ACRL Workshop "Scholarly Communication: From Understanding to Engagement"

ACRL Offers Scholarly Communication Workshop on Ongoing Basis  

Today's academic and research librarians increasingly act as change agents in the higher education community. Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of open access and scholarly communication. To help empower our community in accelerating the transformation of the scholarly communication system, ACRL is pleased to offer the day-long workshop, “Scholarly Communication: From Understanding to Engagement.” Led by two expert presenters at locations across the country, the content is updated annually to meet the evolving needs of the community. Bring this one-day workshop, at full cost, to your campus, chapter, or consortia year round.

Additionally, ACRL offers a partial subsidy on a competitive basis for up to five hosts each academic year. The deadine to apply to host the subsidized version during the 2014-15 academic year has passed. Full details are available each year in October; applications due in November..

"The two presenters were stunningly knowledgeable, but also very accessible. With all of the great information presented, I came back to my institution energized and fired-up." ~ 2010 Workshop Participant

Questions about the program or how to bring this workshop to your institution? Please contact ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives Kara J. Malenfant at kmalenfant(a) or 800/545-2433 ext. 2510. 

Program Description

The goal of the program is to empower participants to help accelerate the transformation of the scholarly communication system. Participants will engage in a structured interactive program. In 2013-14, the workshop will focus on themes of:

  1. Access
  2. Emerging opportunities
  3. Intellectual property
  4. Engagement

The workshop will help participants in very practical ways, such as: prepare for library staff or faculty outreach (i.e., working with faculty on publication agreements, interacting in their roles as liaisons, and developing programming for faculty and/or graduate students), contextualize collection development decisions to internal and external stakeholders, and initiate or support new models for scholarly communication in their libraries.

"The workshop helped me connect complex issues like the relationship between the open movement, copyright, and economics in a coherent way. It is good to have this conceptual framework moving forward." ~ 2011 Workshop Participant

Participants can expect to achieve learning in the four theme areas as follows:


  • Understand some of the basic economic principles that characterize the traditional scholarly publishing system and the effect they have on access to knowledge.
  • Enumerate new modes and models of scholarly communication and ways libraries and other stakeholders can support those models, including through open access policies.
  • Understand the potential that new collaborations and partnerships offer for access, advocacy, and sustainability. 
  • Consider and reflect on alternative funding sources for scholarly publishing can impact global access.

Emerging Opportunities

  • Identify and examine current models and programming that support "openness.” 
  • Understand new technologies and methods to advance the creation, flow, dissemination and preservation of scholarly information.
  • Discuss growing movement towards alternative methods of measuring impact of scholarship.
  • Explore models that they might consider piloting or experimenting.

Intellectual Property

  • Understand how copyright arises and identify types of material that are likely to be subject to copyright protection.
  • Identify the likely copyright owners of academic works and have a reasonable awareness of the rights attendant on such protection.
  • Be familiar with rights transfer and retention language commonly used in publishing contracts.
  • Recognize the impact that specific copyright management practices have on monopolistic pricing, impediments to access, and the stewardship of knowledge.


  • Explore methods for discovering/measuring campus opportunities and faculty activity in open access, i.e., environmental scans, focus groups, etc. 
  • Identify techniques to reach out to faculty, departments, students and research groups based on their needs and library strengths, opportunities.
  • Consider piloting or experimenting with new models for creating and disseminating scholarship, including alternative funding sources, on their own campuses.
  • Increase awareness of collaborations that exist to support new forms of scholarly communications and seek new partnerships that can advance progress in these areas.
  • Consider what next steps are needed to deploy appropriate programs or pilot projects using key principles, facts, models, and messages relevant to scholarly communication plans and programs in their institutions.

