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Scholarly Communications: Scholarly Communications

A look at the scholarly communications issues of author rights, creative commons and new models of publishing (including open access and institutional repositories).


Scholarly Communication

"Scholarly communication is the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and informal channels, such as electronic listservs...

One of the fundamental characteristics of scholarly research is that it is created as a public good to facilitate inquiry and knowledge. A substantial portion of such research is publicly supported, either directly through federally-funded research projects or indirectly through state support of researchers at state higher-education institutions. In addition, the vast majority of scholars develop and disseminate their research with no expectation of direct financial reward."

- Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication by the Association of College & Research Libraries

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Crisis in Scholarly Communication

Comprehensive access to the expanding volume of scholarly materials necessary for research and teaching is at risk. Trends in scholarly publishing, especially commercial publisher business models, limit the ability to maintain the breadth and depth of library collections and reduce exposure to and impact of scholars’ work.

The Trends

Rising costs and decreasing purchasing power: From 1986 to 2002, the Consumer Price Index rose 64 percent, journal prices rose 227 percent, and book prices rose 75 percent. The typical research library spent 227 percent more on serials in 2002 than in 1986, but the number of titles purchased increased by only 6 percent. In addition, book purchases actually declined by 5 percent.

Increasing volume of information: From 1986 to 2002, the number of journals published increased by 58 percent. During roughly the same period, world-wide production of books increased approximately 50 percent.

Large commercial publisher profits: Science, technology, and medical (STM) publisher profits are in the 20–30 percent range. A "merger effect" has resulted in 20–30 percent price increases after commercial mergers or acquisitions.

These trends are unsustainable since library budgets have struggled to keep up with the rising cost of journals.  Libraries are forced to find a balence between cost, value and sustainability by reducing the number of journals that they subscribe to.

Credit:  Reshaping Scholarly Communication - University of California

What Can You Do

UTA faculty author a large percentage of scholarly materials.  Individually and collectively, you carry enormous influence.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Manage your intellectual property: Retain some copyrights so that your research may be disseminated in alternative forms.
  • Use alternative forms of publishing: Consider alternative publications such as UTA's ResearchCommons and open access journals.
  • Support sustainable scholarly communication: Wield your influence with publishers to encourage them to adopt reasonable copyright and pricing policies. We maintain suggestions and journal data to assist you.

Digital Humanities Librarian

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Janet Burka

Data & E-Science Librarian

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Andy Herzog

Useful Links

Create Change - Provides faculty with current information, perspectives, and tools that will enable them to play an active role in advancing scholarly information exchange in the networked environment.

Digital Scholarship - Provides information and commentary about digital copyright, digital curation, digital repository, open access, scholarly communication, and other digital information issues.

Reshaping Scholarly Communication - University of California.

Scholarly Communication Institute - Provides opportunities for leaders in scholarly disciplines, academic libraries, advanced technologies, and higher education administration to study, develop, and implement creative and innovative strategies to advance scholarly communication.