University research strategies make statements about research ambitions, but rarely speak directly about scholarly communications. At the same time, communication of all sorts has become central to a university, whether to support recruitment, present a public profile or respond to events. This chapter seeks to explore the relationship between institutional research strategies and scholarly communications and to see how each may have affected the other and how they might do so in the future. It describes the purpose and structure of an institutional research strategy, and how these are changing. It highlights the linkages between strategy, implementation plans and policies, where the latter encourage desired behaviours. In the context of scholarly communications, the research strategy is the public document in which an institution states its commitment to such forms of communication: that discovering new knowledge and sharing that discovery in meaningful ways are at the heart of the institution. The discussion then moves to the changing nature of scholarly communications, including the Open agenda, and questions how scholarly communications fits into the wider spectrum of institutional communications. The chapter concludes that there has probably been little direct connection between research strategies and approaches to scholarly communications, but that this is changing. Both institutions and individual researchers wish to demonstrate the quality, relevance and accessibility of their research, in order to be attractive to collaborators, funders and employers. Successful institutions will ensure that strategy and scholarly communications activities are mutually supportive, to the benefit of both their researchers and the organization.
How have institutional research strategies affected scholarly communications, if at all?
How have changes in scholarly communications affected institutional research strategies?
This chapter addresses these two questions; and to that end it looks at the recent evolution of the institutional research strategy.
University research strategies (and their parent institutional strategies) have tended not to consider scholarly communication directly. Rather, they have tended to be statements about undertaking high-quality, relevant research and translating it into practice or other beneficial outcomes. It is implicit that the results of research will be disseminated, but little attention is paid to how, why and through what media.
At one level, this is neither surprising nor concerning. Indeed, the academic community might be more worried if their institutional strategy became too prescriptive.