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The Editors, Lorraine and Steve

Here in the UK, the nights are drawing in and the autumnal colours are blazing all around us, making what has been an extremely challenging year feel a little cheerier. The world has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic and our thoughts go out to anyone whose lives and families have been affected by the virus. However, everyone in our community has been working to maintain some semblance of normality, whether that be from home, in their office, or even during temporary breaks from their working environments.

We’ve taken our usual summer break in the publication schedule, though we’re sure that not many of you will have been able to jet off for your usual summer vacations this year, the team here at Insights have been working diligently to maintain our steady flow of authoritative and informative articles to furnish you with some fascinating reading through the winter months.

While the world has been struggling to deal with the global Covid-19 pandemic, we have been extremely grateful to all those authors who have continued to write for us during these extraordinary times and have felt grateful to have been able to offer a channel through which we can facilitate the continuance of some form of ‘normal’ activity.

We have been able to bring you some really stimulating articles over the last few months. In his article “OA and author rights: questioning Harvard’s open access policy” Patrick H. Alexander presents us with a thought-provoking personal view of Harvard’s open access (OA) policy, which many institutions have used as a template for their own OA policies, arguing that it fundamentally undermines the rights of scholars, researchers, authors and university staff, and contradicts one of the  key principles of open access – that authors should control the intellectual property rights to their own works. We’re sure that this article will stimulate some very interesting debate within the community.

Earlier in the summer we published a couple of very practical articles, looking at two key areas of activity within university libraries – namely, copyright and transnational education (TNE). We began the summer with Ian Scott Collins and Irene Barranco Garcia and their article, “UK university libraries supporting transnational education (TNE) partnerships”, which outlined the development and delivery of transnational education (TNE) in UK institutions and how libraries are supporting this. They reflect on findings from a library survey and event, and argue that “… whilst licensing of electronic content for TNE programmes is a key focus for both partners in a TNE relationship, effective library support for quality TNE provision also necessitates good internal and external communication and collaboration”.

When we returned after our summer recess, we launched with Claire Sewell, John Clarke and Amy Theobald’s “Copyright life hacks for librarians”, which offered some really useful ‘life hacks’ for librarians struggling to get their colleagues and communities engaged with copyright. Using their own experience at Cambridge University Libraries , the authors presented some really simple measures, aimed at even the most reluctant copyright learner, which can be implemented with little or no cost and using existing resources.

As always, we have looked around the world to bring you authors and articles on topics of interest to the global scholarly communications community, and were pleased to welcome a submission from Fayaz Ahmad Loan and Ufaira Yaseen Shah from the University of Kashmir, who used the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) to identify and analyse the collection diversity of electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) repositories,  basing their research on key parameters such as regional distribution, subject classification, language diversity, etc. before going on to identify the key management issues around collection management, software management, content management and metadata policies. We are pleased to publish the results of their research in their article, “Global electronic thesis and dissertation repositories: collection diversification and management issues”.

As many of us head into a winter filled with the prospect of long dark nights and more local or national lockdowns, it is heartening to see how quickly and how robustly the community is adapting and responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. We were really pleased recently to be able to bring you an article by Alan Carbery, Helen Fallon and colleagues who present us with a great overview of how Irish libraries have been responding to the Covid-19 crisis. But there is still much uncertainty in the community, and many things that we cannot yet know resulting from the current pandemic. We are looking forward to publishing a stimulating article by Alicia Wise and Frances Pinter, each experts in their own field, in which they attempt to anticipate what impact Covid-19 might have on OA publishing of both books and journals.

Beyond that, we can look forward to Rita Pinhasi’s fascinating look at how Plan S and transformative deals are likely to affect research at the University of Vienna. Lisa Olsson pays us a return visit, following up her recent article “Cancelling with the world’s largest scholarly publisher: lessons from the Swedish experience of having no access to Elsevier”, examining how Swedish research behaviour was affected by the loss of access to Science Direct. And, at a practical level, Mary Dunne will be taking a look at how librarians can promote and leverage their ‘social capital’, that little extra that comes from their knowledge, experience and professional connections, to the benefit of their  stakeholder networks.

So, there is plenty to look forward to in these otherwise gloomy times. Don’t forget that Insights remains a constant through the ever-changing world in which we are all living and working, so if you feel like writing for us, please do get in contact:


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