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Agenda for Developing E-Science in Research Libraries

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This is the Final Report and Recommendations to the Scholarly Communication Steering Committee, the
Public Policies Affecting Research Libraries Steering Committee, and the Research, Teaching, and Learning Steering Committee

E-science has the potential to be transformational within research libraries by impacting their operations, functions, and possibly even their mission. Recognizing this potential, the ARL Steering Committees for Scholarly Communication and for Research, Teaching, and Learning jointly appointed a task force in 2006 to address the emergent domain of e-science. The Joint Task Force on Library Support for E-Science focused its attention on the implications of trends in e-science for research libraries, exploring the dimensions that impact collections, services, research infrastructure, and professional development. Priorities of government funding agencies further shaped the task force's work.

The task force recommends that ARL establish dedicated capacity within the Association to develop a program agenda over time and to build a shared understanding among the membership of the component issues and challenges for library engagement. In addition to the recently appointed program officers (one permanent and another temporary part-time), the report proposes a working group with an initial charge to develop principles that will inform program development. Anticipated programmatic efforts would emphasize: education of the research library community about scientific trends, the emergent role of data curation, characteristics of virtual organizations, relevant policy for data and research dissemination, and tools and infrastructure systems. While the task force focused on e-science, it was mindful of the broader eresearch trends that are shaping research and scholarship in all disciplines.

The task force believes that ARL's engagement in the issues of e-science is best focused on educational and policy roles, while partnering with other relevant organizations to contribute in strategic areas of technology development and new genres of publication. These types of strategic collaborations will also provide opportunities to re-envision the research library's role and contribution as 21st-century science takes shape.

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