Sunday, November 11, 2007

Scholarly Communication Education Initiatives (SPEC Kit, 299)

The Association of Research Libraries has just published Scholarly Communication Education Initiatives, SPEC Kit 299 (authored by Kathleen A. Newman, Deborah D. Blecic, and Kimberly L. Armstrong). This very interesting SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of proposals for education initiatives, scholarly communication and copyright Web pages, job descriptions, and education materials. Though the complete document is not freely accessible online, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has made available as open access about the first 80 pages of the report through its institutional repository, IDEALS site. What are not openly accessible are the representative documents that were submitted by the respondents (about 100 pages).


Access to information, the foundation of scholarly communication, has traditionally been provided through academic journals, research collections, and other print publications. Recent advances in digital technology, however, have revolutionized scholarly communication, leading to innovations in the conduct of research as well as in the conveyance of ideas to readers. Librarians have sought to inform their communities about scholarly communication issues such as author rights management, open access, and journal costs through such activities as classes, Web sites, symposia, and workshops to help create change. The purpose of this survey was to find out what kind of initiatives ARL member libraries have used or plan to use to educate faculty, researchers, administrators, students, and library staff at their institutions about scholarly communication issues.

The survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in May 2007. Respondents were asked to provide information about the nature of library-initiated education activities about scholarly communication issues that had taken place in their institutions in the past three years or that were expected to take place soon. Of the 73 libraries that responded to the survey, 55 (75%) indicated that the library has engaged in educational activities on scholarly communication issues; 13 (18%) have not, but indicated that planning is underway. Only three libraries indicated that they had not engaged in this activity and were not planning to do so; another two responded that this is the responsibility of another, non-library unit of the institution.

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