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How publishers and librarians can support early career researchers in a changing publishing landscape

Charlotte Mathieson University of Surrey

Early career researchers (ECRs) are keen to publish their work for many reasons, from becoming established in the field to improving employability in a competitive job market. At the same time, they face many and changing challenges, such as understanding the different routes into publication; having the time and resources to research and write; and navigating wider contexts such as the Research Excellence Framework and Open Access requirements. Publishers and librarians are well-placed to support ECRs, and in turn can benefit from better understanding the ECR experience of the publishing landscape, and in this talk I will suggest strategies for successful partnership.

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How publishers and librarians can support early career researchers in a changing publishing landscape

  1. 1. Supportingearly career researchers in a changing publishing landscape Dr Charlotte Mathieson University of Surrey c.mathieson@surrey.ac.uk @cemathieson
  2. 2. OVERVIEW  The broader context:  Early career researcher experiences  Challenges:  Identifying and partnering to overcome  Examples of best practice:  Successful strategies for the future
  3. 3. 1.THE BROADERCONTEXT Early career researcher experiences
  4. 4. What is an early careerresearcher?  Funding council definitions = up to 8 years (e.g. AHRC, ESRC)  Postdoctoral fellowships = 3-5 years (e.g. Leverhulme, British Academy)  REF 2021= output reduction from overall pool determined by meets the core eligibility criteria for category A staff (“significant responsibility for research”) and started careers as independent researchers – i.e. undertaking self- directed research rather than e.g. research assistant – on or after 1st of August 2016.
  5. 5. What is a typical ECR path? My background  2007-10: PhD, University of Warwick (viva 2011)  Jan 2011 – Oct 2012: hourly-paid teaching, marking, invigilation, academic writing and 1-1 tuition, A-level tuition, short term research fellowship, research assistant on project bid, work on University projects supporting ECRs, freelance proofreading, etc etc…  Oct 2012 – Sept 2013: 0.6 FTE project fellow at Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick; plus hourly-paid teaching  Sept 2013 – Sept 2015: 2 years further in post at 100% FTE  Sept 2015 – July 2016: 10-month teaching fellowship at Newcastle University  August 2016 – present: Lecturer in English Literature at University of Surrey, permanent R&T position
  6. 6. Thechallenges of ECRcareerpaths Key points  A highly competitive job market;  A period of precarity is common, and increasingly longer;  Multiple, short-term contracts across institutions are typical; posts are often teaching rather than research focused;  Competing demands of long-term goals (publishing, funding) vs short-term needs (staying employed);  Readjustment period into permanent post: becoming institutionalised; increased teaching and admin responsibilities; capacity for long- term planning; opportunities for collaboration.
  7. 7. Motivations for ECRs to publish What are the priorities?  Employability: obtaining and sustaining;  Becoming known and established in the field;  Creating and becoming part of networks;  Making research visible.
  8. 8. 2.Challenges of ECRpublishing Identifying and partnering to support ECRs
  9. 9. Challenge1: publishing strategy What/when/where to publish ECRs are balancing decisions that all researchers face around:  quality (peer-reviewed, high impact/prestigious publisher)  speed of publication (publisher turnaround)  quantity (overall publication profile)  the REF…
  10. 10. Challenge 1: publishing strategy continued… Key changes from REF 2014 for ECRs:  Decoupling: output reduction applies at unit rather than individual level;  Output requirements/adjustments therefore less clear at individual level;  Portability: in place this time but…proposed changes for next cycle will have big impact on ECR publishing strategy. What does REF 2021 mean for ECRs?
  11. 11. Challenge1: publishing strategy continued… REF complicating factors…  Employability and REF integrally bound up;  But: not a straightforward mapping of REF requirements onto employability expectations:  Publishing expectations vary across disciplines  Arts & Humanities: monograph + 1-2 articles  Sciences & Social Sciences: articles in high-impact journals  ECR REF reduction vs. competitive job market;  Different institutional REF strategies;  ECRs may receive conflicting/confusing advice and lack time and resources to fully understand.
  12. 12. Challenge1: publishing strategies continued… So what do ECRs need?  Clear and accessible/understandable information relevant to career stage, and not institution specific;  Information about Open Access with a focus on how-to;  Advice that looks at how to map the REF against other publishing factors (quality, quantity, timing);  Information about the timescales and practices of different publishers;  Advice from “those in the know” as well as peer experiences of the process.
  13. 13. Challenge1: publishing strategies continued… Could you…  Provide resources around the REF and open access, e.g.: online resources, running a workshop, hosting a virtual Q&A?  Offer one-to-one support e.g. a publishing clinic or drop-in sessions?  Provide resources for ECRs on the publishing process at your publisher, or advice from book series/journal editors on getting published, or experiences of your authors on their first publication?
  14. 14. Challenge2: time and resources The challenge…  ECRs need publications for employability but lack the time and resources to get them written…  Time: fixed-term posts often teaching heavy with little time for research; applying for jobs is time consuming;  Resources: access to library resources can be difficult for non-affiliated ECRs/those moving frequently;  Costs for publication e.g. images can be prohibitive if at the researcher’s own cost.
  15. 15. Challenge 2: time and resources continued… Could you…  Provide a small research grant for work towards specific publication output e.g. article for your journal?  Help ECRs identify sources of funding for research and writing?  Help with access to resources e.g. library affiliation?  Provide small grants to cover publication fees?  Use virtual platforms to support ECRs in carving out research time e.g. run a weekly “just write” session or a troubleshooting online chat?
  16. 16. Challenge 3: getting work visible The challenge…  ECRs have the skills to research and write but don’t necessarily know how to make their work visible;  Visibility is important for increasing publication impact for all researchers, and especially so for ECRs looking to increase employability;  ECRs can benefit from guidance and training in maximising the reach and impact of their publications.
  17. 17. Challenge3: getting work visible continued… Could you…  Provide resources around maximising publication visibility e.g. how to increase title/keyword impact, using social media channels effectively, and similar strategies, perhaps through a workshop or online resources?  Direct ECRs who publish with you towards resources or tips for publication visibility?  Create networking opportunities for ECRs and established colleagues e.g. bringing together authors around a similar theme such as a book series, or providing an online forum sharing best practice ideas?
  18. 18. 3. Examples of bestpractice
  19. 19. Wiley Author Services https://authorservices.wiley.com/author-resources/index.html
  20. 20. Wiley Author Services: webinar https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/11201/221041
  21. 21. Palgrave Macmillan ECR hub https://www.palgrave.com/gp/why-publish/early-career-researcher-hub
  22. 22. Royal Historical Society http://royalhistsoc.org/early-career-historians/
  23. 23. Thank you & questions Dr Charlotte Mathieson c.mathieson@surrey.ac.uk @cemathieson