ASERL Scholarly Communications Interest Group Community Call: Libraries In Process

Librarians do a great job of working together to brainstorm new ideas. They have mastered the art of reporting back their successes and sharing their frustrations. But what about the middle? Do we share the process, the works in progress? The ASERL Scholarly Communications Interest Group wants to help you share your Libraries In Process. Our new community call will be a forum for 2-3 librarians and information professionals to share the work they are immersed in and give their peers the chance to provide feedback and advice in the moment.

Our first Libraries In Process call is on a perennial Fall topic, outreach. Join us Friday, October 4 at 2EDT/1CDT to for a conversation on reaching out and garnering interest. Curious about the types of projects you might hear about? The University of Virginia Library is in the middle stages of an ORCID outreach project. Faculty are encouraged to verify their affiliation with the University of Virginia using  a UVA-ORCID Connector web service. The outreach mechanism is personalized invitation letters to UVA authors with known ORCIDs with an embedded link to the Connector service, and a link to an ORCID at UVA information page,

If you’re interested in taking 10 minutes to share your current outreach efforts, how you got there, and your sense of how things are going, reach out to Jason Burton or Ellen Ramsey to sign up to share. Those not sharing, stay on the line. We’ll open the floor for constructive feedback, comments, and questions.

Do you have a scholarly communications topic you’d like to hear discussed? Suggest a topic for a future call by letting Jason Burton or Ellen Ramsey know.

LOGIN:  Please join the online meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone:

AUDIO:  Telephone connections seem to work better than VOIP.

Dial:  1-646-749-3112

Access Code: 323-386-045

* Or you can use your computer’s mic & speakers if desired.

5 Questions with… Caitlin Carter

c-carterCaitlin Carter is the Scholarly Communication and Open Access Policy Fellow at The Johns Hopkins University Welch Medical Library.  She recently took part in our “Five Questions” series to tell us about her role. 

1. Describe your current scholcomm position?
My current position is the Scholarly Communication and Open Access Policy Fellow at Welch Medical Library. Welch is part of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine. I work closely with Robin Sinn who coordinates the Office of Scholarly Communication from the Homewood campus, while I’m based on the medical campus. We are both funded out of the Hopkins President’s Office for two years to socialize the new (as of July 2018) faculty-wide Open Access Policy. I also teach Welch classes about publishing and author resources, and I help plan and run events dedicated to the changing scholarly publishing landscape like the role of preprints for medical and health researchers.

2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?
Leaving my full time job at an IT government contractor to pursue a degree in library science was a hard choice, but one I don’t regret. When I started my program, I was attracted to academia, but I was not sure what form of librarianship I wanted to pursue. When I got a graduate assistantship at the University of Maryland working on the digital repository, helping to make research open access, I discovered the value (and definition of) green open access. This discovery then led me down a rabbit hole where I learned and explored the history of and changes happening within scholarly publishing.

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I’m humbled by the fact that working at Hopkins means I have access to a lot of, often, well-funded researchers conducting high-level research. The most rewarding part is that I am encouraging, and, hopefully, making it easier for these researchers to make their research openly accessible to others. When I find faculty allies to encourage peers to share research, it is even more rewarding.  Something I find similarly rewarding is working with early career researchers and graduate students who are navigating the publishing landscape and looking for ways to improve publishing and mentoring processes.

4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
It’s easy for me to think of many large-scale ways the scholarly ecosystem could be revamped: removing journal titles and impact factor from faculty tenure/promotion processes, ensuring open access research is the default everywhere, and diverting library budgets from support for Big Deals or Read and Publish agreements to instead support open infrastructure.  However, because I have to pick one thing, I’m going to go with a small change that would make my day-to-day a little easier: if I had a magic wand, I’d change the perception some have that open access publishing equates to a pay-to-publish model. Heather Joseph (Executive Director, SPARC) came to campus during Open Access Week and discussed how article processing charges (APCs) bake the inequities into the publishing system, and it resonated with me. It can be easy to write off open access journals because of APCs, which not all journals have and not all researchers can pay for when they do. I try to communicate the nuances of open access publishing by describing the many ways researchers can make work open access without paying. When authors or institutions are asked to pay to publish their work, I can see how well-funded institutions and researchers are privileged, and it creates a less equitable and accessible research environment for everyone.

