Integrating Scholarly Communication into Your Library


New technology and innovative business models offer proven opportunities for enhancing the sharing of scholarly information – research papers, primary data and other evidence, creative activity, and other products of research and scholarship – across institutions and audiences. This scholarly communication – understood 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 – promotes a shared system of research and scholarship. ACRL sees a need to vigorously re-orient all facets of library services and operations to the evolving technologies and models that are affecting the scholarly communication process. There is wide variance in the background understanding of and engagement in scholarly communication as a critical perspective and worldview for academic librarians. This Scholarly Communication Toolkit was designed by ACRL’s Research and Scholarly Environment Committee as a resource for education and advocacy efforts in transforming the scholarly communication landscape.

Following nuanced and passionate discussions, we came to understand that the idea of bringing the full cycle of scholarly communication – from discovery and creation of knowledge, to its dissemination, preservation, and reuse – into all aspects of our work is central to the continued success of academic libraries. As information is captured, created, and communicated in digital forms, the activities of making scholarly resources well structured, discoverable, archived, and readily available move closer to the creators of knowledge – largely, faculty, students, and others within the academy. Understanding and influencing that shift is central to our goal. We believe these issues are key for our profession, and it is time for all librarians to fully own them. Librarians have always been an important node in the communication process, and they already facilitate many aspects of scholarly communication. The scholarly communication movement (and its attendant apparatus of author rights, repositories, and other freely-available services) allows library leadership to visualize and realize ways services can change permanently once there is an engagement with the whole process of scholarly communication – rather than just with managing products.

This toolkit provides the context and background, along with exemplars of specific tools, so that you can engage faculty and students in conversations on campus or begin taking action in your own library setting. Please download presentation templates, integrate our text into letters to your faculty, print out and distribute flyers, link to this and other pertinent web sites, and otherwise treat this information as if it was created for your library alone. In the spirit of open communication, you can also contribute your tools and case studies on your local scholarly communications campaigns thereby providing colleagues with the benefits of your library’s lessons learned. Together we can promote a shared system of research and scholarship to meet the needs of scholars, students, the academy, and society at large.

Contact the Scholarly Communication Toolkit Editing Team if you have comments and suggestions for the toolkit.

Last updated October 1, 2015 by Steven Harris and Adrian Ho