Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies
Member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and thereby authorized to supervise theses.
My background includes extensive experience in academic libraries and a senior coordinating role in provincial library consortia, focusing on post-secondary libraries in British Columbia and Alberta. In these roles, I worked with library staff at all levels, partners in other library networks, government staff and vendors in emerging areas of information services by and for post-secondary institutions.
Many people know me for my activism in information policy. In the area of open access I participate in national and international policy consultations, such as the process leading to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Policy on Access to Research Outputs and more recently the UK’s consultations on the most recent Research Councils UK open access policy. I also help other information professionals to participate through my library associations and other networks, by providing information and occasionally drafting letters or responses to policy consultations.
My interests in the area of information policy include the political economics of information. One example of a topic in this area is media democracy. A healthy democracy needs educated, informed citizens who are actively engaged. Who owns and controls the information sources that the public relies on? What about the channels of information to politicians – who gets to influence public policy? How does media democracy fit with the recently formed Open Government Partnership, and vice versa? There are many decisions to be made on the road to open and transparent government, and I believe that the knowledge of information professionals will be critical to ensure that the imminent potential for a radically expanded democracy comes to fruition.
The title of my dissertation, Freedom for scholarship in the internet age, encapsulates the current focus of my research on open access and transformative change in scholarly communication. What I mean by transformative change is change from the current economically unsustainable system that seems to prioritize profit, often at the expense of researchers, readers, students, and university funders, to an affordable system that prioritizes research and the public good.
Research methods is an area of interest for me, and the methods that I have used with success range from quantitative (surveys, economic analysis and modeling) to qualitative (interviews, focus groups) and combinations (verbal protocol or the talk-aloud method). It may be of interest that my first two peer-reviewed publications began as work for my MLIS!
My philosophy is that the basic premise that we can make decisions that work at a practical level while fulfilling important social goals can be applied to many areas in information studies. As a teacher and academic supervisor, I like to encourage and support students to explore their own passions, questions and research methods once the basics have been covered.
University degrees2012 PhD, Simon Fraser University School of Communication
1998 Master of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta
1978 Bachelor of Arts (with distinction), University of Alberta, Psychology Major
Fields of interest
- The “open” movements – open access, open government, open knowledge
- Scholarly communication
- Information policy
- Political economics of information
- Copyright and licensing
- Media democracy
- Research methodology
Courses taughtISI 5164 Information Policy and Government Publications
ISI 5163 Policy Economy of Information
ISI 5162 Global Information & Communication Policy
Selected publications and presentationsBook
Morrison, Heather. (2009). Scholarly communication for librarians. Chandos Publishing: Oxford.
Morrison, Heather (2013). Economics of scholarly communication in transition. First Monday, June 2013
Don Taylor, Heather Morrison, Brian Owen, Kumiko Vézina, and Andrew Waller. (2013). Open access publishing in Canada: current and future library and university press supports. Publications.Devon Greyson, Kumiko Vézina, Heather Morrison, Donald Taylor & Charlyn Black. (2009)University supports for open access: A Canadian national survey. Canadian Journal of Higher Education 4:3. http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/cjhe/article/view/472
Morrison, Heather. (2005) The implications of usage statistics as an economic factor in scholarly communications, in Fowler, David, Ed. Usage Statistics of E-Serials. Haworth Press.
Morrison, Heather. (1999). Online catalogue research and the verbal protocol method. Library Hi Tech 17:2, pp. 197-206.
Morrison, Heather. (1997). Information literacy skills: exploratory focus group study of student perceptions. Research Strategies 15:1, pp. 4-17.
Selected Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications
Morrison, Heather. (2005-) The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics. Scholarly blog.
- Dramatic growth of open access (2004) – quarterly series highlighting macro-level growth of open access, including open data and quick reference versions and commentary
Morrison, Heather (2011). Information feudalism, or knowledge for all? Preconference Panel, Association of Internet Researchers Conference, Seattle, October 2011.
Morrison, Heather. (2010). The role of the research library in an emerging global public sphere. Keynote, LIBER Annual Conference June 2010, Aarhus, Denmark.
Morrison, Heather. (2010). Freedom for scholarship in the internet age. OCULA Spotlight, Ontario Library Association Conference February 25, 2010