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"The Library Helps With That?" A Reality Check on the Integration of Scholarly Communications Support

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What if scholarly communications was truly collaborative, with researchers seeking out the best and most relevant resources available through their institution at all stages of scholarly communications? How close are we to meeting this goal?SFU Library recently conducted usability testing with graduate student library staff on the newly revised Scholarly Publishing and Open Access webpages. We were surprised to learn that these students, who are open access and open source advocates, were completely unaware of many of the scholarly communications resources and tools offered by the library. When faced with a number of hypothetical scenarios related to graduate student research, they told us in no uncertain terms that they simply wouldn't come to the library website to look for information to answer questions about such things as applying for funding for open access, assessing the quality of journals, or measuring the impact of their scholarly work. Our initial goal -- to test the usability of the new webpages -- was suddenly unimportant when compared to the larger issue of the need to raise awareness of the services we offer to those who can benefit from them.Our university libraries work hard to provide scholarly communications services to scholars, through web content, workshops, consultations, handouts, classroom instruction, digital publishing opportunities, and more. Many of these are developed in response to researchers' needs, while others serve to promote and advocate for sustainable alternatives to traditional forms of scholarly publishing. But all of these resources lack meaning if researchers don’t know they exist, or fail to seek them out because they underestimate their value.It's apparent that university libraries have a long road ahead to become fully collaborative with researchers at our institutions. Developing new and more effective partnerships throughout the university is key to creating a collaborative process where researchers can tap into the most relevant tools and resources to support their scholarly work. At SFU Library, we plan to continue to build meaningful partnerships with relevant groups to better integrate library services into research and scholarly communications activities throughout the university. We aim to leverage our champions, researchers who use a wide range of scholarly communications services, to promote these services to their colleagues within and beyond their departments.
Lighting talk presented at Force11 Scholarly Communications Institute Jul 30 2018, San Diego, California.
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Shuttleworth, K. (2018, July). "The library helps with that?" A reality check on the integration of scholarly communications support. Lighting talk presented at Force11 Scholarly Communications Institute 2018, San Diego, California.
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