Our conference keynote speakers will inform and inspire delegates and act as a catalyst for discussions about how research libraries can open up paths to knowledge for researchers across the disciplines. For LIBER 2016 we have invited leading voices in the areas of open data, digital tools and scholarship, and national and international research and open science policy, to share their expertise and lessons learned from working at the cutting edge of their fields.


Mia Ridge


Developments in Digital Scholarship

Digital technology has enabled new forms of collaboration, and data and knowledge sharing, but the behaviours of scholars and institutions has been slower to change. While some researchers seek to work with libraries, others collaborate with their peers in more ad hoc or grassroots projects. What can libraries learn from these forms of digitally-inflicted co-operative projects? The prsenter will look at developments in digital scholarship, and consider how the British Library’s core purposes, including custodianship and research, enables it to respond to these changes.

Mia Ridge gained her PhD in digital humanities (Department of History, Open University) with her thesis titled ‘Making digital history: The impact of digitality on public participation and scholarly practices in historical research’. Formerly Lead Web Developer at the Science Museum Group, she has worked internationally as a business analyst, digital consultant and web programmer in the cultural heritage and commercial sectors. She has held international fellowships at Trinity College Dublin/CENDARI, Ireland (2014), the Polis Center Institute on ‘Spatial Narrative and Deep Maps’ (2012) and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media One Week One Tool program (2013), and had short Residencies at the Powerhouse Museum (2012) and the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum (2012). She has post-graduate qualifications in software development and an MSc in Human-Centred Systems. She is Chair of the Museums Computer Group (MCG), and a member of the Executive Council of the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH).



Peter Leonard


Digital Humanities In and Out of the Library

Libraries are increasingly being called upon to help scholars make sense of large quantities of digitized cultural material. Though these institutions are well-versed in many forms of knowledge management and organization, the particular skills demanded by the era of ‘big data’ present a new challenge. Digital Humanities Labs inside research libraries represent one possible pathway for meeting the needs of humanities scholars in the era of text and data mining.  With a focus on Yale’s new DHLab, this talk will explore possibilities around two unique strengths of libraries: special collections and electronic data licensed from commercial vendor.

Dr Peter Leonard is the Director of the Digital Humanities Lab in Yale University Library. He received his PhD in Scandinavian literature from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2011.  Prior to coming to Yale he had responsibility for Humanities Research Computing at the University of Chicago, and was a post-doctoral researcher at UCLA on an award from Google to study the Nordic-language volumes in Google Books. During 2007-2008 he served as a visiting researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden as a Fulbright fellow.



Barbara J. Ryan

GEO Director Barbara Ryan Briefs the Media

Earth Observations and the Importance of Broad, Open Data Sharing Policies

Access to greater knowledge has always been a key tenet of research libraries, and it is this tenet that underpins the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) advocacy for broad, open data policies and practices.  While substantial strides have been made in the last decade, there is still much room for improvement globally.  Forging a stronger alliance between our respective communities could substantially advance the shared goal of access to greater knowledge.

GEO is a voluntary partnership of governments and organisations that was created following the first World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002) in order to better inform environmental decision-making with the use of Earth observations.  Today, in 2016, GEO is comprised of 102 governments and 95 participating organisations with a mandate for, and/or interest in the use of Earth observations.  Together, this GEO community is building a Global Earth Observation System of System (GEOSS) that links Earth observation resources world-wide across a number of Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs).  These SBAs include Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sustainability, Disaster Resilience, Energy and Mineral Resources Management, Food Security, Infrastructure and Transportation Management, Public Health Surveillance, Sustainable Urban Development and Water Resources Management.

While broad, open data policies and practices have always been a key objective of GEO, efforts have redoubled in what is now GEO’s second decade.  Each of the SBAs identified above rely on a myriad of Earth observations collected by organisations and entities too numerous to count.  Unless these organisations and entities adopt more broad, open data policies, the information collected by each is sub-optimised.

In partnership with the International Council for Science (ICSU) Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), GEO recently (2015) developed a paper titled, ‘The Value of Open Data Sharing’, which identifies the benefits and challenges associated with broader sharing of Earth observations.  Topics discussed within the paper include: economic growth, social welfare, research and innovation, education, and effective governance and policy-making.  The presentation at the LIBER 2016 Conference will explore each of these in more detail.

