What is Scholarly Communication?

Using the Library during COVID-19

UC Berkeley’s library buildings are now open. To stay up to date on the Library’s policies and services during the pandemic, visit the Library’s COVID-19 webpage.

The Scholarly Publishing System

Scholarly communication can be thought of as 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 (single-volume books offering research into a specialized area of knowledge), and conference proceedings. It also includes continually emerging publications, such as data sets, data visualizations, working papers, and blogs. 


What scholarly communications issues require support?

There are many aspects of scholarly publishing -- and many points within the publication lifecycle, from the rudiments of a research idea to a final publication -- at which researchers may need support.

For instance, facilitating the dissemination of scholarly writings means having to consider issues like:

  • What models or platforms exist for the funding, distribution, and discovery of scholarship?
  • How are these publications evaluated or measured for impact?
  • Who has access to creating and reading publications, and how is access provided?  What access barriers exist?
  • Who “owns” or controls the content, and how can the content be used?

The answers to all of these questions are changing. UC Berkeley’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services (OSCS) assists scholars in navigating this developing field.  

With OSCS’ services, the Library aims to support effective, efficient, sustainable, and economically viable systems for the creation, discovery, dissemination, and preservation of scholarship—particularly through systems that provide barrier-free access to quality information.

Scholarly Communication Lifecycle Diagram, from U. Winnipeg

Scholarly Publication System, courtesy University of Winnipeg