The British Library’s crystal ball

The Future of Research Information. The British Library’s 2020 Vision.
Jude England. Head of Social Sciences, The British Library. January 2011

While very broad in its overview, this resource pinpoints some key ‘forecasts’ and gives examples on how the British Library is planning for those forecasts.

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Impact of the economic climate

2020 Vision Project: Trends in Universities, Research and Higher Education.  Internal discussion paper
British Library, February 2010.

“Any research predicting long term trends to 2020 will inevitably be influenced by immediate concerns. If this piece had been written in 1997, we would have looked at a 2020 landscape influenced by the Labour government’s drive to increase participation in higher education to 50% of the population. Today, this is looking most unlikely as the economic climate, increasing student fees and unemployment all impact on this agenda.

The higher education (HE) sector is experiencing dramatic change and insecurity. With the recent economic downturn, government funding will be dramatically reduced and most predict that the amount of government research funding that the sector has experienced in the past 20 years will not be seen again for at least two decades. While this will have an immediate effect – concentration of research funding, shrinking of the sector and potential mergers – longer term demographic, global and economic drivers are less likely to be influenced by the current financial crisis.”