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[ RESEARCH INTEGRITY ] November 16, 2023

What did we learn at the Charleston Library Conference?

By Adam Teitelbaum, Head of Product Marketing

Last week, the Morressier team travelled to sunny and warm Charleston, South Carolina for the Charleston Library Conference. We learned a great deal through conversations with stakeholders across the scholarly communication industry and through an excellent program of sessions. Here are my highlights. 


The challenges and opportunities of decentralization

In session after session, I heard speakers share their experience trying to create change in the scholarly publishing world. Over and over, the same phrase was repeated as an explanation for a slower pace of change, or the struggles to take collective action against a challenge: scholarly publishing is so decentralized. The speaker would then shrug as if to say, that’s just the way it is; we’re doing the best we can. 

Decentralization can make it a real challenge to make meaningful changes to infrastructure, author experience, or research integrity at the system level. But, I was pleased to see how much work is being done to cooperate and collaborate, often through organizations that can bridge the gap between different publishers, such as NISO. Decentralization can also be a powerful tool for innovation, leading to a diversity of ideas and activities that will make this industry stronger. As Judy Verses, President, Academic and Government Markets at Elsevier, described it on Wednesday’s keynote: we need “coopetition,” the perfect blend between cooperation and competition


The continued importance of libraries

The Charleston Library Conference has been around for more than 40 years, and it's clear to me that it's just as important today as those first meetings must have been. At Morressier, we work primarily with publishers and scholarly societies, and this meeting is a critical opportunity to hear from the library community. 

In one favorite session, the Charleston Trendspotting Initiative, we did some small group work to discuss changes happening in this industry, and their consequences - intended or unintended. We sat in a group of mostly librarians, listening to the ways that funding mandates or publisher policies impact libraries and institutions. As we worked through the exercise to map out the implications of change, and then to brainstorm actions we can take to create the futures we want, I was struck at how much we gain by talking and listening in these diverse groups. Librarians are a critical resource for much of the world’s researchers to educate on research integrity practices, train on scholarly publishing, and more. 

We’re interested to talk more with librarians and institutions about their research integrity needs in the coming months. As we learned in our Research Integrity Survey, all stakeholders were unified in their belief that alleviating the pressure to publish would have the greatest impact on improving research integrity. What will the evolving role for librarians and institutions be, to help alleviate that pressure?


More research integrity stakeholders

The Morressier team participated in a panel discussion on Thursday about the various levels of responsibility and accountability when it came to preserving the integrity of the research record. As Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Professor and Coordinator for Research and Teaching Professional Development in the University Library at the University of Illinois, described, librarians used to play a central role in integrity, by determining which publications were high enough quality to purchase for their collections. 

In the world of Open Access, that responsibility has shifted. But, librarians and institutions still have a critical role to play to protect the scholarly record. In that panel, and several others during the conference, we discussed various ways to ensure retractions don’t continue to proliferate through further citations. Without collaboration across different stakeholders, solving this remains a challenge. Publishers need to ensure they are visibly tagging retractions, ensuring that it's easy to discover the context and status of a piece of research. They need to collaborate with aggregators and institutions to ensure that the metadata travels to further formats of the same content, or even in how that content appears in institutional sites. Technology vendors, like Morressier, can make this process easier, and we can create opportunities pre-publication to check new content for retracted citations, to stop the spread of this knowledge. As we learned this week, only 5.4% of citations of retracted research make mention of the fact that the citation has been retracted.



The Charleston Library Conference reignited my conviction that the complexity of stakeholders in the scholarly communication work is a strength. It was inspiring to speak to so many librarians, publishers, technology vendors, and more. For every challenge, there was a new idea for a solution. 

Morressier is proud to be a part of this industry - we know that with “coopetition,” we can move fast and build bold technology to improve trust in science and create a modern, dynamic infrastructure for scholarly publishing. 

guide to research integrity