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CARL Scholarly Communications Roadmap

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in Observations, Observations and Responses | No Comments

This observation was written by Sarah Milligan.

At a glance

Title Scholarly Communications Roadmap
Creator Canadian Association of Research Libraries
Publication date 2017-01
Keywords open access; open science; publishing; research output; scholarly communication

In January 2017, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) released a “Scholarly Communications Roadmap”. The Roadmap arose chiefly in response to the encouraging feedback received on CARL’s 2016 white paper, Canadian Universities and Sustainable Publishing (CUSP). The Roadmap is intended to create an “open, sustainable, effective and innovative scholarly communication system” by coordinating activities nationally and internationally (1). The Roadmap outlines these activities as part of a strategy to affect positive change in a comprehensive way. The Roadmap’s five stated objectives are:

  1. Increase awareness and engage stakeholders about the benefits of open access and the need for change;
  2. Promote and accelerate the adoption of open science policies;
  3. Lower the economic barriers to the creation and dissemination of academic publications;
  4. Promote the responsible application of impact and productivity measures for research;
  5. Expand the types of research outputs that contribute to the formal scholarly communication system.

Speaking at the Research Libraries UK conference in April 2017, then president of CARL Martha Whitehead emphasized that the Roadmap is way of framing, structuring, prioritizing and accelerating activities; it is not necessarily meant to be “ground-breaking,” nor to introduce suggestions for dramatically different ways of doing things. Acknowledging that Canadian scholarly communications are undergoing a transformation, Whitehead said the Roadmap is focused on addressing the “deep, systemic challenges” of this transformation in a methodical manner (n. p.). In an interview with Publishing Perspectives, Whitehead identified one of those key challenges as “a dependency on traditional publishing mechanisms as indicators of research impact” (n. p.). It is not enough to come up with alternatives, Whitehead suggests; those alternatives must be sustainable. Whitehead also admits that it is difficult to know how often the Roadmap will be revised; it is likelier that CARL’s internal action plan accompanying the roadmap will be updated more frequently. CARL also hopes that the Roadmap will serve as a framework for institutions forming their own plans. Whitehead notes the considerable interest the Roadmap has already received, along with the interest in related initiatives such as the Canadian Scholarly Publishing Working Group and the Where Next for Repositories? forum.

Works Cited

“CARL Scholarly Communications Roadmap.” Canadian Association of Research Libraries. 2017.

Douglas, Carla. “Canada’s new CARL ‘Roadmap’: Toward Better Scholarly Communication. Publishing Perspectives. 13 Feb 2017.

Whitehead, Martha and Susan Haigh. “Canadian Roadmap for Advancing Scholarly Communications” Research Libraries UK 2017 Conference. April 2017.

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