[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Knight Roundtable Promotes Digital Publications in the Humanitiesand Social Sciences

Of possible interest to readers of liblicense-l.  The Moderators

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 15:03:18 -0500
From: Judith Matz <judith@arl.org>
Subject: Knight Roundtable Promotes Digital Publications in the Humanities
    and  Social Sciences

January 15, 2002
For further information please contact:
Judith Matz <judith@arl.org>�
Communications Officer, ARL


Washington, DC -- The attention given recently to the soaring costs of
scholarly publications has focused almost exclusively on the scientific,
technical, and medical fields. But what about scholars in the humanities
and social sciences who also suffer from the rising expense of
disseminating research findings? With the increase in federal and
university dollars to support research in science, technology, and
medicine, the share of funding available for the social sciences and
humanities has declined. The resulting loss of subsidies for publishing in
the humanities and social sciences, along with the decline in sales of
books to libraries as they struggle to keep up with the exploding numbers
and excessive prices of science journals, have led to the disappearance of
venues in which to publish specialized scholarship.

In March 2001, the Association of Research Libraries, the National
Humanities Alliance, and the Knight Collaborative, with support from the
National Endowment for the Humanities, convened the Roundtable on
Scholarly Communication in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Participants representing faculty, administrators, scholarly societies,
scholarly publishers, and librarians, considered the future of
disseminating scholarly findings in the humanities and social sciences.
The final report of the roundtable was issued in December in the form of
an essay, "Op. Cit."

Roundtable participants acknowledged the differences in scholarly exchange
between those who consider the library��as opposed to the
laboratory��their home. Yet, "the primary values that scholars in the
humanities and social sciences seek to uphold are not dramatically
different from those of other academic disciplines." Essentially academic
communities seek to provide access to scholarly works, a means of
conferring qualitative evaluation and judgment of the scholarship, and an
efficient way to disseminate scholarly findings. Thus, the roundtable
concluded, a thoughtful and concerted effort to develop the digital medium
as a venue of publication can help to achieve each of these purposes in
the humanities and social sciences, no less than in the scientific fields.
In addition, digital publication offers the potential to attract both a
broader audience and increased support to scholarly exploration in the
humanities and social sciences. "We believe," the essay concludes, in "an
inventive exploration of the possibilities of digital publication��both as
an augmentation to and, at times, a substitute for print publication."

Members of the roundtable recognized that scholars might be reluctant to
adopt electronic publishing if it jeopardizes their chances for promotion
and tenure. Scholars need assurances that scholarly work addressed to a
broader audience and peer-reviewed research published in electronic form
will be considered legitimate forms of scholarly activity. To accelerate
the cultural shifts needed for acceptance of electronic publishing,
universities and colleges should establish policies declaring
peer-reviewed electronic publications comparable to peer-reviewed print
publications for consideration in promotion and tenure decisions.
Moreover, scholarly societies should take a leadership role in developing
systems of evaluation for the new genres of scholarly works that are being
published digitally.

Roundtable participants also noted that scholars need scholarly
publishers, institutions, and libraries to work together with them to
provide the infrastructure, expertise, and financial resources necessary
for electronic publishing. Active and continuing partnerships and the
willingness of stakeholders to explore new economic models are critical to
this effort.

The March roundtable "grew out of a series of conversations that have
taken place in conferences, roundtables, and National Humanities Alliance
committee discussions over the past several years," notes Duane Webster,
Executive Director of the Association of Research Libraries. "We hope the
essay will encourage active discussion in the broader community and the
development of innovative partnerships in electronic publishing."
Individual copies of the essay, in the December 2001 issue of Policy
Perspectives, can be obtained from the Institute for Research on Higher
Education, University of Pennsylvania, 4200 Pine Street, 5A, Philadelphia,
PA 19104-4090; phone 1-215-898-4585. The issue is available on the Web at

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a not-for-profit membership
organization comprising over 120 libraries of North American research
institutions. Its mission is to shape and influence forces affecting the
future of research libraries in the process of scholarly communication.
ARL programs and services promote equitable access to, and effective use
of recorded knowledge in support of teaching, research, scholarship, and
community service. The Association articulates the concerns of research
libraries and their institutions, forges coalitions, influences
information policy development, and supports innovation and improvement in
research library operations. ARL operates as a forum for the exchange of
ideas and as an agent for collective action.

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) is a coalition of eighty-eight
organizations concerned with federal programs that affect the humanities.
The membership includes scholarly and professional societies; associations
of museums, libraries, universities, state humanities councils;
university-based and independent centers and institutes, and other groups
with interests in the humanities. The mission of the NHA is to advance the
cause of the humanities by promoting the common interests of its members
with regard to national policy, programs, and legislation that affects the
National Endowment for the Humanities and other agencies related to the
humanities. The NHA is strictly nonpartisan.

The Knight Higher Education Collaborative, sponsored by the John S. and
James L. Knight Foundation, is a cooperative undertaking of colleges and
universities that work together to understand the higher education market
and how to shape it. The Higher Education Roundtable is one component of
the Knight Higher Education Collaborative. The Roundtable seeks to foster
an informed national dialogue on the challenges and opportunities facing
American colleges and universities around the three central issues of
cost, quality teaching and learning, and access�with particular emphasis
on the market and its influence on educational policy and institutional
practice. The Roundtable convenes both national conversations to focus on
issues confronting all of higher education and on-campus conversations to
facilitate the exploration of challenges facing specific institutions
seeking strategies to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.
National roundtables convene individuals known for their experience and
leadership in particular aspects of higher education. A national
roundtable culminates in an essay that appears in an issue of Policy
Perspectives, the publication of the Knight Collaborative.

ARL-ANNOUNCE is a broadcast service from ARL that provides updates on
Association activities, workshops, publications, and other items of
interest to those in the library and educational communities.
To subscribe, send a message to <listproc@arl.org>. The text of your
message should read: "subscribe arl-announce [your name]."

Judith Matz
Communications Officer
Association of Research Libraries
21 Dupont Circle, NW  #800
Washington, DC  20036-1118
Phone  202-296-2296
Fax  202-872-0884