The shape of RLUK networks

The shape of RLUK networks

The panel would include presentations by each of the networks (Associate Directors, Special Collections Leadership, and Digital Scholarship) – each represented by their respective co-convenors. These would highlight current ongoing work of each network, issues or activities on the horizon. It would also provide an overview of the three networks in aggregate within the wider context of the RLUK strategy for reshaping scholarship, and illustrate their potential to work together.   

Collectively, the three networks represent part of RLUK’s response to the challenges identified within the two themes of its strategy:  open scholarship and a collective approach. The presentations would explore the ways in which the networks operate and potential for working together across common themes:

  • Content (including scholarly communications, research outputs, publications, intellectual property, unique and distinctive collections; analogue and digital)
  • The community of researchers who create, use and share content
  • The environment within which we work (organisational, technical, financial) and how this can be used to enable development and transformation
  • The skills we need to be effective and innovative

This overview would be of interest to those not aware of the networks, including individuals or organisations with an interest in collaboration, consultation or knowledge exchange.

Associate Directors Network (ADN)
The co-convenors of the Associate Directors’ Network (ADN) will outline the distinctive function and character of the network, which has a core purpose of supporting succession planning at deputy and associate director level. It will illustrate how the network aims to better equip its members for current/future leadership challenges associated with directing research libraries, including within the broader context of their parent organisations. Ongoing topics of interest to its members include moving into a director-level role, mentoring and leadership development, demonstrating service impact, and resource planning.


Digital Scholarship Network (DSN)
Launched in November 2018, the RLUK Digital Scholarship Network (DSN) is a professional peer network for RLUK members involved in the development and provision of Digital Scholarship services within member libraries. The DSN provides a forum for knowledge exchange between colleagues working on activities or services in support of Digital Scholarship through face-to-face events and a dedicated Jiscmail list.

Initially, the DSN is conducting a “state of the landscape” survey of RLUK members which aims to establish the nature and extent of current Digital Scholarship activities, along with the infrastructure and skills required to support those in the future. Following on from the survey and member contributions, the DSN will develop and deliver an action plan of collective activity which will be in direct support of RLUK’s strategy Reshaping Scholarship, 2018-2021.

The co-convenors of the DSN will introduce the network, presenting the findings from the initial survey and exploring the potential for working together with the ADN and SCLN on common themes.


Special Collections Leadership Network (SCLN)
The RLUK Special Collections Leadership Network (SCLN) was formed in 2017, as a professional peer network for RLUK members in a senior special collections role. It aims to provide a forum for discussion and sharing of experience, and to help shape the strategic direction for RLUK’s special collections work. The network has quickly established itself, with a supportive, constructive and collaborative approach to exploring the particular challenges facing leaders in developing and delivering audience-focused strategies for special collections. Meetings – held 2 or 3 times a year – are themed around key issues, such as institutional positioning, staff development and advocacy.

Workshops at the DCDC conference have brought the work of the group to a wider audience and have also provided input to inform strategic direction for understanding and engaging with key audiences, and for developing and enhancing the use of digital collections.