Dr Rupert Gatti (Open Book Publishers)
Traditionally the scholarly community has outsourced the responsibility for disseminating findings to third party publishers. As a consequence neither scholars nor scholarly institutions internalise the dissemination process itself as a fundamental strategic consideration in achieving their research objectives. Digital technology allows scholars and scholarly communities to reconsider this relationship and to integrate dissemination into their broader development strategies. For many scholarly and research institutions financial survival increasingly relies on engaging with, and having their work recognised and appreciated by, numerous different audiences The audiences may be broad and will differ from institution to institution - but typically include students, other research groups, public funding bodies, potential commercial research partners, alumni, professional organizations etc. These audiences may themselves be looking for very different types of information - from general introductions for non-specialists to specific and precise information about research techniques used or data generated. Providing access to 'research' is becoming a multi-faceted issue requiring coordination across many different agents – marketing, legal & PR departments, faculties, libraries, archiving services, data management systems, virtual teaching environments etc. Taking seriously the dissemination of 'results' has the potential to be a powerful strategic tool for both scholars and scholarly institutions - but what will this entail? Which dissemination services will be better outsourced to third party providers and which best provided internally? And who should be making the dissemination decisions? I address these issues, taking examples from Open Book Publishers’ experience of working with different research organisations.