“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.”
--Association of College and Research Libraries (ARL)
The Traditional Model
The traditional model of scholarly communication involves submission of a work for review and approval. Once published, institutions, particularly libraries, then purchase the published works from commercial publishers and provide access to their patrons.
Due to increasing costs of works from commercial publishers, libraries have had to consider new models for the acquisition and dissemination of scholarly research. This process of ever-increasing journal costs and the library response is often referred to as the "journals crisis" but it is a phenomena that has been developing for some time.
A good bit of data has been assembled around this issue. Here are some links for further information about journal pricing and how this affects scholarly communication:
Additional links from the library literature on the issue of escalating journal prices
Libraries' Faculty Open Access to their Scholarly Articles
On March 4, 2010, the faculties of both Academic Library Services and Laupus Health Sciences Library voted to endorse a resolution indicating our commitment to share our research as broadly as possible. To that end, the resolution below encourages library faculty to seek out open access publishing opportunities whenever possible, and to archive permissible versions of our publications in The ScholarShip, East Carolina University’s institutional repository. Through The ScholarShip, ECU’s research output can be collected and archived in one home space, and made freely available to anyone, any time. Our hope is that other units on the ECU campus will consider similar resolutions as the open access movement evolves. The full resolution is as follows:
We, the faculty of Academic Library Services and William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library of East Carolina University, resolve the following:
1. To disseminate our scholarship as broadly as possible. We endeavor to make our scholarly work openly accessible in conformance with open access principles. Whenever possible, we make our scholarship available in digital format, online, free of charge, and seek copyright and licensing options that will permit us to do so.
2. To deposit our scholarly work in our institutional repository, The ScholarShip, at the earliest possible opportunity.
3. To seek publishers whose policies allow us to make our research freely available online. When a publisher’s policies do not allow us to make our research freely available online, we resolve to engage in good faith negotiations with the publisher to allow deposit of peer-reviewed, pre- or post-print versions of our scholarly work in The ScholarShip
4. This resolution, however, gives us the latitude and individual discretion to publish where we deem necessary, given our career goals, intended audience, and other reasonable factors.
The resolution applies to the scholarly works authored and co-authored while faculty are employed at Academic Library Services and William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library, beginning with works published or submitted for publication after March 15, 2010.
Resolutions such as the one above are not new: a recent search uncovered similar resolutions adopted by faculties at the Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and most recently, Duke University.
This petition has gained momentum recently. It was created by a number of researchers concerned about the rise in journal prices. However, the issue is not a new one. Each researcher will make a personal decision about how to participate in the publishing process. The information on this page may be helpful in thinking about the issues involved.