The Library as an Agent for Transforming Scholarly Communications

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Johnston, Wayne

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International Association of Technical University Libraries


New opportunities and new challenges face scholars in the 21st century as traditional publishing models evolve and alternative models emerge. The academic library can play a critical role in transforming scholarly communications in the campus community. Whether you see open access as a threat to commercial publishing or as an alternative that complements the traditional model there is no question that the open access movement is having a significant impact on researchers, authors, libraries and publishers. This applies to open access journals as well as institutional repositories. Researchers who are focused on their discipline and the demands of tenure, promotion and teaching do not have the time to be adequately informed about author rights and the complexities of copyright legislation within the shifting environment of scholarly communications. This is where the library can step in as an invaluable partner. The library can educate faculty and promote practices that are in the faculty member's own best interest. The library can offer consultation, advice and assistance in negotiating author agreements and finding appropriate publishing venues. The library can become involved in advocacy and activism to ensure better protection of intellectual property and more exposure to the published work. In addition, the library can undertake local publishing and promote greater author recognition. This paper will address these themes with a particular focus on what is happening at the national level in Canada as well as at the campus level at the University of Guelph. This will include national open access initiatives, the development of institutional repositories across the country and Creative Commons Canada. It will also focus on open access journal publishing and the campus author recognition programme at the University of Guelph.



scholarly communications, open access