Search BYU 
Stakeholders in Scholarly Communications

All of the following are affected by changes in scholarly communications now happening, and each group can in turn affect the direction that scholarly communications will be taking in years to come.

Scholars have reduced research capabilities and reduced publishing opportuntiies due to the current economics of academic publishing. On the other hand, they have unprecedented opportunities for sharing work and collaborating with other scholars and with university libraries in creating digital scholarship. (See Alternative Publishing Models)

Libraries are shifting resources away from books and other needs to keep up with skyrocketing prices for journals (See Economic Issues). They are also burdened by being in the front lines of the information revolution. However, academic libraries are becoming more actively involved in brokering information through stronger relations with other institutions, open access initiatives, creation of institutional repositories, digital collection development, and especially through collaborating with faculty in creating, distributing, and archiving their scholarly work.

Academic presses feel the press of economic forces restricting their output. Digital publishers are finding ways to complement or compete with print presses. Some companies have become large data providers to academic libraries, giving patrons access to impressive (and costly) reference and full text databases. But academic institutions, libraries, and faculty members themselves are all experimenting with self-publishing, raising issues about permanence, quality, intellectual property, accessibility, etc.

University Administrations
Academic administrators have a vested interest in the viability of their libraries and of the research programs of faculty members that they support. Administrations must balance the costs of print materials, the costs of acquiring, developing, and maintaining electronic archives or digital collections, and the costs attending faculty involvement (or lack of involvement) in conventional or digital scholarship. University administrators must further consider how the university's library and faculty are servicing the academic disciplines to which it is committed, and how faculty research and publishing affect teaching and the success of both graduate and undergraduate programs. Administrators control the documents and procedures by which faculty publishing is evaluated for purposes of promotion and tenure. These are difficult priorities to balance in a changing scholarly environment, but the leaders of academic institutions play a principal role in evolving the academic culture of the digital age.

Students today use electronic resources as a primary gateway to their research, but they face the problem of indiscriminate use of such resources when there is too much data and too little to indicate the authoritative quality of what they find there. Students struggle to properly cite electronic sources, and some commit plagiarism more readily though electronic sources. However, today's students are usually adept with informational technology, willing to experiment with new forms of publication involving hypertext or media, and can more readily be involved in collaborative research or publishing with faculty than ever before.

Maintained byGideon Burton
Copyright 1994-2005. Brigham Young University. All Rights Reserved.