College & Research Libraries to Move to Online-Only Publishing Model

College & Research Libraries (C&RL), the official scholarly research journal of ACRL, will adopt an online-only publication model beginning in Jan. 2014. The Nov. 2013 issue will be the final print issue of the journal. C&RL is freely available as an open access online publication.

This shift in publication model is the result of thoughtful study undertaken with input from a survey of the ACRL membership by the Board of Directors, Budget & Finance Committee, C&RL Editorial Board, Publications Coordinating Committee, and other stakeholder groups to balance the ways readers prefer to engage with ACRL publications with the financial realities of the changing scholarly publishing landscape. The membership survey informed discussions and the final decision to invest resources in the online platform rather than sustain print.

“The Board’s decision to transition to an online-only format is an acknowledgement of the academic reader’s preference for the e-journal format — and our members support this action,” said ACRL President Steven J. Bell of Temple University. “With this move ACRL will be able to better direct the resources needed to keep our flagship publication the most prestigious, versatile and consulted scholarly journal for academic librarianship. Under the leadership of new C&RL editor Scott Walter, the Board is confident we will achieve this goal.”

Hosted through HighWire Press, a division of the Stanford University Libraries, C&RL’s online presence provides a variety of robust features. Online readers have the ability to comment on articles, share contents through social media and perform basic and advanced searches across C&RL and other ACRL serials. A variety of RSS feeds and email alerts provide notification of the availability of newly posted preprint and issues contents. Articles are freely available to read online or download as PDF files. The mobile-optimized version of C&RL online allows readers to read and interact with articles from their smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

“The transition to a purely digital publication platform presents an exciting opportunity for College & Research Libraries,” added Scott Walter, C&RL editor and university librarian at DePaul University. “In addition to maintaining our commitment to publishing the highest-quality research in our field, we will be able to enhance the connections between research reported in C&RL and other research and research-based continuing education programs provided through ACRL. We will work with a wider range of ACRL members to explore the potential that C&RL has to anchor a broader portal promoting access to basic and applied scholarship in academic and research libraries.”

The C&RL Editorial Board will host an open forum on the future of the publication at the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 in the Westin Hotel Seattle St. Helen’s room. All interested parties are invited to contribute to the next stage in the journal’s evolution, and to ensure that C&RL remains the leading resource for research on academic and research libraries.

Published since 1939, C&RL enacted an open access policy in April 2011. The full backfiles of the publication are being made available online thanks to the digitization efforts of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.