5. If you were not a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
I have always liked studying what makes people operate the way they do, and helping others navigate through life situations. If I had to choose an alternative career in an alternative universe, I think I would be a psychologist. In my context, I think the better way to answer is: if not a librarian, and had I been better at biology, chemistry, and statistics, I would be a psychologist.

SCUNC 2019 Moving to Fall

ASERL Friends:

The third Scholarly Communications Unconference, affectionately known as SCUNC, is being rescheduled for the fall. There are just too many competing opportunities this summer. We will coordinate with either DLF Forum or the Charleston Library Conference so that attendees can make the most of limited travel funds and opportunities.


Registration will still be limited to the first 50 people from ASERL member institutions who register.

Bookmark and the blog for continuing updates on registration, session proposals, and schedule.

Your SCUNC 2019 Planning Committee:

Ellen Ramsey, University of Virginia
Andy Wesolek, Vanderbilt University
Melanie Kowalski, Emory University
John Burger, ASERL (ex officio)

SCUNC 2019 Registration is Open

ASERL Friends:

SCUNC REGISTRATION IS OPEN! The third Scholarly Communications Unconference, affectionately known as SCUNC, is happening at Vanderbilt University this summer.

When: June 3 – 4, 2019 — Starts 3pm CST Monday, ends 3pm CST Tuesday

Registration is limited to the first 50 people from ASERL member institutions who register.

Bookmark and the blog for continuing updates on registration, session proposals, and schedule.

See you in Nashville for SCUNC 2019.

Your SCUNC 2019 Planning Committee:

Ellen Ramsey, University of Virginia
Andy Wesolek, Vanderbilt University
Claudia Holland, Mississippi State University
Melanie Kowalski, Emory University
John Burger, ASERL (ex officio)

Controlled Digital Lending: Technology Solution or Legal Pathway?

By Andy Wesolek and Ellen Ramsey

This month’s post is an interview-style discussion about Controlled Digital Lending, prompted by the recent post on the subject by Dave Hansen and Kyle K. Courtney on Duke University’s scholcomm blog.

Ellen’s questions are meant to reflect perspectives of librarians concerned about copyright, collection, and public services impacts of digital lending strategies. Andy’s responses are through the lens of a scholcomm leader who is skilled at translating complex policies and tools for faculty and library professionals from diverse specializations.

ER: What is Controlled Digital Lending, and how does it help libraries circulate books to readers? How does it “expand digital access to print library collections” ? 

AW: CDL is the legal case to allow libraries to digitize books that are not otherwise available in that form, and share them in the same controlled way that they might share a physical book (e.g., only lending out the number of copies (print and digital) that is equal to the number of print copies held by the library). Library print collections currently are only shared physically. CDL makes the case that digitized versions of physical books held by a library can be shared online similarly to print, thus expanding access to the library’s print collections.

ER: Is it solving a technology problem, a legal problem, or both? E.g., why would a library need/want to limit loans of a digitized book so that “only one user can use any given copy at a time, for a limited time”?

AW: CDL is using technology to solve a legal problem. So much of the content published in the 20th century is orphaned and in danger of being damaged, destroyed, lost, etc. CDL allows libraries to not only make preservation copies (which they can already do under the Section 108 exception) but to enhance access to those works by sharing them in the same way they would share a physical book. This approach expands access to patrons who are remote, or otherwise unable to travel to the physical library, while preserving the print copy by restricting its circulation.

ER: What is the difference between a digitized book and an e-book?

AW: “E-book” is a broad term that refers to any book that is available electronically rather than physically. That said, there are different types of e-books. A “digitized book” is available to be read and shared electronically, created from a print book that has been scanned and made available electronically — often as a PDF. Other types of e-books may be born digital, and take a variety of file formats, and may include value-added features like in-text hyperlinks, searchability, and in some cases multimodal components such as embedded media.

ER: What do the authors mean by “20th Century black hole”?

AW: The “20th Century black hole” refers to the halting of the advancement of the public domain in the early part of that century. The copyright protections on materials published prior to 1923 have expired and those materials have fallen into the public domain, meaning they are free from restriction and may be legally reused, remixed, shared, etc. When there is no market for these out of copyright materials, though, it is easy for them to become essentially unavailable. Through the course of the 20th century, copyright protections were extended multiple times and the requirement to register works for that protection was dropped. As a result, works were eligible for increasingly-lengthy copyright protection as soon as they were fixed in a tangible means of expression. Moreover, it was not until the founding of Creative Commons (CC) in 2001 that creators had an easy, free, human and machine readable way to broadly grant permissions to use their works online.

