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UCI Faculty Participate in Study on New Models
of Scholarly Communication

Several UCI faculty and librarians recently participated in an international study sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) that identified trends in scholarly publishing and digital resources that faculty consider the most innovative and useful in their fields.

ARL commissioned Ithaka (a non-profit organization specializing in higher education information technology) to conduct the study based on the work of field librarians who interviewed faculty at 46 academic institutions in the US and Canada. Out of 358 responses to this national study, 28 were from UCI faculty.

Some of the resources highlighted by faculty were e-journals, preprints, data resources, blogs, e-mail listservs, and professional society portals. Hybrid models of scholarly communication included video-articles and peer-reviewed reader commentaries.

Highlights from the study’s findings include:

  • Examples of innovative resources can be found in all subject areas and there appear to be some disciplinary trends. For example, humanists mention email lists and discussion forums more frequently, and social scientists appear to rely on preprint sources like the Social Sciences Research Network.

  • Some form of peer review or editorial oversight is present in almost all of the resources suggested by faculty which contain original scholarly work.

  • Many digital publications, capable of running on relatively small budgets, are tailored to small, niche audiences.

  • Innovations relating to multimedia content and Web 2.0 functionality appear in some cases to blur the lines between resource types.

  • Projects of all sizes—especially open-access sites and publications—employ a range of support strategies in the search for financial sustainability.

New publication models are important for providing quick access to research and for promoting broader dissemination of knowledge. Certain characteristics—speed of access, open-access, preprints, and articles posted as soon as they are ready—help make these new types of publications essential tools for conducting research.

The study reaffirmed that faculty and librarians share a common concern for fostering new venues for scholarly communication and that there is a need to continue developing new economic models for publishing that will enhance research and teaching.

The study is available at: www.arl.org/bm~doc/current-models-report.pdf

For more information, contact Lorelei Tanji, Associate University Librarian for Collections
(ltanji@uci.edu or x45612).

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