Scholarly Communication encompasses the entire cycle of scholarship—1) research, data collection, and analysis; 2) authoring; 3) peer review; 4) publication; 5) discovery and dissemination. As a scholar each stage requires a decision that impacts how the research is disseminated and used. These decisions have implications for the scholar, the research, and society. Within scholarly communication there are a variety of prominent issues related to the cycle of scholarship, including copyright, author rights, open access, publishing, digital archiving, and data management. This guide is designed to aid scholars with understanding the cycle of scholarship and components of scholarly communication; providing the information necessary to make the most appropriate decision.
There are several actors or stakeholders present at the various stages in this lifecycle, including researchers, funders, peer reviewers, publishers, and, of course, libraries. Historically, the role of libraries in the scholarly communication lifecycle was confined to information consumer -- they collected and organized scholarly resources for discovery and use by others. However, technological innovation in production and dissemination of scholarship, challenges to traditional publishing practices concerning business models and intellectual property management, and efforts to increase access to scholarship have presented opportunities for libraries to leverage their services and expertise to advocate for and bring about positive change.
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is committed to working to reshape the current system of scholarly communication, focusing in the areas of education, advocacy, coalition building and research. Included is information about ACRL's work in the Scholarly Communication arena and related resources.