How to Add Content to the Scholarly Communication Notebook

The Scholarly Communication Notebook (SCN) is a hub of open teaching and learning content scoped to topics directly relevant to scholarly communication librarianship, such as copyright, open access, open education, open data, scholarly sharing, and research impact. Presently available formats of SCN content include curricular and lesson plans, slides, games, exercises, A/V resources, and introductory texts, but almost anything topical that is digital and openly-licensed is fair game for inclusion. We’ve populated it initially by sponsoring the creation of content as well as curating existing resources. We also mean for librarians, LIS faculty, and LIS students, and related allies (instructional designers working in open education, and open publishers, for example) to be able to contribute resources if they wish, either their own creations or existing open work by others. Doing so is easy, and very welcome, so here’s how:

Step 1: Add Content to the OER Commons

The first step to getting new work into the SCN is adding it to OER Commons.  The SCN is a Hub built in OER Commons by ISKME. Adding content to OER Commons (https://www.oercommons.org/) is simple, but first you must create a free OER Commons profile (see How to create a profile in OER Commons).

After creating your profile, you can add content either by creating it in their Open Author tool or using “Submit from Web.”  If you would like to use the first method, the OER Commons provides instructions for using the Open Author tool.  For the most part, we have added content by submitting from the web, which entails adding a link and descriptive information. Either method is fine. Whichever you choose, please be thoughtful about providing the most complete and accurate descriptive metadata possible.

Screen capture of OER Commons banner, highlighting green "Add OER" button with red arrow.
The “Add OER” Button is at the top and slightly right of center on the OER Commons home page, oercommons.org.
Screen cap detail of the "Add OER" options, the Open Author tool and "Submit from Web"
Resources may be added to OER Commons via the Open Author tool or by submitting them from the web.

To deposit via link, click the green “Add OER” button, and then click the “Add Link” button that appears under “Submit from Web.” In Step 1, enter the resource’s URL. In Step 2, you’ll describe the resource. The fields are: Title*, Overview*, Authors, Conditions of Use* (CC license), Subject Areas* (in our case, usually “Information Science”), Education Levels* (usually Graduate/Professional), Material Types*, Languages*, Educational Standards (probably NA for SCN content), Media Formats, Educational Use, Primary User, Grades (probably NA), Accessibility, and Tags (see Step 2 about Tags below). Some fields may already be populated from the link, but review every field and provide the best information you’re able. Asterisked* fields are required. In the 3rd and final step, preview the submission and, if the information is correct, submit for review.

OER Commons submission notification email. It reads: Dear Josh Bolick, Thank you for submitting content on the OER commons. Our curation team will review your submission within 24 to 40 hours from sbumittal to ensure that it meets our OER quality standards. You can access your submission in your submitted folder. While pending review, your resource is set to private and cannot be viewed by others. We will send you a confirmation message once your item has been approved for our digital library and is ready to be shared. Thanks for contributing to the Open Education community. Sincerely, the OER Commons team
On submission, you should receive this email from OER Commons.

Upon submission, you will receive an email from info@oercommons.org: “Your resource is awaiting review.” Review by OER Commons staff typically takes place within 24-48 hours, during which time the resource is set to private, though you have access to it in your submitted folder. Upon successful review, you will receive another email from the same address:, “Your resource is now searchable and shareable.”

OER Commons notification email. It reads: Dear Josh Bolick, Your resource has been published and cataloged in our digital library. The means your item, [title of item], is fully accessible to all users and available for sharing across the site. Thanks for contributing to the Open Education community. Sincerely, the OER Commons team
Upon review, you should receive this message from OER Commons.
Step 2: Tag Your Work Appropriately

Regarding tags: you may use whatever tags are most appropriate to help discover the content through keyword searches in OER Commons.  Although tags are not a required field when submitting content to the OER Commons, your submission must include tags to be included in the SCN.  We use specific tags to sort the resources into the SCN Collections to make them easier to browse. The collections are Open Access (tag: Open Access), Copyright (tag: Copyright), Scholarly Sharing (tag: Sharing), Open Education (tag: Open Education), Data (tag: Data), Impact Measurement (tag: Impact), and What/Why Scholarly Communication (tag: WWSC) for items that address the whole rather than a part or parts. Each collection has a description outlining the scope of the collection (click into the collection to view the headnote).  Please make sure to use the appropriate SCN Collection tag/s when submitting your work.

