Future Themes and Forecasts for Research Libraries and Emerging Technologies

“The pandemic drew attention to collaborative and cloud tools to  support the focus on online teaching and research continuity, testing barriers to open data and scholarship. Experiments and improvisations can be expected to continue, with new constraints.

Participants identified immediate responses and anticipated future pressures that will shape the strategies available to research libraries in the near horizon of one to three years, including policy changes and financial changes. Examples of such responses included the “all hands on deck” attempt to protect research continuity, support effective distance education, and provide resources electronically through digitization, open educational resources (OERs), new acquisition and licensing strategies, and data infrastructure….

As faculty mobilized to quickly move instruction and learning support to online venues, resources and services provided by research libraries featured heavily, feeding an already growing expectation in society of openness and access via the internet. This was indicated by the Internet Archive’s suspension of checkout limits on digitized materials, and the use of HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service. One signal of change is the perception that “copyright is out of action” because of the coronavirus emergency, offering a taste of the possibilities of openness. With it, participants detected “a strong sense of convergence across all levels of research funding and infrastructure toward assuming openness as a general condition,” even if, in reality, there’s a long way to go….

The coronavirus pandemic intensified pressures and accelerated experiments and improvisations with technologies—primarily those already available to instructors and researchers—to meet stopgap research and learning needs, including with data and scholarly openness….”