Addressing the Grand Challenges of Scientific Communication

March, 2009
Chicago Collaborative: New Working Group Will Address the Grand Challenges of Scientific Communication

CHICAGO – A working group called the Chicago Collaborative has been formed to facilitate conversations and learning regarding the grand challenges of scientific communication in the 21st century. At the invitation of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL), representatives of library, publishing and editorial organizations have come together to work collaboratively through dialog and education on high-level scientific communication issues affecting publishers, libraries and editors.

The intent of the group is to focus on broad views that may transcend individual library, publisher, editor or author perspectives, so that each becomes better informed before making decisions that may have unexpected effects on the STM academic communities. Recognizing that trust is an essential ingredient to open dialog and learning, the word “collaborative” was chosen to represent the spirit of the new working group emphasizing shared purpose, shared constituencies and development of a shared understanding of the major issues in scientific communication. Chicago was the location of the first two meetings of the new group.

“ALPSP strongly supports the Chicago Collaborative” said Ian Russell, Chief Executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers. “Its objectives fit squarely with our aim to facilitate a sensible and pragmatic dialogue between the various stakeholders in the scholarly communication chain.”

Association representatives to the Chicago Collaborative will represent the sponsoring association rather than a specific publisher or library employer. This structure differentiates the working group from existing groups and helps focus discussion on high level scientific communication issues.

Part of what was driving the formation of the task force was the feeling among some of us that in order to create communication systems for the future that will effectively address the needs of all of the various stakeholders, we, as directors of health sciences libraries, needed to find areas of common ground with publishers and ways to engage with each other outside of the adversarial relationships that have tended to characterize much of the discussion surrounding scholarly communication issues over the past several years” said T. Scott Plutchak, who is the Director of Lister Hill Health Sciences Library, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and an AAHSL representative to the Chicago Collaborative.

Building sustainable conversations based on openness and educating key joint constituencies about scholarly communication issues are goals that will direct future activities of the working group.

Initial Chicago Collaborative Organizations:

Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (administrative sponsor)
Association of American Medical Colleges, Council of Academic Societies
Association of American Publishers, Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology/DC Principles
International Association of Science, Technical & Medical Publishers
International Committee of Medical Journal Editors
Society for Scholarly Publishing

Press release (PDF format)

For more information: Please contact Margaret Reich, Chicago Collaborative Operations Manager,  

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