costs, enrolment trends within higher education, evidence-based decision making in academic libraries, information literacy issues, competency-based education, digital preservation, open science, open data, curating research data, scholarly communication issues, open access and collection management trends, collection assessment and evaluation trends, research evaluation and metrics, planning and designing library spaces, and social justice issues related to libraries and higher education.
The report, Open Data: The Researcher Perspective, is the result of a year-long, co-conducted study between Elsevier, the information analytics company specializing in science and health, and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), part of Leiden University, the Netherlands.
The shifts to online and OA continue apace, but neither is causing a sea change in pricing
The shift to digital delivery of serials content has had a profound effect on the information ecosystem. Powerful discovery and social networking tools expose users to an incredibly rich world of commercially produced and open access (OA) content. Most publishers have explored new ways of pricing their content—such as population served, FTE (full-time equivalent), tiered pricing based upon Carnegie classification, or other defining criteria—or the database model, which treats all content within an e-journal package as a database, eliminating the need for title by title reconciliation. However, in the end, the pricing conversation always seems to circle back to the revenue generated by the annual subscription model.Read more
A quick glance at the EDUCAUSE 2017 Top 10 IT Issues reveals something quite interesting: three of those Top 10 IT Issues—Strategic Leadership (#4), Sustainable Funding (#5), and Sustainable Staffing (#8)—have more to do with leading an organization in uncertain times than with technology per se. Sustainability in funding and in staffing are clearly important challenges for any successful IT organization to meet, as is strategic leadership: "repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as a strategic partner with institutional leadership."But what exactly does this mean?
Two other 2017 Top 10 IT Issues – Student Success and Completion (#2) and Higher Education Affordability (#7)—provide some hints. Student success and completion—often measured by GPAs, retention and graduation rates, career placement, and earning potential— is the primary concern of today's higher education, which has begun to operate more like a big business than an institution for public good. The increase in jobs that require postsecondary credential is generating more demand for higher education. Combined with rising...Read more