May 27, 2022

MIT Grand Challenges Summit Releases Final White Paper: “A Grand Challenges-Based Research Agenda for Scholarly Communication and Information Science”

From MIT Libraries:

2018-12-18_14-29-18The Grand Challenges Summit has released its final white paper, A Grand Challenges-Based Research Agenda for Scholarly Communication and Information Science. The paper, available on the open authoring and publishing platform PubPub, incorporates input gathered during a community review period in October 2018.

“Broad community engagement with the draft has resulted in a compelling call for research to support a more open, participatory, and diverse knowledge environment,” says Chris Bourg, director of MIT Libraries. “We’re grateful to the everyone who provided feedback on the initial draft — the white paper describes a stronger, more inclusive agenda as a result of community input.”

The summit on Grand Challenges in Information Science and Scholarly Communication, held at MIT In March 2018, convened a diverse group of stakeholders to identify, scope, and prioritize a common vision for specific research challenges related to information science and scholarly communications. The white paper is informed by the summit’s discussions and public commentary.

The “Grand Challenges-Based Research Agenda for Scholarly Communication and Information Science” describes a vision for a more inclusive, open, equitable, and sustainable future for scholarship; characterizes the central technical, organizational, and institutional barriers to this future; describes the areas where research is needed to advance this future; and identifies targeted “grand challenge” research problems for knowledge generation. These “grand challenges” are fundamental research problems with broad applications, whose solutions are potentially achievable within the next decade. Instead of setting a research agenda for a single institution, it identifies areas where a collaborative approach and coordinated leadership have the potential to make the greatest impact.

The Grand Challenges Summit followed from a recommendation of the MIT Task Force on the Future of Libraries report released in October 2016. It was supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The report was written by Micah Altman and Chris Bourg.

Contributors to the Report (Listed alphabetically)

  • Micah Altman
  • Chris Bourg
  • Philip Cohen
  • G. Sayeed Choudhury
  • Charles Henry
  • Sue Kriegsman
  • Mary Minow
  • Daisy Selematsela
  • Anasuya Sengupta
  • Peter Suber
  • Ece Turnator
  • Suzanne Wallen
  • Trevor Owens
  • David Weinberger


Direct to Full Text White Paper: A Grand Challenges-Based Research Agenda for Scholarly Communication and Information Science

Direct to Report (by Section) 

1 Introduction
1.1 Preface: Identifying Grand Challenges
1.2 Organization of This Report

2 Towards A More Inclusive, Open, Equitable, And Sustainable Scholarly Knowledge Ecosystem
2.1 Vision
2.2 Broadest Impacts
2.3 Recommendations for Broad Impact

3 Research Landscape
3.1 Challenges, Threats, and Barriers
3.2 Grand Challenge Research Areas
3.3 Recommendations for Research Areas and Programs

4 Targeted Research Questions
4.1 Research Challenge: Legal, economic, policy, and organizational design for enduring, equitable, open scholarship
4.2 Research Challenge: Measuring, Predicting, and Adapting to Use and Utility Across Scholarly Communities
4.3 Research Challenge: Designing and Governing Algorithms in the Scholarly Knowledge Ecosystem to Support Accountability, Credibility, and Agency
4.4 Research Challenge: Integrating Oral and Tacit Knowledge into the Scholarly Knowledge Ecosystem

5 Integrating Research, Practice, And Policy
5.1 The Need for Leadership to Coordinate Research, Policy & Practice Initiatives
5.2 Role of Libraries and Archives as Advocates and Collaborators
5.3 Incorporating Values of Openness, Sustainability, and Equity into Scholarly Infrastructure and practice
5.4 Funders, Catalysts and Coordinators5.5 Recommendations for Integrating Research

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.