Innovation, University Research and Information Infrastructure – making sound investments in information infrastructure

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Title Innovation, University Research and Information Infrastructure – making sound investments in information infrastructure
Author O'Brien, Linda Suzanne
Publication Title EUNIS 2010 Congress Book of Abstracts
Year Published 2010
Place of publication Warsaw
Publisher EUNIS
Abstract Innovation determines the prosperity of nations. By equipping people with the skills to innovate, to embrace new and better ways of doing things, business and industry thrives, productivity increases and the nation benefits from a more prosperous and educated workforce. Collaborating and making connections are now integral to the innovation process, as information and ideas may come from anyone, anywhere, making innovation more pervasive, more open. Universities are key agents of a nation's innovation capability, as primary creators and disseminators of new knowledge, through research and teaching. They play a key role in the preservation and diffusion of knowledge through publishing, presentations, consultancies and the like. Increasingly nations seek to not only strengthen the key agencies of innovation, but also the links between them. “Innovation is built on stocks of knowledge and capability, and the information flows of innovation capital around these.” (Venturous Australia, 2008: p.18). If universities are the heart of the innovation system then information infrastructure is the lifeblood. It is through information infrastructure that knowledge is created, manipulated, interpreted, disseminated and preserved: through its libraries, information repositories, communication and collaboration tools, advanced computers, networks and its information specialists. This is recognized in many national and regional innovation strategies as agencies of government invest not only in their universities, but in a range of facilities. But are we investing in the right ways in the right places if we wish to drive innovation through investment in information infrastructure? What is best done at a local university level? What is best done at a regional level? What is best done at a national level? What is best done through international collaboration? The global information landscape is rapidly evolving. Innovation, by definition, means change is a constant. Yet this does not absolve us, as university information professionals, from ensuring that our universities invest wisely in developing their information infrastructure, that they exploit regional, national and international opportunities in the most effective and efficient ways. We must begin by understanding the vision and motivation of three of the key agents of innovation: the researcher, the university and the national government. When mapped against research information infrastructure services it is possible to determine a level of research information infrastructure service that any researcher should expect, that every university should deliver. These services are “pre-competitive” from a university perspective. They underpin the vision and motivations of the nation, the university and the researcher, driving competitive advantage for the nation as a whole, not privileging any university specifically. These are best delivered through national investment and national or international collaboration, in the most cost effective manner. There is a complex middle ground, where the inter-dependent motivations of the agents and the tensions between the short and long term make decision-making complex. Lastly there are services which provide distinct competitive advantage to a university. It is these that will yield the greatest investment benefit in the medium term. This paper seeks to assist universities to make informed investment decisions in their own information infrastructure and provide some observations on the ways in which universities may wish to shape regional or national information infrastructure policy.
Peer Reviewed No
Published Yes
Publisher URI
Copyright Statement Copyright remains with the author 2010. The attached file is posted here with permission of the copyright owner for your personal use only. No further distribution permitted. For information about this conference please refer to the publisher's website or contact the author.
Conference name EUNIS 2010
Location Warsaw
Date From 2010-06-23
Date To 2010-06-25
Date Accessioned 2010-07-13
Language en_AU
Faculty Information Services
Subject Information Systems; Research, Science and Technology Policy
Publication Type Conference Publications (Full Written Paper - Non-Refereed)
Publication Type Code e2

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