Expert presenters may include:

  • Amy Buckland, Institutional Repository Manager, University of Chicago
  • William Cross, Director of the Copyright and Digital Scholarship Center, North Carolina State University Libraries
  • Stephanie Davis-Kahl, Scholarly Communications Librarian and Associate Professor, Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Joy Kirchner, Associate University Librarian for Content & Collections and Interim Co-AUL for Research & Learning, University of Minnesota
  • Jenny Oleen, Scholarly Communications Librarian, Western Washington University
  • Jaron Porciello, Digital Scholarship Initiatives Coordinator, Digital Scholarship and Preservation Services, Cornell University
  • Kevin L. Smith, J.D., Director, Office on Copyright and Scholarly Communications, Duke University
"Both presenters did a great job of both imparting material and encouraging discussion, as well as fielding questions (including some truly off-the-wall ones). I was very impressed with their comprehensive knowledge of the material and their ability to communicate it clearly and persuasively." ~ 2013 Workshop Participant

Read more about these presenters in their biographies. For more on the history of how the workshop was conceived and developed, read the freely available book chapter: Kirchner, J. & Malenfant, K. (2013). ACRL’s scholarly communications road show, bellwether for a changing profession. In Common Ground at the Nexus of Information Literacy and Scholarly Communication. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Who Should Attend

The workshop is appropriate for those with administrative responsibilities, with new leadership assignments in scholarly communication or digital publishing, as well as liaisons and any others who are seeking to advance their professional development in scholarly communication.

"We are forming a committee in our library to look at scholarly communication issues and what the library's role should be.  The information from this workshop will be used to start discussion in this group and plan for engagement with the wider campus community." ~ 2013 Workshop Participant

Host Responsibilities

1) Registration

  1. Marketing and publicity of the workshop (print, Web, e-mail)
  2. May consider this as an opportunity to invite staff outside the library (i.e. research office, graduate college).
  3. Management of selection process, if any
  4. Management of registration process (i.e. issuing registration receipts, rosters, etc.)
  5. Limit participation to 100 individuals (minimum participation is 45), to allow for maximum interactivity
  6. Participant and presenter name badges
  7. Collection and processing of any fee to be charged (more below in FAQs)

2) Event coordination and logistics to include:

  1. Reservation of meeting space per room requirements provided by presenters
  2. On-site A-V technology and support
  3. Planning and associated costs of food and beverage for lunch and/or breaks (if any)
  4. Printing and copying of handouts in advance
  5. Volunteer staff as needed
  6. Recommend lodging and ground transportation options to presenters
  7. Communicate regularly with presenters regarding program and logistics

Subsidized "Roadshow"

In addition to the option of bring this workshop to your institution at full cost, ACRL offers workshops to up to five hosts annually, on a competitive basis, at partial cost. year. The deadine to apply to host the subsidized version during the 2014-15 academic year has passed. Full details are available each year in October; applications due in November.

  • Cost for successful host institutions is $2000.00.
  • ACRL will underwrite the remaining costs.
  •  Applicants may choose to recover their costs through registration fees.

Successful Applicants Must:

  • Include participants from more than one institution.
  • Minimum participation is 45, maximum of 100 individuals, to allow for maximum interactivity.
  • Provide a statement of support from hosting authority, i.e. library director/dean, consortia/association administrator, or ACRL chapter leader.
  • Provide a brief essay (1 page maximum) explaining what your institutions will do after the workshop to maintain momentum, engagement, and education on their campuses.
  • Apply in November.
  • Indicate 3 dates, in order of preference, at least one week apart from each other.
  • Host this event between February - August 31.

Preference to:

  • Hosts who are organizational members of ACRL
  • Diversity of institution types represented among participants (i.e. 2 year, liberal arts, masters comprehensive, doctoral)
  • Diversity of types of library staff participating (i.e. liaison librarians, catalogers, access services staff, senior management).

The deadine to apply to host the subsidized version during the 2014-15 academic year has passed. Full details are available each year in October; applications due in November..

FAQs for Potential Hosts Applying for Competitive Subsidized "Roadshow"

1.) I’d like to find other institutions in my area so that we may submit an application together. Can you help?
Yes. Institutions may publicly express their intent to apply by posting a comment in the discussion at We hope this helps you identify potential collaborators so that you can consider submitting a joint application.