Barbara J. Ryan is Secretariat Director of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) located in Geneva, Switzerland.  In this capacity, she leads the Secretariat in coordinating the activities of 101 Member States, the European Commission and 92 Participating Organisations that are striving to integrate Earth observations so that informed decisions can be made across eight Societal Benefit Areas,  Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sustainability, Disaster Resilience, Energy and Mineral Resources Management, Food Security, Infrastructure & Transportation Management, Public Health Surveillance, Sustainable Urban Development and Water Resources Management. Before becoming GEO Director in July 2012, she served as Director of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Space Programme with responsibility for coordinating space-based observations to meet the needs of WMO Members in the topical areas of weather, water, climate and related natural disasters. Before joining WMO in October 2008, she was the Associate Director for Geography at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Reston, Virginia, where she had responsibility for the Landsat, remote sensing, geography and civilian mapping programs of the agency.  It was under her leadership that implementation of the Landsat data policy was reformed to release all data over the internet at no additional cost to the user — an action that has resulted in the global release of more than 25 million Landsat scenes to date. She holds a Bachelor´s degree in Geology from the State University of New York at Cortland, a Master´s degree in Geography from the University of Denver, and a Master´s degree in Civil Engineering from Stanford University. She was recently awarded an an honorary doctorate of science degree from the State University of New York at Cortland.


Ralf Schimmer


Open Access 2020: Initiatives for Large-Scale Transition to Open Access

Over the course of the last ten to fifteen years, open access has become a shared vision of many, if not most, of the world’s national and international research councils. Open access as a principle is very well established in the international discourse on research policies; however, open access as a practice has yet to transform the traditional subscription-based publishing system, which is as vigorous and prosperous as ever, despite its inherent restrictions on access and usage and its remarkable detachment from the potentials of a 21st-century web-based publishing system. OA2020 aims to bring a new approach to the transactional side of the publishing system and the ways in which its cash flow is organized. The goal is to achieve on a larger scale what SCOAP3 has successfully done for some core journals in the field of High-Energy Physics: to convert journals from subscription to open access by re-directing the existing subscription spend into open access funds, and from these to finance the essential services that publishers provide for scholarly communication, i.e. the administration of peer review, editing, and open access article dissemination. OA2020 would enable an orderly transformation of the current publishing system, since the disruptions would affect only the underlying cash flows, rather than the publishing process itself or the roles of journals and publishers. The bonus is open access to research results from the moment of their publication. This presentation will describe the philosophical and practical considerations of this initiative and how momentum is expected to build up.

Dr Ralf Schimmer, as Head of Scientific Information Provision at the Max Planck Digital Library, is responsible for the electronic resources licensing programme for the entire Max Planck Society and for a broad range of Open Access and other information services. He has been a frequent co-organiser of the Berlin conferences on Open Access since 2003 and manages the Open Access publication charge agreements of the Max Planck Society. Currently, he is Chair of the Governing Council of SCOAP3, the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics, and the project manager for ‘Open Access 2020’, the Max Planck-initiated Open Access transformation initiative. He also serves on a variety of national and international committees and is a frequent member of the library advisory boards of publishers.


Riitta Maijala


Joining Networks in the World of Open Science

Digitalization has embedded itself into research processes, often in many revolutionary ways. Currently, when most data collection, analyses and reporting have now been digitalized, the new era of the second digital revolution of science and research calls for the open distribution of research outputs. In many ways, open science – or its expectations – deeply challenges the consolidated roles of researchers, publishers and research organisations. Research funding agencies, such as the Academy of Finland, aim for high quality and impact in science and research. Considering the many benefits open science can provide, it is not surprising that an increasing number of research funding agencies are establishing open science policies. It is, however, essential to anticipate the potential impacts of decisions in different research fields and on the research system as a whole. In order to be successful, actions need to be adjusted to the national and international situation in co-operation with formal and informal networks. Cohesive networks are needed for coordinated actions and support whereas bridging networks can provide new approaches and novel information. For instance, even if it is difficult reliably to trace Open Access articles published from work supported by a funder, co-operation with research libraries can help to solve this problem. On the other hand, the requirements set by research funders for researchers to make their research data and methods freely available increase pressure on research organisations to enhance their culture and services for open science. Joining formal and informal networks can provide a strong basis for the development and implementation of open science.

Professor Riitta Maijala, Executive Director of the Academy of Finland, leads on  thematic research funding, including strategic research funding and Academy programmes.  Before joining the Academy of Finland, she led the Science Policy Section of the Department of Higher Education and Science Policy in Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture. She was responsible for preparing and implementing strategies for science, research and innovation policies and the use of scientific knowledge. She has also worked as a researcher, lecturer, professor and in leading positions in scientific and decision-making organisations such as the European Food Safety Authority, the Finnish Food Safety Authority, the Finnish Veterinary and Food Research Institute and the University of Helsinki. She has chaired and been a member of many national and international groups. Currently, she chairs the Strategic Steering Group for the Open Science and Research Initiative and is Vice-Chair of the National Committee of Research Infrastructures. (Photo: Deski.fi)