Building Strategic Relationships to Advance Open Scholarship at your Institution: Workshop Series on Social Interoperability

Posted: 26-03-2021 Topics: OCLC

“When things work well, it’s about people and relationships.
When things don’t work well, it’s often also about people and relationships.” ~ Academic Dean, United States


Successful advancement of open scholarship initiatives at research universities worldwide is dependent upon collaboration and partnership among many stakeholders from across the institution. The recent OCLC Research Report, Social Interoperability in Research Support: Cross-Campus Partnerships and the University Research Enterprise, emphasizes that the best chance for developing these relationships is to cultivate a deep understanding of potential stakeholders: their responsibilities, pain points, and areas of common interest where engagement can take root and flourish.

However, in the recent OCLC-LIBER Open Science Discussion Series, many librarians reported feeling inadequately equipped to connect with the array of non-library stakeholders essential for open science success, despite the widespread acknowledgement that “open science must be a collective effort.” One participant even stated, “It’s making the connection that is most important…because we don’t know what they need.” A key takeaway from that discussion series was that library practitioners must develop a specific type of soft skill: the ability to create and maintain working relationships between individuals and organizational units that promote collaboration, communication, and mutual understanding. We call this skill “social interoperability.” 

This May, OCLC and LIBER are again collaborating to offer a three-session workshop series exclusively for LIBER members and OCLC Research Library Partnership Affiliates, using both the Social Interoperability in Research Support report and the key takeaways from the OCLC-LIBER Open Science Discussion Series, as a core component of the workshop curriculum. This workshop series is a pilot effort and participation numbers are strictly limited. Our organizations will be working together to assess the pilot and explore if this training exercise can be scaled to support more librarians. 


This three-session workshop series consists of three 90-minute sessions held on three consecutive Tuesdays, beginning on May 4, 2021, at 15:30 CEST (UTC +2) / 9:30 am EDT (UTC -4). Each session will include a combination of presentations and small group discussion activities, facilitated by the authors of the Social Interoperability report and other invited experts, and hosted by LIBER participants. 


Intended Audience

This offering is intended for mid-level library managers and practitioners at research universities who are seeking to further open scholarship and research support efforts across their institution. 


Participant Expectations

  • Participants are expected to have read the assigned materials prior to each session and come prepared to discuss the literature as well as to share their own local experiences. 
  • They are expected to attend and participate in all three sessions. Each session will build on the information provided in the previous session(s). 
  • Seating is extremely limited; please, do not register unless you commit to the above requirements.
  • You will need to register for all THREE sessions separately (see the links to each session below).


Expected Learning Outcomes

Participants should leave this workshop series with:

  1. An understanding of the complex adaptive system of research universities and how this informs relationship development and partnerships
  2. An increased understanding of the specific challenges at their local institutions, and improved identification of the stakeholders they must engage to advance their own programmatic efforts
  3. A prioritized list of strategies and tactics that they will apply toward enhancing their own local social interoperability



WORKSHOP 1 (4 May 2021): Understanding social and structural norms that shape academic institutional collaboration. Register here.

The first session will explore the social and structural norms that shape academic institutional collaboration, particularly examining the model of universities as “complex, adaptive systems.” It will also introduce participants to key institutional stakeholders in research support. Participants will engage in small group discussions about the challenges and barriers to collaboration at their institutions and will begin work to create a mapping of their institutional structures.

Required reading: 

WORKSHOP 2 (11 May 2021): Case studies in successful social interoperability. Register here. 

The second session will examine strategies and tactics that can support successful social interoperability. Participants will discuss several case studies that exemplify successful cross-institutional collaboration in support of open scholarship in order to develop a shared understanding of both the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of relationship development/management.

Required reading: 

WORKSHOP 3 (18 May 2021): Making your plan for developing cross-functional relationships at our institution. Register here. 

In this final session, workshop trainers will offer some additional resources to support participants as they return to their institutions. Participants will share about what they’ve learned, describe what tactics they will adapt for relationship building at their institutions, and develop a list of activities they plan to adopt–and share with others at their institution–to develop stronger cross-campus relationships.

Required reading: 


Important note: You will need to register for all THREE sessions separately.


[‘Handshake’ Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash]