Five Questions With Laura Burtle

Laura Burtle, Associate Dean for Scholarly Communications, Georgia State University Library

This is #3 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position.

I am the Associate Dean for Scholarly Communications. I am the only Scholarly Communications person in the library, along with a student assistant. I offer consultations and workshops on copyright in instruction, author rights, publishing contracts, and open access, particularly for faculty and graduate students. I also manage our institutional repository, ScholarWorks@Georgia State University. I work with our Digital Projects and Special Collections & Archives departments on copyright and privacy concerns for putting digitized content online. As an Associate Dean, I am also responsible for Digital Library Services and library leadership.

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?

I have worked in most areas of the library over the long time I have been a librarian. New areas are emerging, and that is exciting. A certain lawsuit piqued my interest in copyright in particular, and scholarly communications generally! I wanted to work more closely on helping authors share their work and retain their rights. If all of those works GSU was accused of infringing were open access, the never-ending lawsuit would never have started.

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Copyright is such a mystery to people. Instructors are very uncertain what they can and cannot do, faculty and student authors don’t understand why they can’t share their work, and librarians and instructional designers get questions they can’t answer. It is gratifying to me to be able to teach people about copyright. By focusing on what matters to a particular group, I am good at clarifying a confusing area. People are very grateful, and that is rewarding. I present to library groups regularly, especially in Georgia, and I appreciate the opportunity to help librarians understand copyright and open access, and feel more comfortable supporting their patrons.

Q4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?

Andy already said this, but I have to echo that a thing that I would love to see change is the way the P&T process evaluates scholarship more based on the journals where faculty publish than the content of the work. Beyond that, I wish faculty and administrators were more engaged in trying to change the system from a model still focused on propping up an old business model to one that embraces the open opportunities provided by the digital era.

Q5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?

Well, I just got my J.D., so maybe a lawyer? I enjoy teaching, so I could see myself teaching in some capacity. For something completely different, my friends and I think it would be fun to open a brewery!

If you’re interested in sharing your scholcomm story, or wish to know more about a fellow ASERL librarian’s path by suggesting they be featured, contact Molly Keener or Andy Wesolek.




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