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Scholarly Communication Toolkit: Take Action: Ways Librarians Can Engage in Scholarly Communication

Individual Actions

  • Maintain momentum through individual and collective action.
  • Promote a shared system of research and scholarship.
  • Educate yourself on the history, current status, and ongoing developments around different scholarly communication topics.
  • Volunteer for a committee or an initiative that advocates for openness in the scholarly communication ecosystem.
  • Conduct research on scholarly communication topics and ensure open access to resulting publications.

Realignment of Library Resources, Services & Practices

  • Educate faculty, staff, students, and university administrators on the changing structures of scholarly communication, the importance of broad accessibility of research to faculty productivity and institutional prestige, and the impact of the business practices of different journal publishers on faculty careers, institutional goals, and the public good. 
  • Embed the topic in other conversations and initiatives as they occur, such as cyberinfrastructure, research data management, electronic theses and dissertations, etc. The message will be more successful if it is part of a conversation being held by scholars, administrators, and other campus professionals.
  • Partner with academic departments and/or research centers to host public events to proactively inform faculty, students, and university administrators of the latest development of key scholarly communication topics (e.g., research funders’ public access policies, alternative metrics for research impact, open educational resources and available funding sources, etc.) and encourage campus-wide discussion of them with reference to their impact on faculty’s career development and the mission of higher education. Other possible topics include controversial scholarly communication issues (e.g., publication of fake journals, retractions of peer-reviewed articles, rulings of copyright lawsuits, etc.).
  • Inform faculty and university administrators of journals or journal packages that are unreasonably expensive or whose terms of use are unreasonably restrictive. Muster support for cancelling the journals or journal packages and issue a public statement explaining why. 
  • Identify allies among faculty and students and collaborate with them to create and adopt an open access policy at the institution, college, or department level.
  • Partner with different campus units (e.g., distance education, student associations, faculty development office, etc.) to promote the benefits of using and creating open educational resources.
  • Collaborate with the graduate school and/or office of research to create and host workshops about authorship, scholarly publishing, research data management, and responsible conduct of research. Possible workshop topics include how to comply with research funders’ public access policies and what to consider when choosing an open access journal to publish research findings.
  • Connect and collaborate with library schools to prepare future information professionals to work in a new and evolving environment of scholarly communication.

Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

  • Ensure open access to your own publications (and presentations) by self-archiving them in a digital repository or by publishing in open access journals.
  • Share resources that work well in explaining scholarly communication issues to faculty, students, university administrators, and scholarly societies. Feel free to borrow and reuse content from the Toolkit pursuant to the Creative Commons license.
  • Contribute your insights, experiences, success stories, and/or lessons learned to the Scholarly Communication Column in C&RL News

Outreach and Advocacy

  • Launch an open access institutional repository for faculty e-prints, datasets, and student research, or develop services to help faculty and students deposit their work. 
  • Provide library publishing services and launch open access journals in collaboration with faculty and student groups. Promote those journals to indexing services, potential funders, authors, and readers. 
  • Redirect funds from the library budget to pay article processing charges for researchers who publish in open access journals.
  • Integrate concepts of scholarly communication (e.g., peer review, fair use, open licensing, etc.) into information literacy programs, writing classes, thesis and dissertation instructions, etc. for students.
  • Develop a network of librarians on campus who are knowledgeable about copyright law to advise faculty and students on their rights, options, and responsibilities.
  • Educate faculty and students about data literacy, provide them with advice on writing data management plans, and offer resources for managing, visualizing, sharing, and preserving research data.
  • Seek opportunities to build partnerships with research units on campus and provide digital scholarship services in support of digitization, digital humanities, text and data mining, and research data management.
  • Establish a grant program to encourage faculty to develop, adopt, or adapt open educational resources for their courses and/or disciplines.
  • Create a task force or an initiative at your library to help librarians develop new skills and expertise in view of how research and scholarship are generated, disseminated, and consumed in the digital age.
  • Organize public events to celebrate and raise the awareness of open access, open education, and related topics.
  • Refrain from signing licensing agreements with publishers or vendors that include nondisclosure or confidentiality clauses, and share the agreements upon request from other libraries.
  • Refrain from signing licensing agreements with publishers or vendors that include terms that diminish fair use and the exceptions for libraries under copyright law.
  • Modify existing workflows or develop new workflows in Collections and Technical Services to support open access publishing. The Open Access Workflows for Academic Librarians site discusses possible models.
  • Enhance the visibility of quality open access publications by creating records of them in your library’s resource discovery tools.
  • Digitize print-only theses and dissertations for free online access to enable wider availability of graduate student scholarship provided that the copyright issues are cleared.
  • Collaborate with campus units to highlight and celebrate undergraduate student scholarship by disseminating undergraduate theses online.