Call for papers 2019

Reshaping scholarship: transformation, innovation, and cultural change

The RLUK Conference brings together library and other professionals from across the UK, Ireland and beyond to discuss the leading issues affecting research libraries.

Reshaping Scholarship reflects RLUK’s commitment to achieve transformations in research, innovation in collections, and cultural change in our institutions.

RLUK19 will explore two essential areas that drive the modern research library: its role in advocating for, and facilitating, open scholarship; and how the library is adapting their offer to serve the dynamically changing needs of collections and their users.

Open scholarship and the openness agenda are transforming the way in which knowledge is being created, discovered, used, and shared. We have seen the emergence of new innovative models of scholarly publishing, including an increase in academic-owned presses, and new thinking around the possibilities that open data, digital publishing, and unrestricted access to the scholarly record can bring.

With this change come new challenges, but also opportunities, around copyright, digital scholarship, our service provision, and a move towards cross-institutional, national and global solutions to shared problems.

A collective approach considers how we reshape our collections by adapting our spaces, skills and services to manage more dynamic materials. More importantly we seek to understand and map the dynamic ways in which collections enrich research.

The development of audience-focused strategies for collections has led to increased engagement with our users, which has, as a result, transformed our professional practices, attitudes and offerings. Our collections now form the basis of innovative partnerships and play a key role in the research lifecycle and knowledge creation process, while the digital era offers possibilities for wider visibility and impact.

Research libraries are the juncture through which a wide number of conflicting, complex and collective interests are harmonised, arbitrated and realised. As such we may be best placed to examine how innovative thinking and practices are reshaping research and our role in driving this forward, but also to reflect more critically on the ethical, philosophical, political, and practical challenges that surface.


The RLUK19 call for papers welcomes papers (20 minutes) and workshop or other interactive format sessions (1.5hr) on the following themes:

Transformation: how are changes in research practice affecting libraries?

  • What are the implications of open research practices such as open/post-publication peer review, open notebooks?
  • How do research libraries support international research collaboration?
  • What do libraries do about preprints?
  • Should libraries focus on research experience, not research resources?
  • Artificial Intelligence and machine learning
  • Systems infrastructure to enable new models of scholarly communication

Innovation in collections

  • Research value of our collections: innovative strategies and services
  • Digital scholarship and the role of the research library
  • Practices and skills for open collections
  • Measuring the reach and impact of collections
  • The library as a hub for collaboration and creative knowledge production

Cultural change

  • Are libraries neutral spaces?
  • Looking ahead: the research library and researcher in 2030.
  • What does an inclusive library look like?
  • What comes after open scholarship? Strategies for sustainable infrastructure and practices.
  • Reshaping scholarship in a post-Brexit landscape

Submission guidelines

 All submissions should include:

  • Name, job title and organisation of all speakers 
  • Paper/workshop title
  • The theme that your paper/workshop/session applies to. We welcome themes that are not listed above but that are related to our overall theme
  • A short summary of no more than 200 words. If your submission is selected for the conference, this summary will be published in the conference programme
  • An abstract of no more than 500 words
  • Any scheduling conflicts for speakers

Submissions may include multiple participants, however, only two speakers per submission will be eligible for a discounted conference ticket. RLUK will not be able to cover travel or accommodation costs for speakers.

Submissions will be reviewed by the RLUK Conference Committee, and will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Relevance: submissions should address the topics and challenges highlighted in the conference theme, or others that will be of relevance and interest to our audience.
  • Approach: for workshops and interactive sessions we are looking for submissions that demonstrate a high level of interaction, and are clear on the benefits and value they will bring to the conference and delegates
  • Innovative thinking: we are keen to receive submissions that break new ground or tackle new perspectives on the conference themes

Submissions should be sent to by Monday 26 November 2018. Any submissions received after this date will not be considered. We aim to notify applicants by the end of the year.

RLUK speed presentations

Theme: Innovation in our libraries

Speed presentations are fast-paced and highly visual, with speakers restricted to 20 slides at exactly 20 seconds per slide (six minutes and 40 seconds in total).

A prize will be awarded to the best presentation, as voted for (discreetly) by the conference audience.

Your submission should include the presentation title and a brief description of your proposed presentation. A cross-section of submissions will be selected and authors will be notified with enough time to prepare and register for the Conference.

Speed presentation speakers will need to register as delegates for one or more days of the conference. Unfortunately we will not be able to waive the conference fee or reimburse expenses for speed presentation speakers.

Speed presentation submissions should be sent by e-mail to The deadline for submissions is Monday 26 November 2018. We aim to notify applicants by the end of the year.

2018 speed presentation winner