As a result, libraries and other cultural heritage institutions are able to digitize and make available works published in the 19th century, and share/re-purpose content published in the 21st century under CC licenses. However, the copyright status, and copyright holders of a great deal of content published in the 20th century is notoriously difficult to determine. As a result, much of the cultural heritage produced in the 20th century is in danger of being lost or damaged as a result of legal barriers to its reproduction and distribution.

ER: What are examples of improperly implemented CDL? What is a good use of CDL?

AW:  Hansen and Courtney say in their white paper that digitized versions of physical books that were shared in an uncontrolled or bad faith manner would be improperly implemented CDL. Examples might include sharing a greater number of digital copies than the physical copies held in the library, sharing both the physical and digital copy of a book simultaneously, or making the digitized version available openly online. In addition, sharing digitized books that are not held in a library’s physical collections would also be an example of an improperly implemented CDL.

CDL is a useful strategy for circulation of orphan works (whose copyright status or holder cannot be determined) that are no longer available commercially.

Andy Wesolek and Ellen Ramsey are the co-chairs of ASERL’s Scholarly Communications Interest Group.

5 Questions with… Carmelita Pickett

Carmelita PickettCarmelita Pickett, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources and Content Strategy at the University of Virginia, graciously agreed to be our 15th profile in our 5 Questions with… series. Since her team at UVA includes ASERL ScholComm Co-chair Ellen Ramsey, both took the opportunity for a great conversation about local and national issues in our realm.

1. Describe your current position’s scholarly communication responsibilities.
I came to the University of Virginia as Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources and Content Strategy in July, 2018. Most recently, I held comparable roles at the University of Iowa and Texas A&M University. At UVA, I am responsible for the overall administration and coordination of the staff responsible for the lifecycle of the Library’s reference and circulating collections. In addition to selection, acquisition, metadata, digitization, stacks maintenance, Ivy Stacks, and interlibrary loan operations.  In a natural extension of collections work, I oversee the scholarly communications arm of the Library to build outreach and advocacy for the Library’s decisions in these areas.

2. What attracted you to a position with a scholcomm portfolio?
Before I interviewed for my current role at UVA, I made sure that scholarly communication was included in the collections-focused AUL’s portfolio as it had been at the University of Iowa. Scholarly communication is a natural extension of collection development work, and its outreach arm. Viewing collection decisions through the lens of scholarly communication helps the academic community come to terms with what is going on in the scholarly publishing ecosystem, and how it affects the choices libraries must make to be the best stewards of resources needed by their institutions.

It is very nice to have a team devoted to this work at UVA; I don’t feel like I’m borrowing people from other parts of the library for advocacy and outreach in support of our accountability-driven vision for collections. At Iowa, I coordinated work on ORCID, OER, information sessions on IP and copyright for faculty with support from within the library and connections across campus, but we did not have a team whose main focus was scholarly communication.

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
People! Connecting with people who do the work is the best way to map the impact of what we are doing. I also enjoy the collections part of my job, it feels like home and provides the context for everything we do. There are so many intersections in library work that you can’t help but have an affinity for all things, and having a solid starting place helps it all come together. Also, my colleagues here don’t engage with me as if I am new — which is a good thing and shows how quickly we are solidifying our team — but every so often I get to remind people I am still new enough here so some context is necessary, which leads to great conversations like this one.

4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
The goal to break the big deals is so important. That conversation is what drew me to UVA. I had negotiated, managed, and lived through those agreements at the University of Iowa and Texas A&M and was excited about John Unsworth’s reputation as a library dean who wanted to do something different about big deals, not just continue the status quo.

We do have a solid strategy in this area, with many groups involved and invested, so I’m hopeful about life after the “Big Deal”.  Once we are on the other side, we can help other institutions achieve the same kind of culture change. Faculty may not see immediate results, but when the benefits to their work are clear, they will appreciate what we are doing.

Libraries and librarians need training to make this change happen. Acquisitions is core work of the Library, but recent years have seen a decline in professional development and hiring in that segment of our work. We need to communicate, advocate, and plan with the long term effects of the changing scholarly environment in mind. Best practices mean not just answering faculty requests for immediate acquisitions, but really showing the long-term consequences of a well-considered, accountable strategy for acquiring and stewarding scholarly resources. Recent divestments from acquisitions and collections focus at individual institutions means we need more support from consortia. That means right now I am busy learning how VIVA is different from the Big 10 consortium structure. I strongly believe that collaboration on community advocacy is going to become more important and valuable to consortium members than the older model of economies of scale from combined purchasing power.

