More Scholarly Communications Outreach Is Needed

recent study by the University of California’s Office of Scholarly Communicationprovides interesting insights into faculty perspectives and behavior on a range of issues within the scholarly communications arena. The study examines UC faculty members’ sense of the overall health of scholarly communication systems and their perspectives on tenure and promotion processes, copyright, alternative forms of publication, and key services that the University does or could supply (including those of eScholarship publishing). With 1,118 respondents the study is one of the largest surveys of faculty attitudes and behaviors regarding scholarly communication.

Some key findings from the report include:

*Faculty are strongly interested in issues related to scholarly communication.

*Faculty generally conform to conventional behavior in scholarly publication, albeit with significant progress on several fronts.

*The current tenure and promotion system impedes changes in faculty behavior.

*Faculty tend to see scholarly communication problems as affecting others but not themselves.

*The disconnect between attitude and behavior is acute with regard to copyright.

*Scholars are aware of alternative forms of dissemination but are concerned about preserving their current publishing outlet.

*Scholars are concerned that changes in the system might undermine the quality of scholarship.

*Outreach on scholarly communications issues and services has not yet reached the majority of faculty.

While the librarians at the Temple University Libraries acknowledge all these listed issues as important findings, we are particularly interested in the final one that concerns outreach on scholarly communications. As the study indicates, we need to do more to create awareness about these issues. The study found a striking lack of faculty knowledge about the potential for change in the scholarly communications system. One of our priorities is to create greater awareness about these issues among the Temple University faculty and the larger campus community. To that end we will be working to share information about challenges and change in the scholarly communications system, and promote activities and initiatives that we can undertake as an institution to create change.

Read the report and get more information about it.

Steven J. Bell
Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services

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