Step 3: Get Your Resource Endorsed

In addition to the correct tag/s, to be featured in the SCN, we must endorse the resource. Without the endorsement, it will be in OER Commons, but not in the SCN. You can let us know by copying the text of the “Your resource is now searchable and shareable” email and submitting it through the Contact form on our project site. We’ll have a look, and assuming we agree it is in scope and of reasonable quality, we will endorse it.

To summarize, in order to have a work included in the SCN, it must be (1) deposited to OER Commons, (2) have the correct collection tag/s, and (3) get our endorsement.

If you have any questions or concerns about depositing content or suggestions for making these instructions clearer, please contact us! If you’re using SCN content, we’d also love to hear from you to learn about your use and take any suggestions you may have.

Thanks to Dr. Lori F. Cummins for her very helpful suggestions on this post. It’s much clearer as a result of her review.

New to the SCN: Power, Profit, and Privilege: Problematizing Scholarly Publishing

This is the latest post in a series announcing resources created for the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN. The SCN is a hub of open teaching and learning content on scholcomm topics that is both a complement to an open book-level introduction to scholarly communication librarianship and a disciplinary and course community for inclusively sharing models and practices. IMLS funded the SCN in 2019, permitting us to pay creators for their labor while building a solid initial collection. These works are the result of one of three calls for proposals (our first CFP was issued in fall 2020; the second in late spring ‘21, and the third in late fall 2021).

Today we’re excited to share “Power, Profit, and Privilege: Problematizing Scholarly Publishing” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub and via Pressbooks). This work was created by Amanda Makula from the University of San Diego. Folks in scholcomm land may be familiar with Amanda’s great work as the principle planner of the Digital Initiatives Symposium. We’re thrilled with what she’s created here, as scholarly publishing can definitely use some problematizing. Here’s Amanda to introduce Power, Profit, and Privilege:

The scholarly communications system – and open access in particular – has always been interesting and exciting to me. There are so many intricacies and possibilities for innovation that the conversation is endless, and always evolving. But though I find it fascinating, I’ve noticed that non-library faculty and students are generally less enthusiastic. Rather, understanding and navigating it seems to be just one more hurdle for them to get around to reach their goal of publication in a top-tier journal.

After years spent having these conversations, and feeling frustrated that open access wasn’t necessarily intrinsically interesting or valuable to the academic community, I realized that the only way to truly engage my audience was to contextualize the scholarly publishing system within their culture of academia. Open access and scholarly publishing reform didn’t necessarily matter to them if it was isolated from their lived reality of trying to secure an academic position or achieve tenure and promotion.

Scholarly publishing and academia are bound together, and tightly. One does not exist separate from the other, and one cannot change without redefining the other. If we as librarians want to transform scholarly communications, as we say that we do, we must work internally, from within academia, to make it happen. This means doing things like agitating for the reform of rank and tenure, problematizing journal rankings, desanctifying peer review, and working not only to pass OA policies on our campuses but also to connect them to other existing academic policies and practices.

This is a tall order, and academia is notoriously slow to change. Those of us who have lived in it for a while can have difficulty seeing that it is a construct, not a natural order. Those who are new to it, who are students themselves or who are contemplating pursuing an advanced degree, are more likely to question why it operates as it does – and whether there might be better ways to build, consume, and share knowledge in the future.

I designed Power, Profit, and Privilege: Problematizing Scholarly Publishing with this audience in mind. To revolutionize scholarly communications, we need to start with the next generation of academics. Scholarly communications should have a place in the curriculum; it should be taught so that students who are interested in publishing their scholarship, who are interested in matriculating to graduate school, will have a foundational understanding of the system and what it means to participate in it. I think too often it’s assumed that students will pick up this information on their own or from faculty advisors as they go through a program. But even if that’s the case, it’s unlikely that they will question the system or recognize its complicated challenges. And we absolutely need them as allies to make inroads on reform.

My curriculum is organized into two main parts, each with several chapters. The Fundamentals aims to acquaint students with the basic framework of contemporary scholarly publishing. (Some) Problems raises issues that complicate scholarly publishing, specifically how it intersects with power, money, prestige, and privilege. Chapters include hands-on exercises, readings, and additional resources. The course culminates in two final written assignments that instructors can use as part of the curriculum, or that independent learners can work through on their own.

