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Scholarly Communications

The scholarly communications and publishing ecosystem, including formats of academic literature (journals, monographs, edited collections), research impact, grants, copyright, Open Access, Open Educational Resources, and non-academic publishing.

Scholarly Communications

What is Scholarly Communication?

What is scholarly communication?

Scholarly communication, broadly understood, is any form of discourse about a scholarly topic or field. So this could mean, publishing cutting edge, peer-reviewed articles about a highly-specific area of study, or a paper presented at a conference that is then published in the conference proceedings, or an essay about the state of the field. New, innovative areas of scholarly communication are still emerging, especially as more of our lives and work happen digitally and fields like digital humanities change the shape and nature of what were once thought to be well-established ground.

Scholarly communications includes both the processes of conceiving, planning, and engaging in research and the processes of publishing, disseminating, and preserving that research. 

Why does it matter to me?

Scholarly communication is important to any researcher who wants others to know about their work. It is important to know the different avenues available and how to determine which ones are the most appropriate for the kind of work you want to share and who you want to share it with. An important element of CVs is the "publications" section, which lists all of your publications; this helps interviewers evaluate how well you fit a given position by indicating what you have published about, where you have published it, how it was received, and how important it was to the field.

Cycle of Scholarly Communication

Scholarly communications can be viewed as an iterative cycle, where each step builds on the other and new projects are built off of old ones. Each step in the process involves many actors beyond the researchers and an extensive network of research infrastructure. 

Because of the complexity of the scholarly communications process and the ways it varies by discipline, there are many variations on the cycle that emphasize different aspects. Each step in the cycle is more complex then presented here and may even be conceived of as their own cycle (ex. research projectresearch funding, and research data cycles).

The Scholarly Publication Cycle. Text Equivalent below.

"The Scholarly Publication Cycle" by University of Winnepeg is used under a CC BY 4.0 license. Via San Jose State University School of Information.

The Scholarly Publication Cycle Text Equivalent

Concepts are presented in a circle, where concept each points to the next and then "Reuse" points back to "Creation."

  • Creation
    • Research gets proposed, funded, and reported on.
    • Public funds pay for research.
  • Evaluation
    • Academic works are evaluated for quality and edited by their peers.
    • Public funds pay academics' salaries.
  • Publication
    • A publisher provides editing, layout, and publication services.
    • Pre-print servers, repositories, websites, and more also make results public.
  • Description, Dissemination, and Access
    • Works are distributed in print or online, through libraries, indexing and abstracting services, retailers, and the web.
    • Metadata makes them discoverable.
    • Public funds pay or universities to purchase back paywalled research results
  • Preservation
    • Copies of the work may be saved for long-term access and integrity of the scholarly record.
    • Public funds pay for preservation infrastructure.
  • Reuse
    • Works and data get read, cited, replicated, and recombined.