2.) My institution applied to be a host in the past but was not selected. We’d like to be considered for this round. Do we have to apply again?
Applicants will need to update their preferred dates to host and may wish to make other revisions (to the essays or to identify new partners, for example). So we are asking you to resubmit your application. You may be able to reuse much of your previous application material, however, such as the letters of support. If you do not have a copy of your application and would like one, please contact Kara J. Malenfant, Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives, ACRL, at kmalenfant(a) or 800/545-2433 ext. 2510.

3.) What advice can you offer about preparing a strong application? We were not selected previously and would like to be considered again.
In the past, many applications were well-crafted, and applicants presented great arguments for their sites, which made it difficult to select only five. We had to decline many well-qualified institutions. Although we do not have specific feedback to share on each application, perhaps a few broad suggestions will help. In general, those who were selected in the past not only met the required criteria and most/all of the preferred criteria, but made a compelling case in their essays and letters around two key points. First, they showed that the approach we offer was the right level for their community. Second, they demonstrated that they had capacity to continue being engaged and illustrated concretely how they would maintain awareness among library staff.

4.) Who is the appropriate audience for this event? Would it be useful for faculty and graduate students as well as library staff?
The primary audience is librarians and library staff who need good grounding in these issues. As mentioned in the Program Description, "The workshop is appropriate for those with new leadership assignments in scholarly communication as well as subject liaisons and others who are interested in the issues and need foundational understanding." You'll also note, under Host Responsibilities, that hosts “May consider this as an opportunity to invite staff outside the library (i.e. research office, graduate college)". This workshop could well serve as a stepping stone for the library, perhaps along with campus partners, to organize a later event for graduate students and faculty.

5.) Can an ACRL Chapter apply to host this event? What about a library consortium or state association?
Yes, both types of organizations can serve as hosts. You'll see this referenced in the criteria for successful applicants, "Provide a statement of support from hosting authority, i.e. library director/dean, consortia/association administrator, or ACRL chapter leader."

6.) How long does the statement of support need to be?
We’d recommend keeping it brief, a few paragraphs at most. Remember, this is a competitive process so you’ll want to make a compelling argument throughout the application about why we should choose you!

7.) Could we hold the event later than August 31?
No, not for the subsidized program, in part as this marks the end of ACRL's fiscal year.  However, institutions can choose to bring the workshop to their regions at full cost and a timing of their choice.

8.) When is the earliest that the sessions could be scheduled?
It all depends on the presenters’ availability. Since decisions are being made by mid December, the very earliest we could reasonably expect presenters to arrange for time off work and book travel would be early February This is why we ask for you to indicate 3 dates, at least one week apart from each other.

9.) Will the host institution be responsible for organizing travel, lodging or incidentals for the ACRL speakers?
ACRL will cover costs for travel and lodging. The presenters will make their own reservations. We expect the hosts to work with the presenters to recommend lodging and local ground transportation options and communicate regularly with presenters regarding program and logistics.

10.) Can the host charge a registration fee to cover costs (name badges, photocopies, snacks, $2000 fee)?
Hosts may divide costs among participant institutions. They may choose to charge a registration fee to cover their costs. We have designed this to be a very affordable event for hosts. We expect that the cost for name badges and photocopies of handouts will be nominal. We anticipate that hosts would not need to rent out space or pay for audio visual, but would have complimentary access to facilities and equipment on campus. It is optional whether you would like to include food and beverage (coffee, cookies, lunch, etc.) as part of the event.

If any registration fees are charged, they should be on a cost-recovery basis only. This event may not serve hosts in generating revenue to support other activities. If you feel it necessary to charge individual participants a registration fee, please indicate this when you apply in the box "other information for consideration." Please indicate your rationale along with estimated costs and fee per person.

