Thoughts on Scholarly Communication

Traditionally research and scholarship have first passed through the hands of journal publishers to be reviewed, organized, distributed and preserved. Journals have provided a means for researchers to share findings with other scholars and students with the intention of spurring additional research. Many educational institutions and libraries are struggling to keep up with what are widely considered unnecessarily high hikes in journal costs. This is especially true for scientific journals. In efforts to combat this problem libraries and faculty members have collectively begun to seek and develop alternative scholarly communication methods.

One such method is online publishing via an institutional digital repository, a worldwide, freely accessible gathering of one institution’s collective scholarship. By circumventing commercial publishers these repositories allow faculty, staff, and students a vehicle for having their research reviewed, organized, distributed, and preserved at a far lower cost to their home institutions and the institutions of potential readers. Essentially scholarly communication is returned to the primary communicators.

These repositories or archives are not only a possible alternative to publishing traditional kinds of scholarship, but also an opportunity for sharing of other sorts. Often institutional repositories are established to archive individual’s pre-publications, white papers, grey literature, learning objects, data sets, multimedia projects, dissertations and theses, and various other types of scholarship not always represented in traditionally published literature.

Read about IUPUI ScholarWorks, IUPUI’s institutional digital repository.