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Ellen Finnie to retire September 2022!

With a heavy heart, I want to share with you news of an upcoming CDL transition: Ellen Finnie, CDL’s Director of Shared Collections, will be retiring as of September 1,  2022.   

As Director, Ellen has been working with teams at CDL and across UC in support of UC’s transformative open access initiatives, and in supporting CDL’s staff and leadership more broadly in our shared collections programs.  Her support for advancing open access agreements at UC began in her role as CDL’s first Open Access Publisher Agreements Manager, and then transitioned into her Director of Shared Collections role. Enabled by Ellen’s leadership across both roles, UC has announced new open access agreements with Wiley, the Company of Biologists, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Canadian Science Publishing and the Royal Society, as well as our first set of transformative agreement renewals with Cambridge University Press and native open access publishers JMIR Publications and the Public Library of Science (PLOS). Additional agreements will be announced during her remaining tenure, bringing the share of UC authors supported in maximizing the impact of their research through open publication to well over 40%. Ellen also nurtured the UC Libraries relationship with our colleagues at the California State Universities, as well as the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, to build a foundation for shared open access action, and set key impulses with our international partners in the OA2020 coalition.

What stands out to me in contemplating Ellen’s tenure at CDL are not just her formidable achievements, but the particular ways she has carried herself as a human being in service of the UC mission. Ellen’s integrity, humility and compassion are an inspiration to me, and a key ingredient in her success at CDL.

Preparation for Ellen’s September 1st departure is well underway. Acknowledging the importance of the position to the UC Libraries and to CDL, we’ve petitioned and received Office of the President approval to begin early recruitment, starting later this month. Our search will be nationwide and led by an executive search firm. The search and hiring committees will include campus representation, and our goal is to fill the position expeditiously. CDL’s commitment to sustainable open scholarship, and our commitment to the role of the UC Libraries in expanding the University’s capacity for innovation, knowledge creation and research breakthroughs, is unwavering, as is my personal commitment to these issues as CDL’s Executive Director.

Prior to her arrival at CDL, Ellen led open access, licensing, authors’ rights, and scholarly communication transformation efforts for many years at MIT.  Ellen tells me that as she concludes her career, she is “enormously grateful for having the unparalleled and treasured opportunity to participate in CDL’s influential leadership in advancing open access to research for UC and for the world.”  She says she has found at CDL and across UC a “community of truly impressive excellence married with deep kindness,” and has been honored to be part of this community. Ellen intends her final months at CDL to reflect committed and collaborative leadership, and looks forward to working with all of you on the important work ahead. I look forward to partnering with her, and with leadership from across the UC system, as we continue our work to develop strategies and implement solutions to the complex and emerging issues related to accessing, managing, and disseminating the scholarly record. 

Please join me in congratulating Ellen on an extraordinary career of service! 

Günter Waibel, Associate Vice Provost & Executive Director, California Digital Library