Open and Equitable Scholarly Communications: Creating a More Inclusive Future

ACRL is pleased to announce the release of “Open and Equitable Scholarly Communications: Creating a More Inclusive Future,” prepared for ACRL by Nancy Maron and Rebecca Kennison with Paul Bracke, Nathan Hall, Isaac Gilman, Kara Malenfant, Charlotte Roh, and Yasmeen Shorish. Developed over the course of a year with leadership from the Research and Scholarly Environment Committee (ReSEC) and with a high degree of community involvement, this powerful new action-oriented research agenda encourages the community to make the scholarly communications system more open, inclusive, and equitable by outlining trends, encouraging practical actions, and clearly identifying the most strategic research questions to pursue.

This report is an important contribution to ACRL’s core commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion which includes valuing different ways of knowing and identifying and working to eliminate barriers to equitable services, spaces, resources, and scholarship. The full research agenda is freely available on the ACRL website and will be available for purchase in print in the ALA store.

“This report has a broader scope than past ACRL research agendas on scholarly communications, as we wanted think holistically about all the factors that contribute to the research and scholarly environment. To that end, we specifically sought out perspectives from communities with a variety of ways of knowing and making meaning. We invited participation from frontline library workers, individuals with disabilities, people working at smaller institutions, and those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups,” noted ReSEC chair Yasmeen Shorish of James Madison University. This new report, Shorish continued, “encourages all academic library practitioners, no matter their role or the size of their institution, to work to enact change in the scholarly communications system, whether by implementing the report’s practical actions or investigating new research questions.”

“ACRL is grateful to the team of devoted ReSEC members who volunteered countless hours as well as the consultants and staff who worked together to bring this project to fruition,” ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis added. “This research agenda is an important milestone in furthering ACRL’s strategic goal that the academic and research library workforce accelerates the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship.”

“Open and Equitable Scholarly Communications” is organized into three major priority areas—people, content, and systems—and each of these areas delineates several specific effective practices being used now and research topics that can help further the work in the future. The first section on people addresses embracing diversity and inclusion, improving the working lives of people engaged in scholarly communications, and increasing awareness concerning creators’ rights. The second section, content, acknowledges the opportunity for greater inclusion and openness by rethinking what scholarship “counts” and creating more representative and open collections. The third section on systems identifies several avenues to explore: supporting sustainable technological infrastructure, creating systems that permit more access to more people, building mission-aligned organizational and financial systems, and advancing innovation in academic libraries. The agenda includes extensive appendices, including an essay on issues of social justice in scholarly communications, findings from the online survey, and an annotated list of recommended readings.

ACRL is committed to seeing “Open and Equitable Scholarly Communications: Creating a More Inclusive Future” spur readers to take action and is issuing a call for proposals for research grants in tandem with its release. For more information on making a proposal, due September 30, see the ACRL website. Additionally, a group of ALA Emerging Leaders is developing materials to help extend the agenda’s reach, and ACRL will highlight their work in the near future.

Learn more about the agenda and these supporting programs in a session at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference (Saturday, June 22, 9:00 – 10:00am, Washington Convention Center room 151A) or in a free ACRL Presents Webcast on Monday, July 15, 2019, from noon – 1 p.m. Central. Register in advance on the ACRL website.