Before my freelance career, I worked for many years in the marketing department of an academic publisher. Most years, in common with other publishers, we’d hold a meeting with a panel of librarians that we called our Library Committee meeting. This came to be one of my favourite things to do – asking questions and hearing about the challenges and realities of life within different universities. Also observing how providing this space didn’t just serve us in terms of having our questions answered and gleaning views on new product offerings or business models, but also allowed the librarians to hear how others managed common issues or were planning to tackle upcoming challenges.
It’s very easy for those of us privileged to be able to attend scholarly communication conferences and events to assume librarians are always talking together about their work but many don’t have the budget to attend. Library committee and focus groups can be a valuable space to do catch up with peers on all sorts of current issues.
I fell into the scholarly communication world 20+ years ago and have stayed in it because it is valuable and interesting work with some great people. I have been freelance for three years and some of my favourite work has been helping develop and facilitate focus groups on behalf of publishers as well as analysing the data afterwards and providing recommendations. It’s enabled me to learn about areas I hadn’t known well before (e.g. monograph publishing in the social sciences) as well as explore current views on pressing issues (peer review models or open access within the humanities). In my freelance career to date, I have enjoyed conducting research with authors, editors, students and researchers as well as librarians.
If you are working in scholarly communication (as a librarian, researcher, or lecturer for example) and think you’d like to be involved in future research, do submit your details.
Finally, if you are an organisation that might be interested in discussing a project or informally discussing the need for customer insight, do get in touch for an informal conversation.