ACRL begins scholarly communication initiative

Contact: Mary Ellen K. Davis
312-280-3248
mdavis@ala.org

For Immediate Release
April, 17 2002

ACRL begins scholarly communication initiative

Prioritizes plans for education, advocacy, coalition-building, research

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announced today that it will embark on a three-year scholarly communications initiative as one of its highest strategic priorities. Addressing issues critical to the future of all academic libraries, the association will work to reshape the current system of scholarly communications, focusing in the areas of education, advocacy, coalition building and research. Broad goals of the initiative include creating increased access to scholarly information; fostering cost-effective alternative means of publishing, especially those that take advantage of electronic information technologies; and encouraging scholars to assert greater control over scholarly communications.

"The librarian-faculty relationship is the cornerstone of the academic library system," said ACRL President Mary Reichel. "When librarians and faculty work together to improve the scholarly communication system, everyone benefits. ACRL's leadership role in the academic library community means that it has a unique role to play in improving access to scholarly information, and this new initiative provides a framework for our ongoing efforts."

Beginning with the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in June 2002, ACRL will establish a standing committee on scholarly communications. The committee will be responsible for coordinating the association's scholarly communications activities, under the general direction of the ACRL board. ACRL also will create a discussion group to encourage member participation on scholarly communications issues, and a visiting program officer will be hired to work on implementing plans.

ACRL's board of directors voted in January 2002 to begin the scholarly communications initiative, based on the report of a scholarly communications task force chaired by Ray English, Director of Libraries at Oberlin College. The task force sought broad input from ACRL members regarding their assessment of the importance of scholarly communications issues and the role ACRL could play in addressing them.

Further information regarding this initiative will be announced in the May 2002 issue of College & Research Libraries News.

ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic librarians. ACRL's 11,000 members are comprised of individuals from a wide range of academic institutions, publishers and vendors who sell in the academic marketplace. ACRL enhances the effectiveness of academic and research librarians to advance learning, teaching and research in higher education. More information about ACRL's programs and services can be located on theĀ  ACRL Web site. ACRL is a division of the ALA.