What is Scholarly Communication?

The Association of College and Research Libraries (2003) defines scholarly communication as “…the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and informal channels, such as electronic listservs.”  

This webpage is intended to serve as a brief introduction to several broad areas within scholarly communication, and direct people to further resources and services in each. 

Open Access

“Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the copyright holder.” From Peter Suber's A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access.

Open access publishing has grown rapidly in recent years and is quickly becoming the default. There are many good reasons to make the results of your research openly available: to increase your readership and impact (open access works have been shown to be more highly cited), to comply with funder policies (NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR have an Open Access Policy on Publications), and simply because it is the right thing to do!

The University Library maintains a comprehensive Open Access guide.

Predatory Publishers

There has always been a spectrum of publisher quality: from high quality and/or prestigious to low quality and/or disreputable. Recently, a new kind of publisher has emerged: the so-called “predatory” publisher. These deceptive entities take advantage of the author-pays business model of open access for their own gain. They publish articles with little or no peer review or editing.

Find out more about these scams – and how to avoid them – on our Predatory Publishers guide.

Research Metrics

How do you know if your research has had an “impact”? Or what journals are the highest ranked in your field? Research metrics are attempts at measuring the impact of scholars, their papers, or the outlets they publish in. Various metrics track the influence of authors (e.g. h-index), articles (e.g. citations), and journals (e.g. Journal Impact Factor). Altmetrics data tracks the attention research receives online.

Find out more about all of these different metrics on our Research Metrics guide.

Questions?

Chat with your librarian or contact DeDe Dawson, Science and Scholarly Communication Librarian.