Amidst all the challenges of COVID-19 and its numerous implications for every aspect of our lives, we’re excited to have published Finding Our Way: A Snapshot of Scholarly Communication Practitioner’s Duties and Training in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. This is the first article reporting on research conducted under our FY2017 IMLS grant (https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/LG-72-17-0132-17).
In brief, we surveyed people who do scholcomm work in libraries and found that, by and large, their education didn’t much address SC topics, skills, and knowledge. We argue that scholcomm is core to academic library work and that everyone working in an academic library (and in some cases, non-academic libraries as well) would benefit from basic literacy in SC topics like copyright and fair use, licensing, open access, and open education work, among others. In practice, we (SC practitioners) get along through a variety of field-based continuous learning strategies and opportunities, but we (the authors) argue that better coverage in LIS programs is important in helping emerging librarians navigate the job market and supporting academic libraries seeking to hire folks with SC knowledge and skills.
The article doesn’t address COVID, of course, but there’s a growing sense that SC issues like open access and open education will be ever-more important moving forward in our present reality. We hope to meet LIS programs in the middle by creating open learning content that is suitable for LIS classrooms, ready to implement, and that reflects diverse perspectives, practices, and people engaged in SC efforts in libraries. That’s why we’re hard at work pushing the open textbook of SC librarianship towards completion, establishing the SC Notebook, and thinking about ways to create opportunities for field-based practitioners to create teaching and learning content that supports LIS instruction.
We’re looking forward to building on this and related work. There are a couple more articles in our data and we hope to someday find the time to write them. For this one, we’re really happy to have it in JLSC, and deeply appreciate the editors and reviewers that helped us get it out into the world, as well as the authors of things we cited, and all the folks that participated in the survey. We welcome feedback, and hope everyone is doing as well as can be hoped for given the challenging circumstances!