Randy J. Olsen Wins Inaugural Howard Goldstein Award to Advance Scholarly Communication

Randy J. Olsen, University Librarian for the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, has won the first BioOne/SPARC Howard Goldstein Award to Advance Scholarly Communication.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Randy J. Olsen has held leadership positions in the Utah Library Association, the American Library Association, Research Libraries Group, Greater Western Libraries Association, Mountain Plains Library Association, and Utah Academic Library Council. He currently chairs the Library and Scholarly Communications Advisory Council at Brigham Young University and currently serves as a member of the Steering committee for SPARC. . . .

A pragmatist, Olsen initiated a series of concrete steps that have since provided sustainable models for a growing number of important campus publications. These solutions have likewise served as a direction for others to follow. It was Olsen's idea, for example, to hire Jeff Billiston as the Scholarly Communications Librarian to identify and provide publication services and programs. In 2006, Olsen encouraged Billiston to develop an institutional repository that now hosts the legacy issues for 12 publications, with several more to come. In 2007, Olsen became aware of several campus journals in danger of extinction as print-only publications. Careful review of each journal's situation resulted in a variety of solutions that range from a library-sponsored investment in the development of Open Journal Systems software for peer-review and content management, to customized varieties of Open Access publication.

It was Olsen's suggestion that four faculty members attend the Association of Research Library's Institute on Scholarly Communication in 2007. Knowledge about publishing options gained at this event enabled one of BioOne's newest journals, the Western North American Naturalist, to identify a solution to its critical need to modernize. Now in its second year in the BioOne.2 collection, WNAN has increased its distribution and begun to earn important revenue to help sustain its program.

Challenged once again by Olsen, WNAN's publisher the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at BYU concluded that because their companion, Monographs of the Western North American Naturalist, is not their main revenue-producing publication, the best way to enhance its distribution was to add it to BioOne's Open Access collection. The two publications are now seamlessly available to users and their editorial staff is better able to manage both products. According to WNAM's grateful editor Mark Belk, Olsen has thus helped his publications meet their mission to communicate science broadly. Olsen's efforts to engage University leaders in this conversation have helped Belk strengthen his argument for the support necessary to ensure production for the good of the entire research community.