PLC 2018: Day 4, Afternoon Session

Blog Post by Cecilie Møldrup

The afternoon sessions on day 4 began with a talk by local librarian Mari Ekman, from the Rovaniemi City Library. She was presenting a local project about crowd funding. The name of her talk was “Archives and libraries of the people, by the people, for the people.” Ekman’s speech was centred on the concept of niche sourcing. Niche sourcing is subgenres of crowd sourcing where you get experts or amateurs with special knowledge to help the library with certain collections.
By doing the project with a smaller group of more committed people, you get better quality and ensure the authority of the work and the institution.
She presented an interesting project they had done here at the Rovaniemi City Library with a collection of maps. The maps were very rare and of a small area called Petsamo. They were from the 1920s-1930s and had been forbidden by the Soviet Union. Now they were no longer forbidden and needed to be made available and usable online for researchers. The participants of this project were amateur historians and elderly professionals, who digitalized the maps. The Library was only the facilitator and did no quality control. See the result of the project in Finnish at: http://Lapinkavijat.rovaneimi.fi/petsamo.

Then the afternoon turned its focus to publishing and the dilemmas of Open Access publishing. First, a talk was given by Peter Lund from the Scott Polar Research Institute: “Where researchers at the Scott Polar Research Institute are publishing and the implications of the associated Article processing charges(APCs) incurred.”
He started out by giving us an impression of the changing landscapes of publishing in general. He described how Open Access is dictated from many sides and he also mentioned the serials  crisis, where costs go up for subscriptions. Then the talk got more specific, as we were told the top 12 places where researchers at the Scott Polar Research Institute publish. The journals in this top 12 were primarily Open Access or hybrid between subscription and Open Access. This, he concluded, drove the prizes of subscriptions up and the cost of APC is rising too. His final conclusion was that we need to have an institutional knowledge of the total costs of publishing Open Access.

After Peter’s presentation, the Lapland University Press did a presentation with many overlapping subjects. The talk was called “Northern non-profit book publisher within the global network,” given by Anne Koivula and Paula Kassinen. They told us that Lapland University Press is a small, non-profit academic publisher, established in 2005. Their publications are primarily in Finnish, but they also publish in English. The books they publish are mainly multidisciplinary. They said that everything is changing, everything is becoming open and free. This is good in many ways, but it presents a problem for the business model. Open Access is profitable for multinational companies, like Elsevier, but small publishers have a hard time keeping up. One way that small publishers could survive is if academic communities take steps to insure the integrity of the industry. This would mean that the academic communities take steps to ensure the integrity of peer-review and open science, open data, and open research. Open access publications have major benefits for small academic publishers through visibility, discoverability and global distribution, but no clear business model has presented itself yet.

The last presentation was by Scott Forest from University of the Arctic, also known as UArctic. UArctic is a network association of university members and others, such as PLC. UArctic works on bringing people together from the Arctic region to share knowledge. Its primary focus is collaborations and powerful networks. UArctic has 200+ member institutions and persons, an exchange program called North2north, a study catalogue, and 45+ thematic networks. The theme of the talk was the challenges of showing impact. UArctic facilitates networks, but they don’t produce concrete results and, if they do, it is hard to connect the results to UArctic. They are working on having more measurable results right now. There will be a UArctic Congress Sept.3-7 at Oulu and Helsinki. Read more at: www.uarctic.org.

We ended the day with the PLC Business Meeting. It began with the announcement of the William Mills Prize winner. The committee was not present, but they sent a statement. There were 26 nominations and the winner is the book (and associated Smithsonian exhibition) Narwhal, revealing an Arctic legend. The committee noted that the book was very comprehensive and extensive.

We also added three members as Honorary Members of the PLC. Shannon Christoffersen nominated Ross Goodwin,  Sandy Campbell and Daria Carle nominated Ron Inouye, and Laura Kissel nominated Julia Finn. All the nominees are now honorary members.

Peter Lund took over as Chair for Shannon Christoffersen, who is now Past-Chair. Andrew Gray and Laura Kissel remain in their positions of Treasurer and Secretary, respectively. Susanna Parikka is our new Chair-Elect All Ex-Officio positions are maintained with the addition of Stefano Biondo and Joe Bouchard as the new PLC 2020 hosts. We also have two new Members At-Large: myself, Cecilie Møldrup, and Bolethe Olsen, joining Shelly Sommer and Liisa Hallikainen.

It was also announced that Quebec City is the PLC 2020 location. Other formalities were taken care of during the meeting, but you can read more about that in the secretary’s notes.

We ended the day at a beautiful three-course dinner at a private island where we also had this year’s auction.

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