Seeking Input on Scope for New ACRL Scholarly Communication Research Agenda

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) seeks community input on the scope of a forthcoming request for proposals (RFP) for the design, development, and delivery of a new ACRL Scholarly Communication Research Agenda by COB Friday, November 24, 2017, via a feedback form. A small working group composed of ACRL’s Research and Scholarly Environment Committee and senior staff will be seeking proposals from authors interested in investigating and writing a new national agenda on research needed in the system of scholarly communication. Applicants must address how a diversity of voices will be heard during the process and describe an inclusive approach to consult with historically underrepresented communities.

At this point, the working group would like broad community input on the proposed scope of the research agenda, described below. Your feedback will inform how we describe the agenda in the forthcoming RFP. Our current thinking is that the research agenda should focus on areas identified as strategically important in ACRL’s Plan for Excellence. We request input on the following excerpt of the draft RFP:

The final research agenda will examine important questions where more research is needed to accelerate the transition to more open, inclusive, and equitable systems of scholarship.The focus of the research agenda will be on discovering and implementing models for open dissemination and evaluation practices, and creating capacity to address issues related to scholarly communication. This research agenda will be informed by scholarly literature, as well as by advances in practice and the voices of underrepresented communities. The goals of the research agenda are to: a) increase the ways ACRL is an advocate and model for open dissemination and evaluation practices and b) include the perspectives of historically underrepresented communities in order to expand the profession’s understanding of scholarly communication systems.

The research agenda should clearly identify a small number of priority areas (6-10) where more research is required to effect change and accelerate the transition to a more open system, with background, rationale, and outstanding questions for each. Some potential priority areas could include topics such as:

  • Economics of publishing (including research impact and reward systems)
  • Expression of personal values in publishing choices
  • Commodification of knowledge and knowledge workflows
  • Library-led contributions to more equitable research environments
  • Intersectionality in research environments
  • Social movements as agents of intellectual priorities and innovation
  • The social value of scholarship as liberating and emancipatory
  • Tension between cultural representation/respect and research discoverability/access
  • Funder policies
  • Digital scholarship
  • Research data management

The successful researcher must take into account established investigation from recognized experts in the priority areas, once identified, but not to the exclusion of other perspectives. Of paramount importance, proposals must address how a process for developing this research agenda would be designed in an open manner and steps that would be taken to include meaningful consultation with representatives from historically underrepresented groups, in order to identify new potential systems of scholarship in areas which may have been previously overlooked. Proposals should explain how an invitational gathering would be designed to bring diverse voices in a room together as part of developing the research agenda. (Note that the facilitator for such a gathering may be different than the researcher/author).

While the person(s) selected to research and write the research agenda will be responsible for planning and carrying out the meeting, the working group will provide guidance while it is being designed. There could be some other creative mechanism, besides an invitational meeting, to achieve the goal of diversity and inclusion; proposals should explain the proposed alternate approach.

Please provide your comments and thoughts on the above scope by COB Friday, November 24, 2017, via a feedback form. The working group will consider all feedback and refine the RFP, which we anticipate issuing within a few weeks. The full RFP will include much more detail about the project, deliverables, and timeline. We expect drafts of the research agenda will be circulated for public comment while in process.