5. If you were NOT a librarian furthering scholcomm, what would you be?
If I weren’t a librarian, I think I would do missionary work, like my father did in Haiti during the mid to late 1980’s. Or I’d be a millionaire philanthropist supporting work like that of Brian Stephenson’s Equal Justice Initiative. His book, Just Mercy, inspired me to get involved with his organization, and if I had more time and money, I would use it to give more support to EJI’s commitment to “ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.”

5 Questions with… Rebekah Kati

r-kati Rebekah Kati, Institutional Repository Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This is #13 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

1. Describe your current scholcomm position.
I am the Institutional Repository Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am one of two repository librarians in my department; I manage the services for the Carolina Digital Repository, which is UNC’s institutional repository, while my boss manages the special collections repository and the overall program. My main initiatives since I started in the position last October have been to create and implement a new data services policy and develop a strategy to identify paywalled content that can be legally imported into the repository. My group is launching a new institutional repository system (maybe by the time you read this!), and I am working with our development team to identify requirements. Once that is complete, I will be writing documentation, training staff, creating new services, identifying improvements and ingesting content into the repository.

2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?
I became interested in digital collections in grad school, while I interned for the Indiana University Digital Library program. Through my coursework, I learned about institutional repositories and thought they were fantastic. Offering free, legal access to scholarly content seemed to me to be a key role for librarians. I accepted my first librarian job because I was supposed to head a repository implementation. Unfortunately, that project didn’t materialize to due budget cuts but I kept looking for opportunities to expand my knowledge and involvement in scholarly communications. As I learned more about open access, licensing and other scholarly communications topics, I became fascinated and wanted to work in a scholcomm position. This led to a job at a university press that was part XML specialist, part digital content project manager and part journals production project manager. While I liked working for a publisher, I was disappointed that there weren’t more opportunities to work on open access projects and I missed the library environment. I’m very excited to take part in both at UNC!

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I’ve always liked fixing things, so working in the repository every day and figuring out solutions to make content available is very rewarding. I also love working with my wonderful colleague Jennifer Solomon, UNC’s Open Access Librarian.

4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
Outside of redefining promotion and tenure systems to incentivize open access (which has been noted several times already), I would like to see institutions fund and support scholarly communications initiatives more fully. In libraries, we talk a lot about authors’ labor in the research, authorship and peer review process, but we don’t tend to address academic journal editors’ labor. One reason that editors bring their journals to publishers is that they don’t have the time or inclination to do the copyediting, typesetting, design, online content platform optimization and hosting and marketing that is needed to get their journal an audience. If universities want to take their content back from publishers, they need to provide and fund viable alternatives. That could mean more support for their repository program, library publishing program and university press.

5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
I imagine I would be working as an e-resources or web librarian, since I used to work in those areas.

5 Questions with… Ellen Ramsey

ecrEllen Catz Ramsey, Virgo Project Lead and Director, Scholarly Repository Services; University of Virginia Library

This is #12 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

1. Describe your current scholcomm position.
I came to the University of Virginia Library in 2013 to manage the University’s institutional repository, known as Libra. That one-person department was responsible for defining policies and facilitating deposits that would result in more open access to UVA research products. Fast-forward five years and UVA now has a cohort whose portfolios intersect with scholarly communication from several angles. I direct Scholarly Repository Services, which includes repositories for a variety of born-local content. My colleague Sherry Lake stewards data, ETD, and open deposits into Libra, with help on the public services front from Trillian Hosticka and on the digitization side from Lorrie Chisholm. Above and beyond the repository, Chip German and Brandon Butler cover advocacy, education, and outreach about alternative publishing models, among their many other duties beyond scholcomm. Dave Ghamandi heads our new open publishing initiative, Aperio. Hanni Nabahe just joined us as our early career resident librarian in scholcomm, and I am trying not to jade her too much. However, if you believe Dorothea Salo (and I do), scholarly communication librarianship can be a long and lonely road. With the energy of my colleagues bringing new perspectives to UVA scholarly communication priorities, I am taking on new responsibilities leading evaluation, selection, and implementation of an updated discovery layer (e.g. online catalog) for UVA. While that last bit might seem an unusual direction, I have a green light from our library administration to prioritize and highlight worldwide access to UVA resources, as well as the leveraging of open content, as UVA evaluates its participation in big subscription deals.

