MIT Libraries receives grant from Mellon Foundation to support postdoctoral research program

New cohort of postdocs will pursue original research in open and equitable scholarship

MIT Libraries has received a grant of $500,000 from the Mellon Foundation for a second cohort in the postdoctoral research program on equitable and open scholarship. The program is part of the Libraries’ Center for Research on Equitable and Open Scholarship (CREOS), a hub for supporting and producing rigorous research to inform the development of a more equitable and open system of scholarly communications.

“We launched the CREOS postdoc program with the twin goals of producing original research on key issues in equitable and open scholarship and of educating early-career scholars about working in the field of open science,” said Chris Bourg, founding director of CREOS and director of the MIT Libraries. “Creating an interdisciplinary cohort of early career scholars, tackling hard questions about openness and equity in scholarship, has proven highly effective in advancing both goals.”

In 2020, the Mellon Foundation awarded a grant for the inaugural cohort of three CREOS postdoctoral associates. Their research has increased our understanding of the role of local department or lab culture on individual attitudes towards open scholarship, illuminated the extent and impact of gender-based citation biases, and interrogated the complexities of endangered language preservation and how languages are both preserved, and appropriately protected, in physical and data repositories.

This is a second grant from the Mellon Foundation for CREOS to recruit, hire, and support recent PhD graduates from a range of disciplines who want to pursue original research in this area. Beginning in 2024, CREOS will hire postdocs for two-year appointments, during which they will work with MIT faculty advisors and MIT Libraries staff to develop research projects under CREOS’ areas of focus:

  • Incentives and barriers to equitable and open scholarship;
  • Impacts of equitable and open scholarship; and
  • Economic models for equitable and open scholarship.

The MIT Libraries launched CREOS in late 2018 in response to a need for credible research to inform efforts for a more equitable and open scholarly ecosystem — a complex set of institutions, actors, and infrastructures that contribute to the creation, distribution, and use of scholarship, including universities, publishers, libraries, scholarly societies, funders, and technologies. Establishing a research initiative on the biggest challenges in scholarly communication was a recommendation of MIT’s Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of Libraries, which released its report in 2016.