I hope that you and/or your students will find something provocative, perplexing, and pragmatic within the pages of Power, Profit, and Privilege. Like scholarly publishing itself, this work is evolving and benefits from your feedback. Get in touch with me at amakula[at]sandiego[dot]edu if you have questions, comments, or ideas. In the meantime: happy reading!

About the Author

Amanda Y. Makula worked as a Research & Instruction Librarian for 12 years before moving into her current role as Digital Initiatives Librarian at the University of San Diego, where she manages the institutional repository, engages the campus community on scholarly communication topics, serves as liaison to the Ethnic Studies department, and oversees the annual Digital Initiatives Symposium. Her most recent research project appeared in the March 2022 issue of College & Research Libraries. In her spare time you’ll find her listening to podcasts in Spanish or riding her e-bike.

New to the SCN: Teaching with Copyright Chat

This is the latest post in a series announcing resources created for the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN. The SCN is a hub of open teaching and learning content on scholcomm topics that is both a complement to an open book-level introduction to scholarly communication librarianship and a disciplinary and course community for inclusively sharing models and practices. IMLS funded the SCN in 2019, permitting us to pay creators for their labor while building a solid initial collection. These works are the result of one of three calls for proposals (our first CFP was issued in fall 2020; the second in late spring ‘21, and the third in late fall 2021).

Today we’re excited to share “Lessons from Practice: Teaching with Copyright Chat” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub as well as its own project site), contributed by Sara Benson, who is also curating the SCN Copyright Collection. Sara has been hosting the Copyright Chat podcast since 2017, in which she interviews experts about issues in copyright. These recordings are rich with pedagogic potential, which Sara has developed for us. Here she is to introduce Teaching with Copyright Chat:

I started the podcast titled Copyright Chat to engage with the broader public (outside of my home institution in Illinois) including librarians, students and professors of information science, and the general public about copyright issues relevant to libraries. I work at a land grant institution and part of our mission is to bring our educational efforts to the rest of the state, the country, and, ultimately, the world. In my daily work as a Copyright Librarian, I quickly became aware that copyright is an area of the law that is not well understood–mostly because it is not discussed with enough frequency to become common knowledge with members of the campus community. The most exciting part of hosting Copyright Chat is that I get to learn new things about copyright law by talking to different copyright experts and professionals, too. Copyright law is an exciting area of the law because it changes often through new case-law and legislative and administrative developments–so the podcast is an ever-evolving project.

The podcast archives some evergreen topics such as discussions about author’s rights, copyright myths, and fair use. Although copyright law never gets dull because new cases and laws continue to arise, there are some topics that are key to being a successful information professional. For that reason, select episodes of the podcast were chosen to provide educational context for students studying information science to learn about copyright issues.

Screen capture of Teaching with Copyright Chat Podcast, featuring the logo and header image of the site, basic navigation, and title: Lessons from Practice: Teaching with Copyright Chat"
Screen capture from Lessons from Practice: Teaching with Copyright Chat

These modules are meant to be very flexible so that instructors can use them in their courses as they see fit. They are organized into three categories: Basics Lessons, Fair Use Lessons, and Rights Statements Lessons. Each module explains the lesson objectives and is centered on an episode of the ©hat (Copyright Chat) Podcast. Some modules incorporate recommended readings as well. Each module has some “homework” for students to do outside of class as well as in-class exercises and discussion topics. The lessons are organized into modules because an instructor may only wish to engage with a particular topic, such as fair use or copyright myths, or might be more ambitious and have time to devote to all eight lessons. In any event, each module can stand alone or be used with other modules to create a course unit. The CC-BY license attached to the modules sets the sky as the limit in terms of remixing, reusing, and revising modules and I hope instructors will make these lessons their own. I’m excited to see how these modules will help students learn more about copyright.

About the Author

Sara R. Benson is the copyright librarian and an assistant professor at the Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also teaches courses at the iSchool at the University of Illinois. She holds a JD from the University of Houston Law Center, an LLM from Boalt Hall School of Law at Berkeley, and an MSLIS from the School of Information Science at the University of Illinois. Prior to joining the library, Sara was a lecturer at the University of Illinois College of Law for ten years. Sara is the host of the  ©hat (“Copyright Chat”) Podcast, available on iTunes.

