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Scholarly Communication
Conversations with UC Faculty Editors

Summary of Forum Discussions 1


Six separate discussions were held at the Los Angeles and Berkeley campuses of the University of California during the Fall 1998 and Spring 1999 semesters. Participants were faculty members who also held positions as editors, co-editors, or associate editors of scholarly journals. Editors were identified from the UC Editors Database, 2 supplemented by campus faculty self-identification processes. 364 invitations were sent (representing 138 editors from the Editors Database and an additional 226 self-identified editors). Four sessions were comprised of science and engineering faculty and two of humanities and social sciences faculty. Other participants at the sessions included UCB Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ, UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor Rory Hume, UCB University Librarian Gerald R. Lowell, UCLA University Librarian Gloria Werner, CDL University Librarian Richard Lucier, and several other library staff observers.

Four similar sessions were held at UCLA with assistant professors and graduate students. These sessions did not differ substantially, other than a limit in experience upon which to draw, from discussions with faculty editors whose themes are summarized below.

Participants received an information packet containing discussion and background materials at the session. The packet included scenarios of potential alternative models for scholarly communication, which had also been sent to participants in advance, as well as some related articles. The scenarios were intended to provoke discussion, but not to provide a script for the sessions.

Discussion Summary

The issues identified below are aggregated from all of the discussion sessions and are based on observer notes. Most of these issues arose in multiple sessions. The categories listed below were extracted ex post facto based on the flow of the discussion and not on any predetermined outline.

Participantsí comments reflected their multiple roles as editors, authors, researchers, research advisors, and representatives of their disciplinary communities. The key element explored in all the sessions was the faculty editor attitude towards changes in scholarly communication. In particular, the discussions explored the question of whether there was a role for the University in any alternative future model for scholarly communication and, if so, what shape that role might take.

1. Digital publication and scholarly communication

2. Economics of Electronic Publishing

3. Preprint and e-print servers

4. Potential University Roles

1The CDL is grateful for preparation assistance from Camille Wanat, UCB, Judith Graham, UCLA, and Cindy Shelton, UCLA.
2 The CDL and UCLA Libraries have created a database of UC editors of what are considered to be 2,000 of the top journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The database contains 318 separate faculty members from UC serving in senior editorial positions (executive, managing, associate, or regional editors) on 238 of the 1,966 surveyed titles. Based upon this analysis and data gathering effort, UC faculty have significant editorial authority for 12.1% of the top scholarly journals.

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