Skip to Main Content

Scholarly Communication Toolkit: Related Topics

Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities (or DH) is an emerging, interdisciplinary movement which looks to enhance and to redefine traditional humanities scholarship through digital means....Digital Humanities is not limited to any one field—it is highly collaborative, and draws contributors from many backgrounds—but it does have a solid base in academia. In recent years, related initiatives have emerged at universities (and elsewhere) worldwide. For academic librarians, the increasing prominence of Digital Humanities, its ongoing debates and the issues and opportunities associated with bringing it into the library, are worth noting. 

Digital humanities is no longer emerging; it is now a fully-fledged field of practice and specialization for librarians. Although related to and sharing similar issues with scholarly communication, the topic of digital humanities will not be treated fully in the Toolkit. Rather, links to fuller treatment by other organizations will be provided below for persons wishing to learn more about this field of librarianship.

Quote above is from ACRL's Keeping Up With....Digital Humanities

Open Science

UNESCO Recommendations on Open Science include the following definition of open science:

"Open science is defined as an inclusive construct that combines various movements and practices aiming to make multilingual scientific knowledge openly available, accessible and reusable for everyone, to increase scientific collaborations and sharing of information for the benefit of science and society, and to open the processes of scientific knowledge creation, evaluation and communication to societal actors beyond the traditional scientific community."

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are a growing component of scholarly publishing and a vital trend in the reduction of materials costs for students.  The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation was a major early driver of this movement, and it provides a good definition:

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

Academic libraries are increasingly involved in advocating for faculty to adopt OER in their courses in place of traditional textbooks and other class materials. Motivating this trend is the desire to create equitable and inclusive classrooms, based on two key factors: affordability and pedagogy. The use of OER can reduce the burdensome costs of course materials, the effects of which are felt most keenly by financially disadvantaged students. In the hands of experienced teachers, OER can be the foundation for more active and inclusive learning environments. This trend is illustrated in the growing number of OER librarian positions that are focused on engaging with faculty on the adoption and creation of OER. Some models for this library role include providing funding for faculty to make the shift to OER  and providing the publishing infrastructure and support for creating open textbooks (examples: Temple University and North Carolina State University, Oregon State UniversitySUNY-Geneseo, and University of Virginia).

For more resources and information on this movement in general check out one of these sites:


A growing area of librarian knowledge and expertise is accessibility of digital resources including instructional materials and library materials. Because this area touches upon the scholarly communication topics of repositories and copyright, a few resources are provided here: