More on the Updated ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit

This post was contributed by Christine Fruin at the University of Florida.

The ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit provides academic librarians with a portal for resources and tools that can be used to develop local advocacy materials; to inform creation of workflows relevant to scholarly communication; and to support training of librarians, administrators, faculty, and students on scholarly publishing, intellectual property and other issues impacting the creation and dissemination of scholarship. This summer, I had the privilege of serving as Toolkit editor to complete needed updates to the content and to migrate the Toolkit to the ACRL LibGuides site. The Toolkit served as an invaluable resource to me when I first became a librarian engaged in scholarly communication 10 years ago. At that time, there was a lack of broad coverage resources available that had been selected and vetted for accuracy and quality. That need persists today. I regularly meet librarians and library staff through groups such as the Florida Scholarly Communications Interest Group and ASERL libraries who are new to scholarly communication either as their chosen profession or through reassignment or creation of new job duties in their current position.

Working with members of the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee and ACRL Senior Strategist Kara Malefant, I constructed a new hierarchy of topics, wrote new content, and selected updated resources for the Toolkit that reflect the most pressing scholarly communication issues for academic librarians. The revised Toolkit presents five primary content areas:

  • Scholarly Publishing
  • Copyright
  • Access to Research
  • Repositories
  • Research Data Management

Several topics are new to the Toolkit. For example, there are new sections on fair use and public access. These are areas that have not only grown in importance for academic libraries but also present complexities that can sometimes be difficult for libraries to untangle. The Toolkit provides a clear and concise definition of the issues for libraries and provides resources created for and by librarians to assist them as they confront these issues in their daily work. Open access, including a new section on institutional mandates, also received updated and expanded treatment. This treatment reflects the growth of open access in the 10 years since the Toolkit was first launched, and the more prominent role that libraries have taken in not only advocating access to research but also in driving change in the system through collection development decisions and library publishing programs.

In addition to the new and revised content, the Toolkit also was migrated to LibGuides. This platform is familiar to academic libraries, and with a Creative Commons license attached to the Toolkit, libraries are free to reuse and repurpose the Toolkit content in their own LibGuides. The Toolkit LibGuide can easily be reused by other LibGuide users as a template for new guides. Several libraries have already developed new LibGuides based upon the Toolkit structure, and other libraries are encouraged to pick and choose the resources that best meet their needs at their libraries and on their campuses to help them in their educational and advocacy activities.

ACRL and members of ReSEC hopes that librarians find the new LibGuide platform and the updated and added content useful and instructive to their work. Feedback and contributions are welcome through the link on the Toolkit home page. The new Toolkit can be found at and libraries are encouraged to update any links they may have to it as soon as possible.

ASERL would also like to hear how our members are using the Toolkit. How will you use the new Toolkit to develop scholarly communications initiatives or trainings at your library? Let us know by sharing your thoughts on the ASERL Scholarly Communications listserv with subject “ACRL Scholarly Communications Toolkit in Practice”.