New to the SCN: Perspectives on Scholarly Communication

This is the latest post in a series announcing resources created for the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN. The SCN is a hub of open teaching and learning content on scholcomm topics that is both a complement to an open book-level introduction to scholarly communication librarianship and a disciplinary and course community for inclusively sharing models and practices. IMLS funded the SCN in 2019, permitting us to pay creators for their labor while building a solid initial collection. These works are the result of one of three calls for proposals (our first CFP was issued in fall 2020; the second in late spring ‘21, and the third in late fall 2021)

Today we’re excited to share “Perspectives on Scholarly Communication: A Student-Created Open Textbook” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub as well as in Open Science Framework), contributed by Christopher Hollister. Christopher, who teaches a graduate MLIS course at University of Buffalo, used an open pedagogy assignment to have students author essays on scholarly communication topics of their selection. Here’s Christopher to introduce the project:

Dear SCN Readers…

As noted by the SCN Team, this project involves the experimental use of open pedagogy to teach the Scholarly Communication course in a graduate-level library and information science (LIS) program. Open pedagogy is variously defined, but generally understood as a framework that requires students to be active creators of course content rather than passive consumers of it. Proponents view this as a form of experiential learning in which students demonstrate greater understanding of content by virtue of creating it.

Students in this course learn by doing; that is, they learn about scholarly communication by participating in the process. Each student is required to develop a chapter—on a scholarly communication topic of their choosing—to be included in an open access monograph. Following the semester, the text is published under a Creative Commons license on the University at Buffalo’s institutional repository as an open educational resource (OER), allowing for reuse or repurposing in future sections of the course or in similar courses in LIS programs at other institutions. To date, students have created the following open monographs: Perspectives on Scholarly Communication, Volume 1 (2019), Perspectives on Scholarly Communication, Volume 2 (2020); and Perspectives on Scholarly Communication, Volume 3 (2021). Support for the development and production of the third volume was generously provided by the SCN Team and its 2019 IMLS grant

Immediate outcomes of the “learn by doing” aspect are clear. The experience of publishing engages students in the applied side of concepts they are introduced to by way of lectures, readings, and other class activities. This experience is invaluable for those entering academic librarianship, particularly for those who will have scholarly communication responsibilities. Immediate outcomes of the open pedagogy aspect are also quite compelling. Research shows that students ascribe a positive learning experience to the implementation of this framework, and they hold for its continued use in future sections of the course. Students are enthusiastic in their embrace of creating renewable versus disposable coursework. They express great satisfaction with contributing to the professional literature, building the discipline’s nascent OER record, and having a publication to feature in their curricular and professional dossiers. The experience also resonates with students on a philosophical level; LIS students are characteristically inclined to support activities that align with the field’s abiding “free to all” ethic.

Long-term outcomes for the Scholarly Communication course are emerging as this experiment continues to unfold. Most notably, select chapters from these volumes are used as required readings. The following student-created chapters, for example, are required readings for the upcoming 2022 fall semester:

  • Moving toward multilingualism in scholarly communication to combat the linguistic injustices caused by English as a lingua franca (Huskin, 2021)
  • Indigenous knowledge in academia (Neumaier, 2021)
  • Flipping the script: Creating equity for BIPOC academics in scholarly publishing through open access (Poenhelt, 2020)
  • Ethics and academic tenure: The struggle for female identifying scholars to achieve tenure (Roberts, 2020)

About the Author

Christopher Hollister is the Head of Scholarly Communication with the University at Buffalo Libraries. In that role, he advances initiatives related to scholarly publishing, open access, and open education. A longtime advocate and activist for transforming the current system of scholarly communication into an open one, Chris is co-founder and co-editor of the award-winning open access journal, Communications in Information Literacy. He also teaches the Scholarly Communication and International Librarianship courses for the University’s Department of Information Science. His current research interests include scholarly publishing and open educational practices. 