2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?
Doesn’t everyone want to change the world? I came to the academic library side of things from the health sciences library world, where open science and access to publicly-funded research have been important topics for a long time. Transferring those interests to a broader range of disciplines seemed like a natural evolution. I probably also like tilting at windmills.

3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Social justice aspirations for equitable access to knowledge, as well as the challenge of accomplishing meaningful change from inside of the bureaucracy of a large state institution, keep me engaged. Also that no one cares if I knit during meetings.

4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
It definitely seems in the realm of magic for a sustainable revenue model to emerge that works for institutions, scholars, and publishers. You can’t change the scholarly rewards system without changing the publishing industry, and vice versa. Laura, Andy, KevinBrandon, and so many others have spoken far more eloquently on this topic in many open forums.

5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
I’m not sure I really am a scholcomm librarian, though the work I have done for the last several years has certainly been focused on opening access to scholarship born at my institution. Most of the time at work, I am a software and service project manager, open source community member, and unit director. When I am not doing those things, I am exploring near and far destinations with my spouse, parenting a teenager and two dogs, and being a mountain biker, knitter, and curious person.

5 Questions with… Jennifer Solomon

jpg-jen-solomonJennifer Solomon, Open Access Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries

This is #11 in our series of get-acquainted posts featuring members of the ASERL Scholarly Communications community.

1. Describe your current scholcomm position.
I am currently the Open Access (OA) Librarian in the Office of Scholarly Communications at UNC Libraries. This is a newly created position in a small department, so I work on many different aspects within Schol Comm. One of my primary roles is to lead the outreach and communication initiatives for the UNC Faculty Council’s Open Access Policy implementation, which so far has included collaborating with a marketing firm on a campaign for OA awareness and authors’ rights, developing faculty and graduate student competencies in OA, and establishing connections with UNC departments to deposit materials in the Carolina Digital Repository. I also frequently get to work with (TRLN) Scholarly Communications colleagues to support cross-institutional programs and events.

2. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
That depends on the day! Over the past month, I have had several opportunities to visit department meetings and have been blown away by the interest from the faculty. I have also been meeting with several graduate students in the UNC School of Information and Library Science and we’re cooking up some very exciting plans for OA in the fall.

3. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?
Imposter syndrome. From librarians, to faculty, to students, to publishers, I have so many conversations with people that stem from their fears about being a fraud. Sometimes this prevents people from asking for help, sharing their accomplishments, or even discussing ideas with potential collaborators. My magic wand would cast a spell for an open and transparent environment in which scholarship and the people who produce it, use it, access it, make it discoverable, and preserve it can do their work without so much anxiety.

4. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?
A career counselor! Throughout my own career I have worked in many different industries and I’m fascinated by emerging careers and changing workplace cultures. I love helping people to think about the type of work they want to do and how their previous experience and interests have prepared them to take on new challenges.

Working at the Intersection of Scholarly Communication and Open Education

NOTE:  The authors are seeking input from schol-comm practitioners about their roles and responsibilities via this online survey, which closes June 15, 2018.

The following is a guest post authored by co-Principal Investigators Maria Bonn, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Information Sciences; Josh Bolick, University of Kansas Libraries; and William Cross, North Carolina State University Libraries.

Sometime in 2016, through a mix of happenstance, initiative, friendly referrals and pure good luck, the three of us began a series of email and telephone conversations in which we puzzled over whether new LIS professionals are being adequately prepared for roles in academic libraries in which they will support scholarly communication in all its permutations.

We are each engaged in such work and bring different perspectives and experience to it, from the trenches of our present and past positions, as instructors, as recent students, as job applicants and hiring committee members. It is increasingly evident that awareness, proficiency, and even fluency in scholarly communication issues is central to the work of academic librarians across institutional type and department. Academic library job postings calling for scholarly communication specialists — or at least for candidates who are well versed in those issues — have been steadily accumulating for some years now. LIS curricular offerings, however, haven’t yet evolved with this shift in the market. Reflecting on this and on conversations with our colleagues, our strong sense is that most new librarians are not well-versed, or even versed at all, in the skills that support scholarly communication: understanding copyright and fair use, open licensing, academic publishing norms, the complexities of peer review, the emergence of open education and data management as focus areas, and so on.

