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Transformation of Scholarly Communications Explored in ARL’s Research Library Issues 287

rli287-coverARL has published Research Library Issues (RLI) no. 287, an issue in which Rikk Mulligan offers an overview of the history of scholarly communication from its beginnings in the 17th century to recent innovations in digital and hybrid publishing.

The first piece in this issue of RLI provides a brief background and context to frame the formation of the first academic journals and monographs, the rapid growth in scholarly publications after World War II, and more recent hurdles faced by serial and book publishing over the past 30 years, with more attention to the changes resulting from the invention of the World Wide Web.

The second article considers in more detail the scholarly journal and article, experiments in digitization to provide online access beginning with JSTOR and Project Muse in the 1990s, and more recent innovations to meet increasing demands for broader and more open access to journal articles and other short-form scholarship.

The third piece examines longer formats of scholarship. This article frames the crisis in monograph publishing along with responses that include digitized books, born-digital ePubs, and current efforts to attempt alternative forms of funding and to strengthen the infrastructure for electronic publishing and support innovations in format that promote greater discoverability, accessibility, and use of long-form scholarship.

These articles provide the background for ARL’s strategic initiatives that are focused on promoting wide-reaching and sustainable publication of research and scholarship. A final discussion forthcoming this fall will build on these three pieces to describe emerging forms of digital research and scholarship that derive from the article and book but enhance and extend these modes of discourse far beyond their current states.

The complete table of contents with links to the articles follows:

Research Library Issues no. 287 (2015) is freely available from ARL Digital Publications.

About ARL

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.