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Scholarly Communication

A guide to issues in scholarly communication, including publishing, open access, copyright, author rights, and digital archiving.

Publishing Models

The foundation of modern scholarly publishing, mainly the academic journal and the peer review process, commemorated its 350th anniversary in 2015. Scholarly publishing is a vehicle for the global communication of knowledge. Traditional methods of scholarly publishing (i.e. the peer reviewed journal) target a specific and limited audience. However, today's digital age and new methods of scholarly communication provide more opportunities to connect with a broader and more inclusive audience.

The prevalence of inaccurate information online requires a more involved effort from the scientific community to actively advocate for the importance and value of their work to a broader audience, to improve access, and to promote reputable information. As scholars, we need to be proactive and assume ownership of our work to ensure it is communicated accurately.

For these, and many other reasons, scholars are developing new publishing and business models for sharing research.

New Avenues of Scholarly Communication

Technology and online digital platforms present you with opportunities for new models of publishing and communicating scholarly research. In 2008, the Association of Research Libraries released New Models of Digital Scholarly Communication. In 2013, the Association of College and Research Libraries published Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy which discusses how an evolving landscape changes the ways researchers create and share scholarship, and how we can help beginning researchers learn to critically engage and evaluate information.

Some of the innovative methods for sharing information which complement conventional models of publishing include:

  • Social media
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Open Data sets
  • Discussion forums
  • Professional websites

Getting Published

When preparing to publish your work, consider the issues related to the publication cycle early in the process. These include: complying with research regulations, locating funding, managing your information, selecting a journal or other publication venue, and understanding your rights as an author when signing a publishing agreement.

For more detailed information, see the "Getting Published" library guide.

Publication Cycle (click on image to expand).

This is a circular flow chart of the publication cycle: creation, evaluation, publication, dissemination and access, preservation, and reuse. Creation is where research gets proposed, funded, and reported on. Evaluation is where academic works are evaluated for quality and edited by their peers. Publication is where a publisher provides editing, layout, and publication services. Dissemination and access is where works are distributed in print or online, through libraries, retailers, and the web. Preservation is where copies or versions of the work may be saved for posterity. Resume is where works get read, cited, and recombined.

Journal Impact

Journal impact measurements assess the prestige, importance, or rank of a journal in a particular field. Knowing the impact or importance of the journal can help you decide where to submit an article. The most commonly used metric is the Journal Impact Factor, issued by Journal Citation Reports. However, there are other methods of evaluating the importance of a particular journal. For an extensive list of sources, view the Citation Research and Impact Metrics: Journals library guide. For considerations other than impact, view Selecting a Journal Publisher on the Getting Published Library Guide.

Citation Metrics

While no number can truly measure the value of your work, citation metrics can provide a starting point for measuring a work's impact. There are several tools and methods available to measure various types of impact. For a detailed analysis of different citation metrics, consult the Citation Research and Impact Metrics library guide.

Online Presence

A prominent online presence helps you share your work through increased visibility, track your impact in the field, and network with others. It also fosters an identifiable personal brand; allowing you to market your achievements. A variety of social networks and other tools help you reach an increasingly varied audience beyond traditional scholarly outlets. 

Remember a social networking site is not a digital repository. Sites like and Research Gate are powerful tools for sharing your work. However, online platforms do not properly substitute for a digital repository's stable and reliable long-term accessibility. Here are some suggested services, all with different strengths and weaknesses.

Consult these library guides for information about more sustainable repositories. 

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.