Scholarly Communications Agenda 2002–2003

The ACRL Scholarly Communications Initiative is off to an exciting start. Both the Scholarly Communications Committee and the Scholarly Communications Discussion Group have had successful first meetings. The process of hiring the part-time Visiting Program Officer is well under way. The goal is to have the new officer start work at the beginning of the 2002-03 fiscal year.

The following are specific suggestions for the initial ACRL scholarly communications agenda that came from first meeting of the committee. The Visiting Program Officer will begin to work on these items, in collaboration with the committee, as soon as he or she is on board.

Educational work:
Educational efforts will be designed to increase knowledge, raise awareness, and encourage action on the part of 1) academic librarians and 2) faculty and higher education administrators. Emphasis will be on the development of practical tools that are tailored for university, college, and community college contexts. A train-the-trainer approach will also be followed. Educational materials, such as a scholarly communications toolkit, will support individual library communications strategies and especially front-line librarians who communicate with faculty. Tools addressed to faculty will include specific suggestions for what they can do to support change in the system of scholarly communication. Librarians, faculty, and administrators who are willing to be speakers on other campuses and at professional association meetings will be identified.

Initial efforts will focus on participating in a new cooperative anti-merger strategy, responding to mergers that may be proposed in publishing industry, and assessing how scholarly communications issues can be effectively addressed through the ACRL legislative network. The Visiting Program Officer will also develop contacts with groups working on issues that are closely related to scholarly communications concerns, such as UCITA.

Coalition building:
The overall strategy will be to build on ACRL's existing partnerships and liaison relationships in order to advance change in the system of scholarly  communications. The present status of ACRL's liaison relationships with higher education associations and disciplinary organizations will be assessed. The Visiting Program Officer will establish contact with those library and higher education organizations that are already active on these issues and will begin to work members of the Council of Liaisons to build scholarly communications issues into existing and developing liaison relationships.

The primary objective of research work will be to document the effects of the scholarly communications crisis on university, college, and community college libraries as a whole. Existing statistical data will be examined and information gaps will be identified for possible future research projects. If feasible, new data will be collected through existing statistical processes, such as the "current topics" portion of the ACRL data collection program). Anecdotal information that illustrates case studies for various and sizes of academic libraries will also be assembled. Accreditation agencies will be contacted to determine the extent to which accreditation may be affected at some institutions due to deficiencies in library information resources. A profile of faculty research in liberal arts colleges, medium and smaller universities, and community colleges will also be developed in order to clarify the importance of all types of institutions for the system of scholarly communication.

Activities within ACRL:
The Scholarly Communications Committee and the Visiting Program Officer will develop outreach and working relationships with various units within ACRL. A presentation on the scholarly communications initiative will be made to the Leadership Council. Other contacts will include the Council of Liaisons, the Chapters Council (to encourage programs at the chapter level), and both subject and type-of-library sections, including section leadership and discussion groups of various kinds.