Definition and Background

Scholarly communication encompasses the system through which research and scholarship is created, evaluated, distributed, and preserved. (Association of College & Research Libraries, Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication 1.) This system includes traditional or formal publications, such as scholarly journal articles, scholarly chapters or monographs, and also more recent and evolving forms of publications, such as data sets, working papers, and blogs.

The traditional system of scholarly communication, in which scholars submit their work to a journal that is supported by library subscriptions, is no longer sustainable. During the last few decades of the twentieth century journal publishers merged and raised subscription prices far above inflation rates. Many academic library systems are no longer able to afford these prices, and some libraries and scholars are beginning to boycott these publishers altogether. Many libraries are increasingly favoring business models such as read-and-publish, which bundle together fees for subscription and publishing. These are known as transformative agreements, and the aim is to transition a journal toward a sustainable Open Access publishing model.

Disseminating your Work

In the meantime, here are a few ways to help ensure your scholarship is accessible to the widest audience:

  1. Whenever possible, deposit a copy of your work in the Digital Repository.  Trinity’s Institutional Repository is a digital archive that showcases and provides access to scholarly and creative works by Trinity College community members. Works in the Repository are open to anyone on or off campus, resulting in increased readership and visibility. Your publisher’s policies dictate whether you can deposit your work in the Repository. Some publishers will allow you to deposit a pre-print (first draft) or post-print (post-peer review but no copy editing) version. Others, such as Open Access journals, will permit deposit of the publisher’s version. You can look up publisher’s policies for your work by searching the Sherpa/Romeo database. You can then submit your work directly to the Digital Repository.
  2. Seek out publishers and Open Access journals that have more lenient distribution policies and submit your work to these publishers first. Use the Sherpa/Romeo database to find Open-Access minded publishers for your discipline.
  3. Negotiate with your publisher upfront to retain your copyrights. Read more about this from SPARC and use their Author Addendum with publishers.