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Each month, this space will highlight the unique career path and insights of an SSP member. We hope that these brief profiles provide guidance to our early career members and those site visitors interested in the broad spectrum of scholarly communications opportunities. Please contact Phil Wallas with any questions or suggestions for future profiles.

PROFESSIONAL PROFILES:

Amy Brand

Program Manager, Harvard Office of Scholarly Communication

Amy Brand First, tell us a bit about yourself (hometown, current locale, family, hobbies, community involvement?).

I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and attended Barnard College there. I moved to Cambridge MA in 1985 to go to graduate school at MIT and have been in the Boston area for most of the past 25 years. I currently live in Newton with my three kids and my husband Matt. We’re a very outdoor oriented, physically active family. I’m a power yoga addict.

What is your current job? Describe some of your responsibilities, and how you or your organization fit into the scholarly communications web.

I am Program Manager at the new Harvard Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC), which was set up in large part to implement the open access resolution that was voted in last year by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Law School, and is likely to be passed by other schools at Harvard this year. In effect, the University now has a prior, non-exclusive license to faculty journal article manuscripts, and a commitment to make those works openly available. We don’t see setting up an institutional repository as an end in itself. The OSC’s broader purpose is to help the university capture and highlight its research output, expand access to and impact of its faculties’ scholarship, and engage publishers in practical, mutually beneficial ways to evolve copyright sharing and business practices.

What career path led to your current position? Where do you see scholarly communications heading, and what new directions interest you most?

I originally followed an academic career path, and then impulsively switched direction in the midst of my postdoc years. It was a kind of leap of faith. I heard about an acquisitions position in my areas of expertise—cognitive science and linguistics—and decided to give publishing a try. That was 16 years ago, and I stayed in scholarly publishing until just a few months ago, most recently as Director of Business and Product Development at CrossRef. The Harvard opportunity appealed to me as a way to connect my academic and publishing interests. The OSC could grow to provide a wide range of publishing services to the faculty and students, giving them more control over their intellectual creations and the scholarly communications process. We will likely house the University’s electronic dissertations, for instance, and are considering some joint projects with Harvard University Press. The Harvard University Library as a whole is very interested in meeting faculty demand to host and curate a variety of home-grown digital collections.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications? What new roles or opportunities do you see emerging in the field?

Scholarly communications is a growth area for people with a publishing, library, research, or IT background. University administrators and faculties are likely to think harder about their own intellectual property in these lean, transformative times, when library budgets are severely constrained, other modes of dissemination and access to scholarly resources are likewise threatened, and there is broad consensus around the need to expand access to scholarship on a global basis. Many university presses can no longer afford to publish academic monographs. That leaves scholars demanding new outlets for their research, and universities in need of creative people, services, and digital infrastructure to fill that gap.

Profiled January 2009