So, what’s Scholarly Communications anyway?
There’s a chance you may have heard someone use the words Scholarly Communications in your academic life, but what does it mean?
The Association of Research Libraries defines Scholarly Communications as: “the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use…” In other words, it’s a process where academics, scholars, and researchers share and preserve their peer reviewed findings so they’re available to a wide network of readers. The most widely-known form of disseminating scholarly findings is through journal publication, but other avenues include books, conference papers, and presentations delivered via multimedia formats.
Great, right? Well, just like most other things, it does come with its own set of particular issues. This is what some dub as the “publishing crisis” or the “serials crisis”; here are just a few of those issues:
- People without access to the internet, or not associated with a school that has access to scholarly materials, have no access to current scholarly research
- Journal costs rising above inflation
- The high cost of journals, plus, the increasing number of journals created, are causing libraries to struggle with being able to subscribe to a number of journals
- With more and more journals becoming online only, a preservation issue arises. If the publisher of an online only journal goes away, including the journal and website, how do we access the research?
We’ve only touched the surface of this ongoing conversation, but it’s important to note that one way libraries are combating these issues are with initiatives related to Open Access and institutional repositories. The Wayne State University Library System is doing its part by offering open access scholarly materials from the Wayne State community via its institutional repository DigitalCommons@WayneState (DC@WSU). Go ahead. Take a look. You’ll be glad you did.
Learn more: Scholarly Communications