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Learned societies and open access

By Rob Johnson, 18 Oct 2017 Since 2015, the Universities’ UK Open Access Co-ordination Group has commissioned a bi-annual exercise to monitor the UK’s transition to open access, including the financial health of learned societies. As part of this exercise, I have been working with Professor Robert Dingwall to assess how 30 UK learned societies have fared between 2011 and …

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Building a Mission-Driven Business

By Rob Johnson, 13 September 2016  I describe Research Consulting as a ‘mission-driven business’. This means we deliver work that makes a difference, with the drive and focus of a commercial undertaking.  In practice this can feel like walking a tightrope, where it is all too easy to lean too far in one direction or another. Before I founded the company in 2013, I spent several years working …

Developing a sustainable infrastructure to support open access

5 Jun 2015 With the rapid growth in open-access policies and mandates across Europe and worldwide, shared infrastructure and services are now critical to the efficiency and effectiveness of open access publication. These services include software, platforms, information and data services, and support and advice, without which it would be difficult or impossible for open-access publication at the scale now …

Reaching for the Skies: Research Management in the Middle East

16 Jan 2015 Last weekend I made a trip up the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It was hard not to be impressed, not only by the view, but also at the sheer ambition needed to conceive and execute its construction. At 828m tall, the Burj Khalifa holds virtually all the records going for tall …

Universities and Business – A Tale of Two Cities?

27 Jun 2014                I recently found the time to re-read one of my favourite books, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. (As an aside, it was only stumbling across an old copy that had been gathering dust for decades in my parents’ loft that prompted me to revisit it. In the same way as …

Location, Location, Location – or Excellence?

28 Mar 2014 I left the recent Westminster Higher Education Forum Keynote Seminar on Research and Innovation in the UK with plenty of food of thought.  Several of the contributors rightly questioned whether the UK has been strategic enough in its support for research, and the infrastructure necessary to underpin it.  Never far from the surface was the troubling fact that a nation …

3 Good Reasons to Start Your Own Business

22 Jan 2014 I realised this week that it’s almost exactly a year since I took the decision to set up my own consultancy company.  Reflecting on the last year, one of the main things that has struck me is just how much help and encouragement I have received along the way, sometimes from unexpected quarters.   Of course you need to have …

One hour to save the world

29 Apr 2013 ‘If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.’  I came across this quote from Einstein the other day, and thought what a great reminder it is to really think about the decisions that we make before rushing into them.  The downside is …

Open Access Publishing – Standing out in the Academic Market

9 Apr 2013 I’ve been speaking to a lot of academic publishers recently on how they can adapt their business models, systems and processes to take account of open access.  For those with an interest in the topic, do check out a webinar I contributed to for the Copyright Clearance Centre and these slides on Standing out in the Academic Market, which set out …