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Scholarly Communication: What is Scholarly Communication?

What is Scholarly Communication?

Scholarly communication is an umbrella term that describes the many ways in which scholars and researchers share their work:

  • Publishing in print and electronic journals
  • Archiving their work in digital repositories or on subject-specific websites
  • Using email listserv mailing lists and online communities
  • Creating new venues for dissemination, especially online

Currently, the field of scholarly communication is undergoing major changes, as open access and copyleft philosophies have begun to impact scholars' attitudes about sharing their work in a major way.

Let's Collaborate


Librarians' roles are always changing as new technologies and methods evolve. With the new realm of scholarly communications and the growing open access movement, librarians are able to assist faculty and researchers with promoting their digital online identity and boosting their scholarly profile.  We can provide an understanding of publishing policies, copyright, intellectual property, author rights, metadata, impact factors, various metrics, and other related issues pertaining to online digital scholarship.  

This guide will be able to help any faculty member of the UWF community take the necessary steps to begin building their scholarly profile and boosting their online digital identity. This guide is designed as a step by step process with different methods to assess the current online impact and then boost that impact to a higher level. Using a variety of library and open access resources, scholars have the tools necessary to disseminate their research to a broader audience and have a far-reaching digital identity.  

Scholarly Communication Life Cycle

Scholarly Publication Cycle

          Research and Scholarship Support. (n.d.). University of Winnepeg Libraries.

Scholarly Communication Workflow

Today Scholarly Communication goes well beyond the traditional journal articles and monographs. Below is an example of a variety of  Scholarly Communication workflow.


Scholarly Communication Hypothetical Workflow


Bosman, J & Kramer, B. (2016). 101 Innovations.

The Crisis in Scholarly Communication

For several hundred years, scholarly journals were disseminated in print. However, the rise of digital publication has irrevocably transformed the landscape of scholarly communication. In the digital age, we can reduce the costs of sharing our ideas by eliminating materials, printing, and disseminating physical journals. However, the prices of many journal subscriptions continue to increase dramatically, often at several times the rate of inflation. 

As a result, many libraries (which are the primary purchasers of scholarly journals) have been forced to cancel subscriptions and/or reduce the rate of collection of other materials, effectively limiting the audience for research. This is further compounded by the fact that most journals require researchers to surrender some, if not all, of their copyright to their works. That, in turn, prevents the open sharing of research with colleagues who may not be able to pay for pricey subscriptions.