CNI is launching a new program that will leverage the expertise of our community; facilitate efforts to advance scholarship and visionary thinking in CNI’s areas of interest; and provide opportunities for respected, authoritative voices to formulate, develop, and share their work with the community: CNI Senior Scholars.
Our intention is to appoint a series of CNI Senior Scholars—currently we are thinking in terms of 12–18-month appointments, with at most 1–2 Senior Scholars active at a time—who will explore broad research questions that align with CNI’s program and interests. Topics will vary and be framed individually by each Senior Scholar in consultation with CNI leadership. Project interim updates and final outputs may include reports, presentations, webinars and the like to allow for consultation and communication with the CNI membership and the broader community.
We are extraordinarily fortunate that Donald J. Waters has agreed to serve as the inaugural CNI Senior Scholar beginning November 1, 2022. As a CNI Senior Scholar, Don will study and report on the state of scholarly information infrastructure in higher education to address societal grand challenges. His research will help to identify the information infrastructure that research universities need to establish and expand programs in which faculty spanning a diverse range of disciplines partner with policymakers and members of the public to address enormously pressing and complex issues such as climate change, pandemics, and related societal challenges.
I am sure that Don is well-known to many of you; his career includes a rich record of key leadership contributions to the evolution of scholarship and scholarly communication in the digital age and the collaborative structures to permit institutions to support this evolution. Over the years he has made many important contributions to CNI’s work and has helped me as a valued advisor; he recently stepped down from the CNI Steering Committee after many years of service as an at-large member there.
In 2019, Don retired from the Mellon Foundation as the senior program officer for scholarly communications after 20 years of service; since then, he has been a consultant and independent scholar, publishing important work such as his recent paper “The emerging digital infrastructure for research in the humanities.”* Before joining the Mellon Foundation, he served as the founding director of the Digital Library Federation (1997-1999), as associate university librarian at Yale University (1993-1997), and in various other library and information technology positions.
Throughout the next year, Don will provide periodic progress reports on his research culminating in a comprehensive report, presentation, webinar, or combination of the three. Stay tuned for more details and specifics about his particular project and the program as a whole.
*Donald J. Waters, “The emerging digital infrastructure for research in the humanities,” International Journal of Digital Libraries (2022), https://doi.org/10.1007/s00799-022-00332-3.