Strategic Directions for Scholarly Communication
Scholarly communication is the process that defines what scholars do: perform research, publish their
results following procedures of peer review, and gain access to others' research so they can begin
the cycle anew. RUL's role in scholarly communication has traditionally been to facilitate the first
and third stages of this process by acquiring and providing access to information resources. However,
rising costs and stagnant budgets make it increasingly difficult for academic libraries to support
their mission in the traditional way. Like other libraries, RUL must also advocate and even lead
fundamental change by increasing the options for affordable and open access to scholarly content.
Advocacy and leadership should not only be a propagandistic activity, but involve library
collections, services, and even publishing in the interest of the Rutgers community. Strategic
directions are therefore provided for both advocacy and for practical action. The second follows from
the first and is in many areas intimately related, but is more difficult and ultimately more
Scholarly Communication Outreach and Advocacy
- Shape directions and provide leadership of the scholarly communication at Rutgers. RUL is in the
best position to do this because of its key role in the existing scholarly communication system of
the university, its university-wide liaison network, and its expertise in resources and technology.
- Increase awareness and understanding of the digital development issues and technology of the RUL
and RU community (includes open access, electronic publishing, digital repository). Our knowledge
base on these issues is scant and uneven. In order to effectively communicate the scholarly
communication issues with our constituents we need to raise the awareness of all RUL faculty and
staff to a higher level. Only then we can articulate these issues to others and advocate them in a
- Sponsor speakers and facilitate campuswide discussions on scholarly communication issues.
- Disseminate information about serials and monographic pricing.
Practical Action in Support of the Transformation of Scholarly Communication
- Facilitate the creation and dissemination of new scholarship through the development and
maintenance of publishing platforms, for instance by the sponsorship of new e-journals. Develop
criteria for the journals and other content RUL will publish and a sustainable cost model for e-
- Prefer open access in our publishing and library access decisions. Editors should be discouraged
from erecting barriers to access, and freely available scholarly resources such as e-journals should
be made no less accessible than those that cost money.
- Prefer open source in our software decisions for staff and technical processes. Linux and Mozilla
should be standard on staff and public access computers, and platforms like Open Journal Systems
should be preferred to their turnkey alternatives.
- Create a systemwide RUL institute as the focal point for research and development that serves the
goal of transforming scholarly communication by devising and implementing new methods of publishing,
archiving, and facilitating access and use for RUL-based information systems.
- Curate and preserve the digital products of Rutgers scholars and offices as well as collaborators
elsewhere in New Jersey in an institutional and multi-institututional repository. Develop policies
for our repository.
- Link the discussions and decisions about serials subscriptions to the pricing data within scholarly
disciplines and the less expensive or open access alternatives to expensive titles.
- Establish formal and informal institutional collaborations that support the transformation of
scholarly communication. Three examples would be Rutgers' other principal publisher, Rutgers
University Press; our work with the University of Virginia as the key institution developing Fedora;
and the Matrix Center
http://matrix.msu.edu/ at Michigan State University as a kindred land grant
research university that is using Fedora to support publishing efforts that complement our own: H-
Net, H-NewJersey, and NJDH; Historical Voices and MIC; outstanding strengths in African Studies at
both universities. Rutgers should continue to exercise the leadership exemplified by its hosting the
Fedora Users Conference
http://www.scc.rutgers.edu/fedora_conf_2005/ in May 2005.