Why the skill and education gap? The lack of scholcomm offerings in LIS programs might be due in part to LIS faculty not being themselves comfortable with the contemporary skills needed to navigate the complexity of scholarly communication. There’s also no core educational resource dedicated to developing such skills, no common text that covers scholarly communication as a wide-ranging and rapidly-developing field. This presents an opportunity, so we began to consider the design and development of an open educational resource about scholarly communication librarianship, through which we hope to make a meaningful intervention in our field.

With the generous support of IMLS, we have undertaken a research project to learn how scholcomm workers understand and articulate the practice of scholarly communication librarianship and how we, the community of practice, might have a larger role in preparing our future colleagues for scholcomm work. This research has been underway since the beginning of 2018 and continues apace. While gathering input and data on stakeholders like LIS faculty and students is extremely important, we always knew that we would be best informed by the perspectives and experiences of our community of practice, by hearing from those who do the everyday work of partnering with and supporting scholars who are the primary agents in scholarly communication.

So, as we library professionals do, in early April we had a meeting (agenda).

whiteboard notes

We brought together almost forty folks with significant experience and investment in scholarly communication, from high-level administrators to new scholarly communication librarians in the first few years of their careers. We gathered in the open, pleasant spaces of the Hunt Library at NCSU and over conference tables and tacos and on whiteboards and sticky notes.  We worked together to define the skills, values, and the stakes of scholarly communication and how to best infuse those through the library profession. We shared experiences, frustrations, ambitions, and ice cream.  These two days of effort scoped the content, audience, and purpose for an OER of scholarly communication librarianship.

There were few quiet moments and no dull ones. Arising from the rich experiential base in the room were stories that provided practical advice, words of warning, and visions for a future in which the academy supports its members in developing and managing scholarship that has broad impact and social benefit. We discussed data management, scholarly identity, metrics of all types, varieties of licensing, mechanisms for open peer review, building prestige for library based publishing, how social justice intersects with these things, and so much more. Invited participants Sarah Hare,  Ali Versluis and Lillian Rigling generously put their experience and intelligence together before the unconference and created a design thinking workshop that inspired and directed us all in building learning objectives for our proposed OER. Amidst this variety, themes emerged and became threads that tied the conversations together.

Kevin Smith, Dean of Libraries at the University of Kansas, and Heather Joseph, SPARC Executive Director, opened our conversations by calling for those of us who work in scholarly communication to get better at telling our stories, at sharing in a compelling way, what we do and why it matters. Storytelling was a fulcrum of the two days. Sometimes we need to tell stories to our scholars, sometimes to our university administrators, or to our colleagues in the library, even to our friends and families. Whomever the audience, we need the language and evidence that make a compelling case for our work. We frequently came around to reminding ourselves that are many kinds of stories to tell — as many stories as there are scholars — representing all kinds of personal, institutional, and disciplinary identities.

These stories facilitate connections, creating shared understanding and goals. The importance of these connections, of relationships, was another leitmotif of the meeting. The importance of soft skills which are central to developing rewarding relationships, such as confidence, empathy, and a sense of timing, loomed large. For the library community to maximally support scholarly communication, it must do so in the context of a web of relationships, with scholars seasoned and new, with policy makers and government officials, with university administrators, with colleagues at one’s own institution and within a community of practice, and with a public that increasingly may not understand what we do, what value we add (in libraries and the academy more broadly). Interested readers should also see #LISOER on Twitter and this reflection by Molly Keener, who was in attendance.

As is often the case when a community of practice gets together, the appreciation of and desire for our community of practice was palpable. As this reflection was being drafted, the twitter stream from the Library Publishing Forum 2018 was alive with the mention of “community.”


Clearly the yearning for ongoing community was not idiosyncratic to our meeting. As meeting organizers and participants, we experienced the same appreciation meaningful professional connection. We also observed a community that is clearly and impressively developing, populated by professionals keenly aware of each others’ skills and expertise, and eager to be part of a shared project to maintain and improve the systems through which we share scholarship. If you’re a member of this community, if you work on scholcomm topics in libraries, we’d love your input via this survey, which closes June 15, 2018. If you want to learn more about our project, reach out to any of us directly via email, Twitter, or one of the many conferences we’re presenting on this and related work.