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Scholarly Communications: Home

Scholarly Communications graphic of scholarly communication lifecycle: 1 research data collection & analysis 2 authoring 3 peer review 4 publication 5 discover & dissemination

According to the Association of College and Research Libraries:  

Scholarly communication can be defined as the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. 

Traditional means of scholarly publication and dissemination have led to commercial publishers controlling the market and restricting access to scholarship. The current scholarly communication movement looks to open up access to research and scholarship, provide more economical means of publishing, ensure the long-term preservation of research and scholarly works, and enable scholars to retain their copyrights.

Drexel Libraries can help you with many of the issues surrounding scholarly communication.

  • Copyright: Learn how to be copyright-compliant, assign creative commons licensing, and what limitations and exceptions exist.
  • Author Rights: Learn your rights as an author and how to retain them.
  • Open Access: Understand open access and find open access journals and books.
  • Open Educational Resources (OERs): Develop open educational resources and use affordable course content.
  • Institutional Repositories: Make your works available in Drexel University Libraries' supported institutional repositories for greater access and use.

This graphic addresses the questions of what drives innovation and how these innovations change research workflows and may contribute to more open, efficient, and good science.

most important developments in 6 research workflow phases

Kramer, Bianca; Bosman, Jeroen (2015): 101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication - the Changing Research Workflow. figshare. Poster. 

  1. Scholarly Communication expands on scholarly publishing to include both formal and informal networks used by scholars as a way to develop ideas, exchange information, build and mine data, certify research, publish findings, disseminate results, and preserve outputs.
  2. Scholars, publishers, and foundations around the world are experimenting with business models in which the costs of publication and dissemination are funded by the knowledge producer or their sponsors, instead of continuing the traditional business model that insists on costly artificial barriers.
  3. When authors sign away full copyright, reuse of their own work is often hindered. When publishing, authors may elect to use addenda or negotiate to keep some rights for themselves. While traditional publishers usually require authors to transfer full copyright, open access publishers usually do not. To learn more about Author Rights and Open Access, follow the links to the Drexel University LibGuides on the topics.
  4. Some copyright basics everyone needs to know:
  • Protection is granted automatically once a work is fixed in a format;
  • Only a very little amount of creative originality is necessary to warrant protection;
  • Registration is not always necessary;
  • Joint authors hold equal and full copyright in the work.

To learn more about Copyright, follow the link to the Drexel University LibGuide on the topic.

  1. Allowable re-use of copyrighted works depends on both the person using the work and the license granted when publishing. If the author wishes to reuse a work, but did not negotiate the right to do so, their ability to reuse will be limited to uses permitted by fair use.
  2. Open Access (OA) material is online, free of charge, and available two ways: publishing and archiving. Open publishing generally refers to freely available journals and published materials online while open repositories house materials that have been published in subscription-based journals but made available via an institutional or discipline-based repository or on a website. To learn more about Open Access and Institutional Repositories, follow the links to the Drexel University LibGuide on the topic.
  3. More and more institutions and funders worldwide are establishing mandates that require researchers to make their published material available openly and freely. Increasingly, funders are also requiring researchers to submit research data management plans. Libraries worldwide are developing services to support this activity.
  4. Open source, open access, open education, open data, open science: all of these movements share a commitment to the removal of barriers to access and restrictions for use. Open sharing allows for the free flow of knowledge and information as well as the use and re-use of research, and can be supported by a range of business models. Learn more at Drexel University Libraries' LibGuide on Open Educational Resources (OERs).
  5. Notions of authorship and scholarly publishing are rapidly evolving in the digital age. We are seeing an emergence of new models of scholarship in every discipline that include new forms of presentation, new modes of interaction, new styles of peer review, new business models and distribution models, and a growing trend toward models that encourage a free flow of information and data exchange through a variety of open access models.
  6. Researchers, authors, editors, reviewers, publishers, funding bodies, university administrators, libraries, and others who support the life cycle of scholarship are re-evaluating the traditional system. Discussions about the changing model for scholarship are being held at academic institutions all over the world. Open Access Week is a global event where the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research. To learn more about the importance of Open Access, follow the link to the Drexel University LibGuide on the topic.

Work adapted from ACRL: 10 Things You Should Know About...Scholarly Communication last updated May 2013.


In addition to credit given for various images, parts of this guide were adapted from work/guides by:

Old Dominion University, Association of College & Research Libraries

Used with permission or in accordance with Creative Commons Licensing.