Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication

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The networked digital environment has enabled the creation of many new kinds of works that are accessible to end users directly, and many of these resources have become essential tools for scholars conducting research, building scholarly networks, and disseminating their ideas and work. The decentralized distribution of these new model works can make it difficult to fully appreciate their scope and number, even for university librarians tasked with knowing about valuable resources across the disciplines.

In the spring of 2008, ARL engaged Ithaka S+R to conduct an investigation into the range of online resources valued by scholars, paying special attention to those projects that are pushing beyond the boundaries of traditional formats and are considered innovative by the faculty who use them. Working closely with ARL member libraries, researchers were able to gather information about the online resources scholars reported using for their work. The final report identifies eight principal types of digital scholarly resources that emerged (E-only journals, Reviews, Preprints and working papers, Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and annotated content, Data, Blogs, Discussion forums and Professional and scholarly hubs). This report includes profiles each of these eight types of resources, including discussion of how and why the faculty members reported using the resources for their work, how content is selected for the site, and what sustainability strategies the resources are employing.