11.) We are considering a registration fee, but would also like to investigate vendor or institutional sponsorships to cover the costs. Are external sponsorships for cost recovery permissible?
We moved from fully underwriting this workshop to offering a partial subsidy in 2012 in part to ensure local commitment and ownership. We understand that hosts may wish to keep costs for individual attendees low, and you are free to ask each library dean/director to contribute rather than charging individuals a registration fee. Additionally, there may be another college/university mechanism (i.e., a staff development fund) that could be tapped. You could also approach a library friends group, if you have one, or an individual donor who has made a commitment to the library/chapter in the past. As for vendors, if you approach a local business (a printer, caterer or someone similar with whom you routinely do business and have a good relationship) that would be fine. But hosts may not seek funding from a national vendor of library products/services. This includes your local sales representative of a national vendor. In part this is because ACRL approaches these same organizations to fundraise for our conference and other programs. But largely it is because of our desire to ensure that there is local commitment.

12.) What type of facility is needed to host? Is a single room sufficient or are there breakout sessions requiring smaller rooms along with the “main” room?
One single room is all it takes, set up with round or conference tables (not theater style). This allows participants to engage more easily in hands-on activities. Breakout rooms are not necessary.

13.) There is a max of 100 participants and a minimum of 45. Can we self-limit to, say, only 50?
Yes, that is possible. Since it is the host responsibility to manage all aspects of registration and participant selection, if any, you could limit to less than 100. Please include the number of participants you expect to invite and include a brief sentence or two on why.

14.) I have found a few available dates at our campus conference center, and they are willing to hold one for us now. Would you be able to recommend that we hold one specific date over the others?
It's far too early to suggest a date. We will undertake a two-step process: the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee will review applications and make selections, and then the presenters will be matched up to hosts. This will include some back and forth between presenters and host to nail down the specific date. We can’t promise anything specific just yet and won’t start working out the details with presenters until the committee has made their selections. If you want to include any comments about timing, please indicate this when you apply in the box "other information for consideration."

15.) Our area of the country has a large contingent of higher education institutions. Would it be feasible for ACRL to approve 2 requests from our region?
While feasible, this would be highly unlikely. As indicated, “The ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee will review applications, selecting several locations, based on number of requests and capacity. The committee will aim for geographic diversity...” In every year we have offered the subsidized version of this wrokshop, we have had to turn away applicants. We expect that the selection process will involve some tough decisions this time as well.

16.) Will there be an online version?
ACRL has extended the reach of the scholarly communications roadshow workshop by adding related materials to its popular Scholarly Communication Toolkit. Now librarians can make use of these tools – including short videos, presentation templates and handouts – to enhance their own knowledge or adapt them to offer related workshops on their own campuses. In addition to the in-person workshop, presenters are offering live webcasts through ACRL’s eLearning program and the presenter team team is working to develop additional recorded videos that would be housed in the ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit.

17.) On the application form there are several boxes to fill in for "Participant institutions.” What is a “participant institution?” Are these just the other institutions we would invite?
That's right. We are asking applicants to identify one “host” to be the primary coordinator for the registration and event coordination/logistics duties. We expect most hosts will provide the space for the workshop to be held. You also need to indicate one or more “participant institutions” which are the other libraries who would be sending their staff.
18.) How much weight will ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee give to the preferred criterion of being an organizational member in the selection process?
It’s hard to give a firm answer. You'll see there are several preferred criteria that may be used to weight applications, and that the committee will aim for geographic diversity as well. We expect a large number of applications and it could be that the selection process involves some tough decisions. The selectors on the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee may look closely at all the preferred criteria. For details on becoming an organizational member see

19.)  If selected, how would you advise we handle the lunch break during the workshop. Any tips on timing or logistics?
For most campuses, we strongly urge you to have lunch catered in the room (rather than expecting participants to leave and return). This will ensure the best use of time for participants and presenters. If you have thoughts on how you would approach this, please include a few details in the box "other information for consideration."

20.) If we’re not selected as one of the locations to receive the workshop at a lower cost, what other options are there?
ACRL also offers the opportunity for institutions to bring home the program to their own regions at full cost. Contact Kara Malenfant for details.