Shifting to half-time

From Peter Suber
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December 7, 2021. I'm stepping down as full-time Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication. But I'll stay at Harvard and shift to a new half-time position in Harvard Library starting in July 2022. My new work will consist entirely of the pro bono consulting for open access that I've been doing for years alongside my regular work (more below). I asked for this arrangement and am very grateful that the library agreed to it.

Here's the Harvard Library version of the announcement, and here's my Twitter announcement.

For two decades I've done pro bono consulting on open access to research, for example, with universities, libraries, funders, scholarly societies, publishers, government agencies, tool-builders, start-ups, projects, and individual researchers. I consult with them about OA policies, practices, and strategies. I help them with policy language, implementation strategies, and answers to frequently heard questions, objections, and misunderstandings.

I've done this kind of consulting under grants since 2001. First I did it as a professor on sabbatical, then as freelancer living on grants, then as a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. When I started directing the Office for Scholarly Communication in 2013, this consulting was not originally part of my job description. But when I let my Berkman Klein grants expire in 2018, the library graciously allowed me to continue these consultations on library work time.

This kind of consulting became my full-time work in December 2021, augmented by direct advising to Martha Whitehead (Vice President for the Harvard Library and University Librarian) on the same issues. This will also be the nature of my work after I shift to half-time in July 2022.

When I did this consulting under grants, the grants included specific provisions to pay for my time so that I could give time freely to OA initiatives in need of help. From 2013-2018 I worked half-time directing the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and half-time running grant-funded project (Harvard Open Access Project) at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. In 2018 I let the HOAP grant expire and began working full-time in Harvard Library. Basically, my two half-time jobs were really two full-time jobs. That could have meant giving my grant-funded pro bono consulting. But as soon as I came full-time into Harvard Library, it encouraged to the same kind of pro bono consulting on work time — within limits, of course, since I still ran the Office for Scholarly Communication. And I'm not saying this didn't often amount to more than one full-time job. I'm very grateful that the library permitted and even encouraged this. After I shift to half-time, it will continue to pay for this kind of pro bono consulting. It's a remarkable arrangement and I'm very grateful.