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ERIC Number: ED503401
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 49
Abstractor: ERIC
Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication: Results of an Investigation Conducted by Ithaka for the Association of Research Libraries
Maron, Nancy L.; Smith, K. Kirby
Association of Research Libraries
As electronic resources for scholarship proliferate, more and more scholars turn to their computers rather than to print sources to conduct their research. The decentralized distribution of these new model works can make it difficult to fully appreciate their scope and number, even for university librarians tasked with knowing about valuable resources across the disciplines. In the spring of 2008, the Association of Research Libraries engaged Ithaka to conduct an investigation into the range of online resources valued by scholars, paying special attention to those projects that are pushing beyond the boundaries of traditional formats and are considered innovative by the faculty who use them. This report profiles each of eight types of digital scholarly resources, including discussion of how and why the faculty members reported using the resources for their work, how content is selected for the site, and what sustainability strategies the resources are employing. Each section draws from the in-depth interviews to provide illustrative anecdotes and highlight representative examples. These eight resources are: (1) E-only journals; (2) reviews; (3) preprints and working papers; (4) encyclopedias, dictionaries, and annotated content, (5) data; (6) blogs; (7) discussion forums; and (8) professional and scholarly hubs. The study found that while some disciplines seem to lend themselves to certain formats of digital resource more than others, examples of innovative resources can be found across the humanities, social sciences, and scientific/technical/medical subject areas. Of all the resources suggested by faculty, almost every one that contained an original scholarly work operates under some form of peer review or editorial oversight. Some of the resources with greatest impact are those that have been around a long while. While some resources serve very large audiences, many digital publications--capable of running on relatively small budgets--are tailored to small, niche audiences. Innovations relating to multimedia content and Web 2.0 functionality appear in some cases to blur the lines between resource types. Projects of all sizes--especially open-access sites and publications--employ a range of support strategies in the search for financial sustainability. This report indicates several ways that university librarians can play a central role in sharing information about these digital resources with the campus community, and in guiding new projects toward success. In addition, the field team model has provided a path for enriching future interactions between faculty and librarians, one which the Association of Research Libraries continues to develop. The following are appended: Field Team Participation; (2) Current Models of Digital Scholarly Resources by Type: (3) List of Interviews; and (4) Digital Scholarly Resources by Disciplinary Group. (Contains 2 figures.)
Association of Research Libraries. 21 Dupont Circle NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20046. Tel: 202-296-2296; Tel: 301-362-8196; Fax: 202-872-0884; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association of Research Libraries