New to the SCN: EDI in Scholarly Communications Outreach

This is the latest post in a series announcing resources created for the Scholarly Communication Notebook, or SCN. The SCN is a hub of open teaching and learning content on scholcomm topics that is both a complement to an open book-level introduction to scholarly communication librarianship and a disciplinary and course community for inclusively sharing models and practices. IMLS funded the SCN in 2019, permitting us to pay creators for their labor while building a solid initial collection. These works are the result of one of three calls for proposals (our first CFP was issued in fall 2020; the second in late spring ‘21, and the third in late fall 2021)

Today we’re excited to share “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications Outreach” (available in the SCN OER Commons Hub as well as in Google Drive), contributed by Camille Thomas, who is also a contributor to our related open book project. Camille builds on a qualitative study (Perceptions of Open Access Publishing among Black, Indigenous, and people of color Faculty, forthcoming in College & Research Libraries News), offering instructional materials to help elucidate conclusions of that research. Here’s Camille to introduce the project:

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications Outreach contribution to the SCN is intended to fill a gap in the way we talk about scholarly communication work, particularly outreach. I am a co-PI on the in-progress study, Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color Faculty Perceptions of Open Access, with Tatiana Bryant at University of California Irvine. Though there are existing studies examining faculty perceptions of open access and BIPOC faculty experiences, there is not much on the intersection of the two. It is important not to treat researchers, faculty or otherwise, as a monolith when it comes to the experiences, communities, and values behind their publishing decisions. Our study illuminates how their perceptions motivate or diminish their own interest in and adoption of open access as well as their level of advocacy for open access in their field, campus, and department. It seemed like a natural contribution to the SCN.

Tatiana and I decided to provide separate contributions based on our own ideas. We discussed what might be most impactful for students based on preliminary analysis from the study and our own experiences as library school students, then professionals. We did a kind of internal review of each other’s work before submitting to the SCN team. Tatiana’s related contribution to the SCN is discussed in this News post. My contribution features readings, discussion questions, sample scenarios, and assignments that prompt reflection and learning on BIPOC perceptions of OA.

The most time consuming part of creating this contribution was getting clear on the scope and  approaching this subject matter in a practical, impactful and considerate way. I thought a lot about the audience for which the resource is primarily intended. I wanted to be careful to have students exercise empathy and procedures for scholars’ diverse values when it comes to supporting new models for scholarly work. This work is intended to create deeper engagement and understanding of one’s position in true partnership — as neither savior nor servile. I wanted library professionals and scholars alike to empower themselves and others to become aware of where their agency lies in interdependence (i.e., “power with”, “power to” and “power within”) — with neither awe nor inadequacy. After that, drafting was smooth sailing.

My work with EDI in scholarly communication builds on work by Charlotte Roh, April Hathcock, Leslie Chan, Harrison Inefuku, Jessica Dai and many others. Their work often speaks to the impact of systematic marginalization of certain scholars and scholarship in traditional and open publishing. I tend to examine how we might integrate considerations for equity, diversity and inclusion in our workflows as open advocates and scholarly communication librarians. The  expectations and labor in this area are complex, unwieldy and in many ways different from other types of librarianship. In my opinion, the message, the medium and the messenger matters.

Of course, we are all learning and unlearning the ways we perpetuate exclusion and inequity in our culture and by extension in research and higher education (and even further extension in our materials). There is no one lesson plan or assignment that will solve systemic inequities or capture what for most is deep, personal, and lifelong work. The purpose of my contribution is simply to get students and new professionals (and maybe some seasoned professionals) thinking about building equitable open infrastructure and an inclusive culture when discussing open access at institutions. It is also to get them thinking about what will have the most impact in advancing open and addressing barriers in the context of their organization. I want them to think strategically rather than replicate common practice alone.

Most of the provided sample scenarios are real experiences I have encountered in my career as a scholarly communication librarian. I actually edited the contribution quite a bit when thinking from a student perspective. I am a bit of an exception, in that I knew very early on in library school that I wanted to be a scholarly communication librarian. I planned my courses accordingly, cobbling and connecting relevant courses (Information Policy, Digital Libraries, etc.) together. There was definitely no open textbook on scholarly communication at that time and few if any Intro to Scholarly Communications courses.

One of the courses that prepared me the most and still impacts my approach today is Strategic Marketing. So, I based the Needs Assessment and Engagement Plan on templates I used in that class, which I continue to use. A lot of scholarly communication work and outreach benefits from strategic planning. It can help manage expectations and boundaries around the labor required as well as carve out diversity and inclusion work as a priority. It can also be a space to examine our power, privilege and consciousness when it comes to talking to diverse audiences.

About the Author

Camille Thomas is the Scholarly Communication Librarian at Florida State University Libraries and a former SPARC Open Education Fellow. Her professional interests include labor, leadership and equity in open access, open education and digital scholarship. She has an MLIS from Florida State University and a BA in English from the University of Central Florida. She’s on Twitter as @afrofuturistlib.